Islamabad: A male lecturer of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) wad removed from his job over charges of harassing a female student.
The latest reports say that the harassment committee found evidence to corroborate the student’s allegations that Professor Zahid Sarfraz had sent her inappropriate text messages and asked her to meet him alone.
The student brought the incident to the attention of three senior lecturers including Zubair Khan Niazi and Dr. Imran Ashraf. However, instead of taking action, they advised her to keep the matter confidential and even warned her of potential academic consequences and the possibility of her parents finding out about it.
In addition to reporting the harassment, the student also claimed that the head of the physics department had given her a failing grade by only one mark. She went on to allege that Zubair Khan Niazi and Dr. Imran Ashraf had asked her to provide a written statement to withdraw her complaint and delete the text messages from her phone. They also threatened to cancel her semester and tarnish her reputation if she refused to comply.
Upon completing its investigation, the harassment committee recommended that the physics department head and the teachers who urged the student to remain silent be terminated from their positions. Additionally, the committee ordered that an independent third party verify the student’s exam papers and results.
According to a spokesperson of FUUAST, the incident came to light in December last year, following which the university formed a committee to investigate the matter. The person who made the allegations was a contract employee who was subsequently dismissed from the university.
The findings of the investigation committee established that Professor Zahid Sarfaraz had engaged in harassment and violated the professional standards of his job.