September 28, 2021

‘Irreconcilable differences’ led to termination of scholar’s enrolment, says Waikato Univ.

By: Gurbir Singh

“Irreconcilable differences’ and absence of any ‘alternative’ supervisor were the primary reasons for termination of enrolment of an overseas PhD student at the University of Waikato.

This was confirmed today by a University’s spokesperson when NewsViews raised the matter of certain allegations made by Prithwish Sain and reported on social media and in some other media reports.

Pritwish Sain

A final year PhD student in Chemistry, 50-years-old Prithwish Sain has reportedly made allegations of being ‘bullied, harassed, exploited’ and ‘treated very unfairly’ after the university terminated his enrolment.

He also allegedly received “official threats of his student visa being revoked”.

A spokesperson of the university this morning confirmed to NewsViews the University Postgraduate Research Committee’s decision to terminate Sain’s PhD enrolment.

According to the spokesperson, “the reasons for the Committee’s decision are that there are irreconcilable differences between Mr Sain and his Chief Supervisor and the University has no alternative Chief Supervisor to supervise Mr Sain.” 

The University, however, denies being ‘unfair’ in their action to prematurely end his enrolment in their PhD programme, and on the contrary confirmed Sain was actually being ‘supported’ over the years.

“The University does not agree with any suggestion that it has acted unfairly regarding the termination of Mr Sain’s PhD enrolment. University staff worked extensively with Mr Sain over several years to support him to complete a PhD,” the Spokesperson says.

Prithwish Sain hails from Burdwan, a city in West Bengal, India and was enrolled at the university in Feb 2018.

NewsViews has chosen not to name the professors and other staff he has alleged ‘directly bullied, harassed’ him by ‘belittling’ him with ‘abusive’, ‘demoralising’ words.

Waikato University spokesperson, however, declined to comment as the allegations were under investigation.

“The University is in the process of considering a number of formal complaints raised by Mr Sain and is unable to provide comment on these while investigations into them are being conducted,” the university spokesperson added.

“Sain has the right to appeal the Postgraduate Research Committee decision and we have ensured that he has the same access to University resources as any other PhD student, and free of charge, as he goes through this process,” says the spokesperson.

NewsViews is still awaiting a response from Sain who was contacted this morning.