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QAU professor faces probe after sexual harassment charges

Umar Cheema

ISLAMABAD: A Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU) professor is under investigation on charges of making sexual advances towards a female student.It is alleged that he first forced the student to write her thesis under his supervision and later fabricated a case of plagiarism after she refused sexual favours.

It is the third incident in QAU in two years. Two professors were earlier sent on forced retirement in July 2011 on the same grounds.Meanwhile, two female students have already changed their supervisors on the same grounds after the professor strictly instructed her see him only in the evening for dinner and shopping and there must be no friend accompanying her.

This professor who is in his late 30s and still not married does not accept male students for the supervision of their thesis and research. On the other hand he forces female students and threatens that they could fail in semester exams.

A three-member committee that is investigating into the allegations refused to give details to The News and said their final verdict will be conveyed to the university administration for further action.

Background interviews with informed students reveal that the professor had pressured the female student for choosing him as supervisor threatening that otherwise she would get poor grades in the final semester.

Offering incentives, the professor said he would take her to shopping and dinner but she must come to his office for ‘consultation’ after 5pm and alone. Concerned about her career, the student submitted to the demand.

It has been learnt that the student had an affair with a cousin studying in QAU who was a thorn in the eyes of the professor as he would leave no effort to humiliate him, even passing racist remarks mocking his colour and conduct without any reason.

As the female student went to see the professor one evening, he started making sexual advances and touched her physically that infuriated her. She ran away from the professor’s office and registered a complaint with the students’ affairs section but no action was taken.

Meanwhile, the external examiner who conducted viva of her thesis conducted all praise for her research work. In contrast, the alleged professor who was supervisor and supposed to defend his student, charged the student of plagiarism apparently because she had refused to oblige him sexually.

The student who was deeply hurt by the undignified attitude of the professor went to lodge a complaint with the head of the department who subsequently took up the matter with the vice chancellor. A three-member Committee is now investigating the case and has recorded statements of different students whereas the accused professor appeared on Wednesday to face the allegations.

The News contacted two of the committee members who refused to divulge details, saying they will submit a report to the vice chancellor. The head of department was also reluctant to speak. It has been learnt two female students have already changed supervisors on grounds of sexual harassment by this professor. The QAU administration had to remove two professors in July 2011; controller examination was retired for a molestation attempt and an IT professor removed for sexual harassment.

Source: The News

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