ISLAMABAD: A sexual harassment scandal rocked the Quaid-i-Azam University on Wednesday, with the vice chancellor asking the Dean of Social Sciences Department Dr Aalia Hashmi to investigate the complaint of a girl student.
The complainant is doing MBA in the university and is in the fifth semester. In her complaint to the vice chancellor, she alleged that an assistant professor at the School of Management Sciences tried to molest her when she visited his office for rectifying a mistake in her marks sheet.
She escaped his advances but her dupatta was left behind in the struggle, according to her.
“She was told by the office staff to visit the teacher during the lunch break,” her class-fellow Shoaib Hasan said. “When she did on Tuesday, she was sexually harassed and ran out. The staff returned her dupatta later.”
However, the accused professor denied the charge and termed it a conspiracy against him.
Accused teacher, vice chancellor not convinced by MBA student’s claims
“I have been teaching for 30 years and no one has ever complained about me. If the inquiry finds me in the wrong, I will resign,” he said.
Vice Chancellor Dr Etazaz Ahmad sounded skeptical about the affair.
“It involves the issue of marks and is not a simple case. The girl belongs to a group that is already facing disciplinary proceedings. It can be a tactic to blackmail the assistant professor,” he said.
“If the in-charge was not helping her, she should have come to my office, like she did after the incident. Anyhow, I will be in a position to say something about it after the inquiry,” the vice chancellor said.
This is the second sexual harassment case to hit the QAU since January. Investigators had dismissed the last one for insufficient evidence.
In the latest case, the complainant claims her teacher Dr Naseer agreed that a mistake had occurred in her marks sheet and suggested she see the assitant professor for the rectification of the mistake because of which she failed the internal exam.
According to her complaint, available with Dawn, she was given 53 marks out of 75 in the internal examination of ‘Strategic Management’ but the marks sheet noted it as 47/75.
She got 24/75 marks in the final exam and the overall marks were declared as 71/150. Since at least 50 per cent marks are required to pass the exam, she said the six mark mistake kept her from passing the exam.
She said she had her original answer sheet of exam to prove the mistake and was suggested to meet the assistant professor to get it rectified.
But, she alleged, he deliberately delayed the issue as she was made to visit his office time and again. Each time the staff would tell her to come by noon “when he happens to be in good mood”.
“She actually obtained overall 77 marks and tried her best to get the mistake corrected that the office assistant, Imran, made by entering less marks than she had obtained in the mid-term exam. But the teacher used delaying tactics,” claimed Shoaib Hasan.
“He also refused to return the original answer sheet that she gave him as proof,” he added.
However, the accused vehemently denied the allegations, even hinting that some teachers might be behind it.
“I told the student that the concerned teacher is ‘all-in-all’ in the university and that being in-charge of the department I could not help her. I treated her just like my daughter but she was insisting that I should increase her marks, which was not possible for me,” he said.
QAU was the first educational institution to receive a complaint from a girl student in 2011 after the parliament passed the Protection of Women Against Harassment at Workplace Law in 2010.
Then, the university syndicate removed a senior staff member after holding an inquiry. But the punishment was set aside by the-then chancellor of the university, President Asif Ali Zardari.
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2014