Despite verbal promises and a commitment to sack a controversial faculty member from the varsity, the vice chancellor of the University of Karachi (KU), Professor Dr Muhammad Qaiser, and several other members have not played any role regarding the sexual harassment case pending for the last three years.
The KU syndicate meeting held on Wednesday night at the varsity campus once again deferred the Dr Sabir Michael case till the next meeting.
The department of social work had received a number of complaints from first year (honour) female students, who claimed that Dr Michael was threatening to fail them if they did not come and see him.
The department forwarded the case to the KU management which was later tabled in the syndicate meeting, but no final decision had been made till to date.
Faculty members believe that members of the syndicate committee were deferring the case again and aging just to save the accused.
Male students of the department had also launch a petition camping, after female students filed their complaints to remove the person from the service but since 2013 no concrete action has ever been taken in this regard, resulting in some other sexual harassment cases in the campus, however, they were denied by the KU administration.
According to some senior departmental teaching staff, the KU VC had promised to sack the accused teacher a few days ago. They alleged that the case was deferred rather than taking a moral stand.
On the other hand, a senior faculty member, who is also a KU syndicate member, said the case was discussed during the previous syndicate meeting when applications written by students were submitted.
He mentioned that the committee was formed to investigate the matter and on Wednesday, the case once again came under the discussion along with the report relevant to the matter.
“It was deferred due to some conflicting reports. There was no other reason.”
However, departmental teachers claimed that during the inquiry, the accused was asked to resign so that he would not be removed from the service.
Due to backing of some powerful circles of the teaching committee, Dr Sabir Michael refused to do so, said a faculty member requesting anonymity.
“He was dismissed from the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology under similar charges.”
Meanwhile, at least five teachers of the department had submitted an application at the KU VC office to remove the accused teacher. They also warned that they would “lock the department if he was not removed with an immediate effect”.
The syndicate meeting also constituted a committee to consider the matter of overtime of the KU employees which will give its report to the varsity’s VC.
The syndicate meeting of the University of Karachi, chaired by its vice chancellor Professor Dr Muhammad Qaiser also gave approval for the appointment Dr Farah Iqbal and Professor Munira Ansari as the chairpersons of the departments of psychology and library information sciences respectively.
The meeting set deadline for the computer operators, who have not completed the diploma in information technology, to complete the diploma from the Sindh Board of Technical Education or KU recognised institutes.
The meeting also decided that the post of computer operators working at KU would be make equal to the service structure of the provincial and federal governments.
It was also decided that around 20 houses, which have never paid utility charges till to date and they were located at the back of KU nursery, would have to pay utility charges.
The meeting declared that resident of those houses should follow the varsity’s instruction, as the houses were property of the university.
A committee was also constituted to prepare an agreement between the KU and the UBL and the MCB booths, situated at the campus, and the committee will present the draft of the agreement during the next syndicate meeting.
The approval was not granted to award the honorary degree to Farheen Navaid while the post of Durriya Kazi will remain intact and it will be advertised soon.
As per the resolution of the Sindh Assembly, the Sobho Gianchandani Chair will be established in the varsity.
It was also decided to seek funds from the Higher Education Commission in this regard.