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New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge justice Madan Lokur has joined the Ashoka University as its ombudsperson.

The ombudsperson will make recommendations to faculty, staff and the university leadership on matters that are referenced to his office and will also “counsel the complainants on avenues within and outside the University for Redressal of their issues".

“As an external person with no conflict of interest, the Ombudsperson will provide counsel and guidance to Ashoka community members on a confidential basis," the Haryana-based university said in a statement.

The university said any member of the faculty or staff can reach out to the ombudsperson for any issue they believe is not being satisfactorily resolved through the University’s existing processes.

“The Ombudsperson will provide impartial and independent guidance to the Ashoka community. The appointment of Justice Lokur further strengthens the University’s efforts at institutionalizing its processes and practices," the university of the liberal arts said.

“The primary role of the Ombudsperson will be to ensure faculty and staff well-being, to provide a confidential and safe space for them to be heard, and to provide a forum should there be concerns in the realm of harassment, inappropriate behaviour, unprofessional conduct, abuse of power, unlawful termination of service or restrictions on university policy on freedom of expression and to advise both the faculty/staff member and the university on the resolution of disputes regarding the same," the varsity said.

Ashoka University offers interdisciplinary education in liberal arts and science streams and has set up eight centres of excellence to encourage academic and research collaborations.

In March this year, the university was in the middle of a controversy after two of its renowned professors -- Pratap Bhanu Mehta and economist Arvind Subramanian-- resigned over alleged political pressure, drawing national and international attention. Later that month, the university acknowledged that there have been some lapses in institutional processes and had promised to rectify them in consultation with all stakeholders.

“We acknowledge that there have been some lapses in institutional processes which we will work to rectify in consultation with all stakeholders. This will reaffirm our commitment to academic autonomy and freedom which have always been at the core of the Ashoka University ideals," the varsity had said on 21 March.

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