EducationPakistan

IBA Karachi expels student who exposed alleged harassment on campus

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi on Wednesday expelled a student who dared to highlight an alleged harassment incident at the varsity and had openly supported the female victim in lodging a formal complaint with the IBA management.

Mohammad Gibrail was punished for taking to social media to report the incident instead of using the “right channels” established by the institute, according to a statement shared on IBA’s Facebook page.

It said the student “was given multiple occasions to reconsider his actions and was counselled numerous times to reassess his actions. Having failed to do that, the Disciplinary Committee has decided to expel the student as the IBA has zero-tolerance policy towards the violation of its rules and regulations.”

Disciplinary proceedings were started against Gibrail after he posted on Facebook about an incident he observed in the IBA’s finance department on August 25, wherein he heard the manager of the department screaming at a female employee and saying, “Mein tumhe puri raat betha kar rakhoon ga (I will make you sit here all night).” The student later refused IBA’s demand to take down the post.

IBA Karachi’s stance

Several emails have been shared, be it the ‘Student Disciplinary Guidelines’, or ‘Student Discipline’, detailed guidelines are also present in the Student Handbook 2021-22 available on the IBA website which shed light on the ways students should engage on social media following social media guidelines.

A student from the BS Economics program was counselled by various members of the IBA community, however despite the counselling provided to him, the student refused to adhere to the right channels that are expected to be followed by all members of the IBA faculty, students, and staff.

After a thorough inquiry into the matter, the Disciplinary Committee has decided regarding the student from the BS Economics program. The committee has come to the following conclusion regarding the student who:

• Shared details about the incident on social media without first following the SOPs that are expected to be followed at IBA (i.e., filing a complaint at any of the abovementioned committees/ offices). Sharing details about an alleged incident without having complete knowledge of the context/ background on any public platform is against IBA’s rules and regulations.
• Shared details of the employee (Facebook profile including picture of the person) of the Institute even before the victim filed an official complaint which led to endangering the physical and psychological safety of the employee, his coworkers, and the department.
• Defamed the Institute, its Finance Department, and the employee including senior professors on various national forums.
• Inciting students to protest and leading demonstrations against the Institute and pitting the students and the IBA administration against one another which could have jeopardized the security of the protesters and the administration personnel.
• Endangered the physical and psychological safety of other students, employees, and faculty members with the protests.
• Attempting to influence the decisions of the relevant committees, which are completely independent and neutral, to achieve desired outcomes through dissemination of the incident and chain of events on mediums of communications outside the IBA and spreading misinformation and twisting of facts.

The student was given multiple occasions to reconsider his actions and was counselled numerous times to reassess his actions. Having failed to do that, the Disciplinary Committee has decided to expel the student as the IBA has zero tolerance policy towards the violation of its rules and regulations.

It is important to note that his highlighting the incident of alleged harassment within IBA has been appreciated by the IBA administration. We welcome our students pointing out issues which are of concern to them and our community. This is something that we at the IBA take very seriously and we have senior professors, management, and experts of the field, including many women, who are part of the committee to investigate such matters as per IBA/HEC policy of anti-harassment through the Anti-Harassment Committee. In the past couple of weeks, the IBA took an unprecedented decision and fired its senior-most staff member, on similar charges after a thorough investigation and process of seven months by various committees. IBA adheres to zero tolerance on such matters and ensures that we go through IBA’s set policies, rules, regulations and processes.

However, we need to emphasize, that the act of the student of whistleblowing of alleged harassment has nothing to with the Disciplinary matter which was the basis of the hearing and recommendation. The IBA Anti-Harassment Committee is investigating the case as per IBA and HEC rules, regulations, and procedures. We do not jump to any conclusions on the basis of hearsay and always follow processes before any decision can be taken.

The Institute will ensure that the rules and regulations of the Institute are being followed and will not allow any breach in the code of conduct. It is also to inform you that while the decision on this case is being communicated to you, there are other cases which are pending with the respective committees and final decisions will be communicated to you once a decision has been made after thorough inquiries.

The IBA management will abide by the decisions made. In case of any queries/concerns, formal and official means of communication need to be followed so that the relevant concerns can be addressed following the set channels.

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