FAISALABAD: The University of Agriculture Faisalabad administration is trying to hush-up an issue of alleged sexual harassment of three female students by an assistant professor.
Sources told Dawn that students of the National Institute of Food Science and Technology (NIFSAT) had approached the UAF students’ affairs director Shehbaz Talib, with an application, alleging their supervisor, an assistant professor, had allegedly used objectionable language with some of their fellow students and also tried to sexually harass them.
The complainants demanded a strict action against the supervisor, besides his transfer so that they could continue their studies freely and other students could be protected against such harassment.
They also informed the director details of the incidents of harassment occurring on March 1 and 2 when three students separately visited the supervisor’s room for getting their theses checked.
Sources said instead of taking immediate action against the supervisor, the director advised the students against sharing the episode with anyone, particularly the media, as it would tarnish their own reputation and might also create problems for them. They were told that in case the issue was highlighted by the media, “no one will be ready to marry you.”
However, on being informed of the issue, NIFSAT director general called the complainants and assured them of action against the alleged harasser, the sources said.
A student leader claimed that actually six students were sexually harassed by the supervisor, but only three of them complained against him.
He claimed the student’s affairs director expressed his helplessness when they demanded action against the supervisor, adding that the vice chancellor did not spare time to listen to them despite their request.
He demanded the university administration to appoint female supervisors for the job to avoid such incidents in the future.
The accused assistant professor did not reply to the WhatsApp messages sent by this scribe on his mobile number for his stance.
The university spokesperson claimed an ‘ethics committee’ had been formed to look into the issue and its findings would be shared with the media.
However, he did not share the notification of the committee with this scribe.