Multan: Students put to ‘sexual harassment’ test
MULTAN: A case of alleged sexual harassment in the semester system has surfaced in the recent clinical psychology examination held at the Bahauddin Zakariya University, a premier institution in Multan.
Two female students of clinical psychology’s third semester (their names and the names of the suspected teachers have been withheld as the BZU is yet to hold an inquiry) were attempting their psychotherapy paper on May 23 when subject in-charge (a female teacher) summoned them to her office on charges of cheating.
The in-charge also summoned another female student of the same semester as a witness. The girls, however, denied the charges. Talking to Dawn, the victimised girls said when no cheating material was recovered from them, they were made to swear on the Holy Quran. Even the swearing did not satisfy the in-charge and three other female teachers present there.
They said afterwards they were forced to take off their clothes. When the girls protested the humiliation, one of the teachers said “Had they ‘pleased’ a senior male teacher, they would not have met such a fate”.
They said they were allowed to rejoin the examination when only 20 minutes were left. But they could not further attempt their papers due to mental agony and stress they had been through.
The girls said they contacted the dean of social sciences department and informed him about the entire episode. They said the dean asked them and the subject in-charge to submit their versions in writing.
They said they visited the office of the dean thrice to submit their application, but he was not available at his office. According to them, they had the recorded evidence of the teacher’s insulting remarks and maligning their character.
When contacted, one of the teachers who had grilled the girls for alleged cheating on May 23 said they had not forced the girls to take off their clothes. She said in the past these girls had been involved in cheating and this time they were caught red-handed. She said they had not cancelled their papers and allowed them (the students) to participate in the examination despite the fact that they were found involved in cheating.
Answering a question, she said the cheating material was recovered from the examination hall, and not from the girls. Denying the charge of cheating in the past, the girls said their previous exam results bore the testimony to the fact that they had never indulged in such a practice. VC Dr Zafarullah said he had just received a written complaint and an inquiry would be conducted soon.