Educational institution claims Mohammad Gibrail ousted because he didn’t pursue proper channels for resolution of his complains
Karachi’s Institute of Business Administration (IBA) on Wednesday expelled a student who had highlighted on social media an incident of alleged workplace harassment at the varsity and had supported the woman employee in lodging a formal complaint with management.
Student Mohammad Gibrail has been expelled by the Disciplinary Committee because he shared details of the incident on his social media page; “defamed” the institution; incited students to protest; and attempted to “influence” the decisions of relevant committees tasked with investigating the incident, read a statement shared on IBA’s Facebook page.
The student, it said, “was given multiple occasions to reconsider his actions and was counselled numerous times to reassess his actions … the IBA has zero-tolerance policy towards the violation of its rules and regulations.” It said that the student had been “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.” It also accused him of “endangering the physical and psychological safety of the employee, his coworkers and the department.”
According to Gibrail’s account, he was visiting the varsity’s finance department when he saw a manager screaming at a subordinate woman employee and threatening to make her sit at her desk all night. IBA’s statement noted that he had directed to remove the post, which was uploaded on Aug. 25, but he refused.
Claiming that IBA’s decision was not linked to Gibrail’s highlighting of the harassment, the varsity’s administration said it was on 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, it added.
Despite the IBA’s claims, the expulsion has provoked massive backlash, with students saying that the decision risks people ignoring any cases of harassment in future to avoid disciplinary action.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Gibrail’s lawyer and activist Jibran Nasir slammed the decision, stressing that the student’s public complaints had not defamed the IBA. “Shame on [IBA Karachi] for expelling a student for exposing harassment of a female staff member by a male staff member,” he said. “It’s not the student who defamed IBA, it is IBA which is defaming rather exposing itself with this step. A student’s career has been ruined for speaking truth,” he added.
Gibrail, according to Nasir, was not allowed to collect his possessions from the hostel. Originally from Lakki Marwat, he had been studying at IBA on scholarship and was expelled a mere two months before graduation.
In a Facebook posting on Tuesday night, prior to the IBA announcement Gibrail said he could already see that a decision had been made to expel him. “I know that the people will not stand with me when they will expel me because everyone would worry about their career and well-being. Even still, I’m saying with all my complete senses that I WILL NOT SAY SORRY EVEN IF IT WILL COST MY HEAD. I cannot be a hypocrite, a person who has difference in his words and deeds, and a person who takes decision by looking towards the number of people supporting him; I cannot be that person,” he said.
Nasir, meanwhile, told daily Dawn that he would appeal the disciplinary committee’s to the IBA Board of Governors, adding that he was willing to take the case to the Sindh High Court if necessary.