Chennai’s prestigious Loyola College, managed by the Society of Jesus, is facing internal turmoil as voices within its own community demand intervention from the Union Government to address alleged instances of misconduct. Founded in 1925, the autonomous institution affiliated with the University of Madras is now under scrutiny for its handling of sexual assault allegations, termination without due process, financial irregularities, and questionable administrative appointments.
Christian activists are raising concerns over Loyola College’s perceived failure to conduct a thorough investigation into sexual assault allegations made by former women staff. These individuals, still seeking justice, claim that the college’s influence is impeding a swift resolution, with allegations of threats, blackmail, and attempts to dissuade victims from pursuing complaints.
The institution is grappling with multiple issues, including allegations of financial irregularities and its failure to secure university status due to a lack of essential documents related to the land it occupies. Accusations of misappropriation of funds from the University Grants Commission (UGC) have also added to the institution’s woes.
One major point of contention revolves around the appointment of the current Principal, Fr. Thomas Amirtham, who also holds the position of Director of the Alumni Association. Concerns have been raised about potential violations of UGC/AICTE guidelines during this appointment, with allegations suggesting the selection process favored an individual of a particular caste.
Former student Lawrence D’Cruz has come forward with allegations of discrimination, stating that he faced abuse for being a “Dalit” Christian. D’Cruz claims he was subjected to menial tasks such as cleaning food plates and toilets and was terminated without notice. Furthermore, he alleges instances of sexual abuse by superiors during his time at Loyola College.
The controversy has ignited a call for Central government intervention to investigate and address the allegations surrounding Loyola College. The demand for transparency, accountability, and adherence to guidelines set by regulatory bodies is growing within the college community and among concerned activists.
Ending Clergy Abuse (ECA), a global organization advocating for human rights and supporting survivors, has called upon the University Grants Commission (UGC) of India to investigate allegations of financial misconduct at Loyola College, Chennai. The organization, known for its pursuit of justice in cases of abuse and misconduct, has urged swift action against Fr. Francis Xavier, former Rector of Loyola College, accused of misappropriating significant taxpayer funds.
With a membership spanning over 21 countries across five continents, ECA has formally petitioned the Chairman of the UGC to initiate appropriate measures in response to allegations of financial impropriety at Loyola College. The global clergy watchdog’s efforts align with its commitment to justice and accountability.
Chennai-based investigative freelance reporter Abhinav Vinayak reveals that ECA’s letter to the UGC Chairman echoes concerns previously raised by its Indian representative, Mr. R. Joseph Kennedy. In a complaint dated 17 December 2022 and addressed to Prof. Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, Chairman, UGC, Kennedy highlighted alleged financial irregularities at Loyola College, Chennai.
In the communication dated 18th January, accessed by Organiser, ECA stresses the need for expeditious action to address the reported financial misconduct. The organization’s intervention adds a significant dimension to the ongoing challenges faced by Loyola College, which has already been under scrutiny for issues related to sexual assault allegations, termination without due process, and other financial irregularities.
Amid allegations of financial impropriety at Loyola College, Chennai, a former two-time principal has published a book detailing the scandal, bolstering the credibility of the claims. The exposé underscores the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation into the institution’s financial affairs. Disturbingly, the primary accused individual, implicated in fund misappropriation, has reportedly fled the country and is currently residing in Switzerland.
In a recent interview, Rev Fr. Albert Muthumalai, a former two-time principal of Loyola College, Chennai, expressed deep concerns about the institution, stating, “Such a great institution meant to educate students, with high ethics and moral values has become a den of unquestionable corruption.” The former principal’s comments follow allegations of financial irregularities at Loyola College, adding weight to the claims.
Controversies have also arisen regarding the land occupied by the institution. Social media posts suggest that the college, approaching its centenary, is situated on temple land leased for 99 years during British rule, with the lease allegedly expiring last year. Critics argue that the institution, with purported support from the DMK, has altered records to assert ownership and accuse it of promoting anti-Hindu ideologies.
This is not the first time Loyola College has faced public scrutiny. In June 2021, former students of the Don Bosco Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Egmore, exposed election fraud and mismanagement within their Past Pupils Association through social media. More recently, in March 2023, the college stirred fresh controversy by allegedly reneging on its commitment to pay Rs One crore in compensation for a student’s death, attributing it to negligence and law violations.
These developments have ignited demands for a thorough investigation into Loyola College’s affairs, including its finances, land use, and adherence to legal and ethical standards.