Teacher Was Forced To Resign Over Bikini Photos

Sarah Kester
Sad woman staring out window
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If you’re a university professor, showing up to work in a bikini would be unprofessional and breaking some sort of dress code

But what if you wore a bikini on your own time and posted it to your private Instagram?

That’s the controversy facing one leading university in India after a teacher was forced to resign over her private bikini photos leaking

The 31-year-old teacher, who wishes to remain unidentified, was an assistant professor at St Xavier's University.

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She only worked at the leading university in Kolkata, India, for two months before she claimed she “was bullied, browbeaten, and subjected to moral policing.”

This all took place one fall day in 2021.

Teacher in classroom
Unsplash | Jason Goodman

She was “led into an interrogation room” and questioned by a committee comprising Vice-Chancellor Felix Raj, Registrar Ashish Mitra, and five women.

There, she was informed that a complaint had been made against her by the father of a first-year undergrad male student. 

"The vice-chancellor said this parent had found his son looking at my photographs on Instagram where I was wearing just my undergarments,” the professor said in an interview with the ‘BBC.’

Man holding up Instagram app
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“He said they were sexually explicit and requested the university to save his son from such vulgarity."

The board passed around a piece of paper that had five to six photographs of her, and she was asked to confirm whether they were hers. 

Charlize Theron saying "how dare you"
Giphy | The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon

"I was shocked. When I saw the pictures I had a panic attack, it felt surreal that my personal photographs were being shared without my consent," she said.

"For once I couldn't bear to look at my own photographs, the way they were presented to me and the conversation around them made even me think of them as cheap. I realized I was being gaslit, I started feeling sabotaged."

Woman in bikini
Unsplash | Yoann Boyer

In the photographs, which were taken in her room, she was wearing a bikini.

The images were posted to her Instagram Story, which meant that they only appeared for 24 hours.

Hilary Swank as teacher
Vocal. Media | Paramount

She claimed that the images were taken on June 13th, 2021, two months before she joined the university or had accepted any requests from students to follow her private account.

But the board rejected this explanation. They also made her feel ashamed. 

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Unsplash | M.

“I was asked if my parents were on Instagram and if they had seen those pictures? I felt nauseous and traumatised." She was asked to submit a written apology for the next day, which she did. 

Sadly, this didn’t do much.

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She was told that the board had unanimously voted in favor of her dismissal. “He said your photographs have gone viral, most students have seen them and they will not take you seriously and parents would complain. He said it would be better if I resigned voluntarily."

She added that she “would go to prison because the parent wanted to lodge a police complaint and I would be arrested.”

Woman crying

"I felt cornered - and I quit," she said. After the controversy went viral, the university denied that they asked her to quit. 

Since then, the university has been riddled with controversy, prompting uproar from students. 

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A change.org petition was even started by former student, Gaurav Banerjee. It was addressed to the West Bengal state's education minister and asked that the university apologize to the teacher and discipline the committee. 

A silent protest of people dressed in black also took place to show solidarity with the teacher.

Woman saying there's lots of drama
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The fight is not over, though, as the teacher has lodged a police complaint and sent a legal notice to the university. In response, they accused her of defamation and demanded compensation.