Jagannath University suspends lecturer Abu Shahed Emon over sexual harassment charges

Department chair Junaid Ahmed Halim has been suspended from the post due to failure to support the victim

Jagannath University Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 21 March 2024, 12:41 PM
Updated : 21 March 2024, 12:41 PM

The Jagannath University administration has temporarily removed Department of Film and Television lecturer Abu Shahed Emon following a student’s complaint of sexual harassment.

Department chair Junaid Ahmed Halim has been suspended from his post due to a failure to properly support the victim.

JnU Vice Chancellor Dr Sadeka Halim made the announcement after an emergency meeting of the university syndicate on Thursday.

Kazi Farjana Mim, a student from the 2017-18 batch of the Department of Film and Television, recently brought allegations of sexual harassment against Emon. Her statement came amid controversy brought allegations of sexual harassment against a course teacher amid controversy surrounding the death of Fairuz Abontika, a student of the university’s Department of Law who died by suicide after accusing a classmate of sexually harassing her.

Abontika also blamed the university’s assistant proctor for threatening to expel her.

According to Mim’s complaint, one of her course teachers, lecturer Abu Shahed Emon, called her to his room citing academic reasons and sexually harassed her. Prof Halim, the chairman of the department, failed her in an honours examination after she took the issue to the concerned authorities to get justice.

Claiming Mim’s allegations as "baseless", Emon had previously said that she was trying to seek media attention using sympathy over Abontika’s death.

Denying Mim’s allegation of failing her in the exam, Prof Halim said, “Mim didn’t attend classes at all. Whereas a student cannot appear for an exam without 60 percent class attendance, Mim gave the exam. If she is not present in the class, there is no chance to give her marks."

Mim also wrote to the university’s chancellor, President Mohammed Shahabuddin, accusing two teachers of sexual harassment and unfair assessment of an examination.

She submitted her written application at the Bangabhaban on Tuesday, seeking ‘exemplary justice for bullying and sexual harassment’ over the incident. She also urged the head of the state to retrieve her life in the application.

According to the application, Mim petitioned the vice-chancellor of the university, seeking justice over a case of sexual harassment in December 2021. However, no action was taken following the incident, and she alleges the accused teachers deliberately failed her in multiple subjects of her honours exam.

The application also read that she was mentally tortured by the teachers, who also threatened to expel her and fail her in her exams.

“I received death threats from my harassers and was on the verge of committing suicide. This is why I have disclosed the matter to the media,” said Mim.

Before that, Mim went to DB headquarters in Dhaka to notify them of the allegations against the teachers. Mim and the accused teachers were called in to the DB office on Wednesday based on the complaints. DB Additional Commissioner Harun Or Rashid heard their stories afterwards.

EXAMS CAN BE RE-TAKEN

Jagannath University’s Department of Film and Television announced in a press release on Thursday regarding its decision to conduct a supplementary examination of failed students for the 2017-18 academic year.

Students who failed in different semesters during the 2017-18 academic year can apply for supplementary exams in those subjects from Mar 23 to Mar 27, the university said in a statement signed by Department of Film and Television Chairman Prof Junaid Ahmed Halim, who was later suspended.

Halim explained to bdnews24.com: "It's a standard university practice. When students fail courses, they're usually allowed to take supplementary exams. This applies not only to this batch but to others as well."

However, when asked about the number of students who failed specific courses that academic year, the department chair noted he doesn't have the exact count at the moment.

The decision allows Mim to retake the exams as well.