The Quaid-i-Azam University’s (QAU) syndicate on Thursday terminated the services of a professor accused of sexual harassment and constituted a second committee to investigate allegations against another.
According to sources, Dr Abdul Samad Mumtaz, assistant professor at the department of Plant Sciences, was accused of harassing his students. This is not the first time sexual harassment charges have been levelled against him. The second professor, Dr Inamullah Laghari of the anthropology department, was accused by a student earlier this year of sexually harassing her while supervising her thesis.
Regarding Mumtaz’s case, the members were of the view that since this was the second time he has been accused of this “shameful and intolerable” act, his services should be terminated. The members unanimously decided to abide by recommendations of the Committee for Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace which called for terminating the services of the professor with immediate effect.
Mumtaz was accused of sexually harassing students in 2009 but as the current law pertaining to workplace harassment was not enacted at the time, he was not punished. A senior member present at the meeting told The Express Tribune that Mumtaz was given a chance to clear his name but he failed to do so.
Syndicate members found procedural requirements had not been fulfilled by a committee formed earlier to probe Laghari’s case. “According to the law, when a witness testifies against someone in case of harassment, the accused should be present, but this was not the case with Laghari,” said a source.
Laghari had critcised some of the findings of the harassment committee and requested a review. The syndicate constituted another committee comprising of two senior most professors of the university and one from outside to look into the details and critically analyse the issue. It has been directed to submit a report with the syndicate as soon as possible.
In the previous syndicate meeting held on July 8, show-cause notices were issued to the professors to appear before the body in its next sitting. Both appeared before the syndicate.
The QAU administration had removed two professors in July 2011. The controller examination was retired for a molestation attempt and an IT professor was removed following sexual harassment complaints.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.
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