IBA Karachi expels student for publicly highlighting alleged harassment

Student refused to adhere to right channels despite counselling, IBA says

A file photo of the IBA City Campus. Photo: Courtesy IBA website
A file photo of the IBA City Campus. Photo: Courtesy IBA website

  • IBA says student was expelled for not adhering to SOPs stipulated by varsity.
  • Says despite the "counselling provided to the student, he refused to adhere to the right channels".
  • Says varsity is currently investigating alleged harassment.

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA) Karachi has expelled a student after he exposed an alleged case of harassment that took place on campus.

After expelling the student, the university issued a statement and said that the decision was taken by IBA's Disciplinary Committee to "ensure the safety of students" and address their concerns in a timely manner.

"The IBA is an institute that is known for its disciplinary rules, policies, and the IBA Code of Conduct, which applies to all members of the faculty, staff and students," the statement read, adding that students studying at the IBA are provided with several platforms to register their grievances.

In the statement, the varsity further said that in the past, "all issues brought to any of the platforms have been resolved following the rules and regulations of the competent authorities".

"The IBA has provided the channels and processes that need to be followed when any matter of concern arises, despite that, if any individual chooses to opt for ways and means that disrupt the ethics, values and standards of the IBA, the administration has zero-tolerance for any such behaviour."

It then added that a student, named Jibrail, from the BS Economics programme 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".

The statement added: "After a thorough inquiry into the matter, the Disciplinary Committee has [taken a decision] regarding the student from the BS Economics programme."

Sharing the details of the decision, the statement said that the student had posted details about the alleged harassment incident involving a female on social media "without following the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that are expected to be followed at the IBA," such as filing a complaint at any of the committees or offices.

"Sharing details about an alleged incident without having complete knowledge of the context and background on any public platform is against IBA’s rules and regulations," the statement said.

It further added that the student had used the details, including a picture, of the employee 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".

The university, in its statement, maintained that the student reported to "defame the Institute, its finance department, and the employee, including senior professors on various national forums."

The student's action, according to the IBA, "incited students to [stage] protest and lead demonstrations against the institute and pitting the students and the IBA administration against one another which could have jeopardised the security of the protesters and the administration personnel."

The IBA accused the student to have "endangered the physical and psychological safety of other students, employees, and faculty members with the protests," and "attempted 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."

Per the statement, 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 further read: "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."

"However, we need to emphasise, 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 maintained that the university's 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 statement said.

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, the IBA said.

What did the student post on social media that got him expelled?

On August 5, the student, Muhammad Jibrail, wrote on his Facebook account: “Some days before, I visited IBA’s Finance Department and observed a very gross and crappy incident in front of my eyes and it was an eye-opening ominous incident that actually told and reflected a lot of scum that our society contains.”

He explained that the incident was about a workplace harassment that he witnessed in the varsity’s finance department where a person yelled at and ridiculed a female employee of the institute. He added that he was so enraged by what he saw that he wanted to report it to the varsity’s harassment committee but could not do it that day due to some enrolment and finance issues he had to sort out.

Jibrail wrote: “As a citizen of this country, this is my duty in letter and spirit to report this crap of society whenever I will observe no matter who the hell he is.”

Social media reaction

After this decision, some social media activists took the matter to Twitter and decried the expulsion of Jibrail. 

Lawyer and social media activist Muhammad Jibran Nasir tweeted: “By expelling Jibrail, the IBA has sent a message to all female staff and students that they should never rely on any eyewitness if they face harassment as anyone who speaks up like Jibrail will be expelled. The institute also sent a message to students to keep their heads down when they see injustice.”

Later he wrote: “Today Jibrail was literally thrown out by the IBA and not even allowed to collect possessions from the hostel. Jibrail belongs to Lakki Marwat, he scored 90 plus in matric and Intermediate, got admission in IBA on scholarship, became TA & sacrificed everything two months before graduation for truth.”