Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Graduate students as slave labour

Let's begin with the post titled Cruelty in Academia from December 2006. That was about grad students in several Indian universities.

Fast forward to a US university in 2018, and we get this: Professor used students as servants. UMKC knew and didn’t stop him. The report by MarĂ¡ Rose Williams and Mike Hendricks is about Ashim Mitra, an Indian-origin professor in the University of Missouri at Kansas City:

The [Kansas City] Star found that over Mitra’s 24 years as a leader in the UMKC School of Pharmacy, the professor compelled his students to act as his personal servants. They hauled equipment and bused tables at his social events. They were expected to tend his lawn, look after his dog and water the house plants, sometimes for weeks at a time when he and his wife were away. [...]

Through Mitra’s hints and direct threats, students said they feared he would have their visas revoked if they did not comply with his demands. [...]

When Kuchimanchi once told Mitra he wouldn’t be a servant, “he threatened to kick me out of the university and force me to lose my visa and lose everything. That was his ammo. Either fall in line or you would be thrown out. You didn’t want to be in that situation where you have to go back home empty-handed.” So he continued to do what Mitra asked.

This part of the report nails it:

At best, critics say, Mitra’s demands violated ethical standards and university policy. At worst, a U.S. immigration official told The Star, coerced off-campus labors would be tantamount to human trafficking.


  1. madraskaari said...

    this sounds worse, doesn't it?