FAISALABAD: At least nine students of the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad (UAF), who were expelled on charges of criticising the university administration and putting up ‘critical posts’ on social media, were allowed to continue studies after the vice-chancellor accepted their appeals.
Those expelled included Sehrish Amin, Waqas Zia, Awais Shabbir, Muhammad Awais Ali Khan, Arabaz Hasan, Umar Bilal, Muhammad Isfandyar Javed, Ghulam Jelani and Zubair Iqbal.
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While speaking to The Express Tribune, UAF Registrar Chaudhry Muhammad Hussain said, “The students were involved in spreading undesirable comments and remarks on social media against the university administration.” He added, “They were also involved in misleading the students’ community and in damaging the repute and bringing a bad name to the university.”
He claimed all nine students were expelled after a brief inquiry in accordance with Clause IV of the Students Regulation 1978.
However, the registrar maintained the students submitted appeals to the university administration to review its decision and restore them. “The VC reversed the decision of expulsion of the students and notification to this effect was issued immediately,” he pointed out.
He said the decision was taken on the appeals and unconditional apology which was tendered by the parents and guardians of the appellants.
“The vice-chancellor, exercising his powers under the university rules, decided to suspend major and minor penalties imposed upon the students on June 23, 2017,” he elaborated. He said the students will be allowed to enter the university premises and sit in exams.
Muhammad Hussain mentioned the restored students had been asked to refrain from such activities and maintain good conduct and discipline during their remaining study period at the university.
“An undertaking or affidavit, duly signed by them and their parents/guardian, has already been submitted to students’ office director,” he said.
The UAF registrar remarked, “If these students were found involved in misconduct and violating the university rules then the suspended penalty will be re-imposed in addition to fresh penalties.” He said the results and certificates will also be cancelled by the UAF administration.
When contacted, UAF Vice-Chancellor Dr Iqrar Ahmad Khan told The Express Tribune, “No doubt, I have accepted their appeals and reversed the decision of the disciplinary commission relating to the expulsion but the same has been passed with certain conditions.”
He said, “The punishment has been held in abeyance and all such students would remain under monitoring as well as on probation for the rest of their study period in the university.”
He added, “We have taken guarantee and undertaking from their parents and guardians, who would be responsible to ensure their children would not involve in any activity that is against the interests and discipline of the UAF”.
'Expelling students is against freedom of expression'
“I have given a clear cut limit while accepting the appeals of the restored students and they are bound to abide the same. I made it clear to the students and their parents that whoever is found crossing the limits will be expelled from the campus and their degrees would also be cancelled,” the VC warned.
“I have observed that when parents take responsibility of their children, they focus on their studies and academic activities,” he added.
Earlier on June 19, 2017, more than a dozen people were injured when security staff deputed at the university clashed with the journalists, who were covering the protest of the expelled students. After the incident, journalists continued protests for three more days and a case was registered against the UAF officials and security guards.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2017.