Policy On Protection Against Harassment In NCS University System Peshawar
The NCS University System recognizes that a safe and respectful environment is important to address concerns related to harassment. For a healthy learning and work environment to exist, a culture of mutual respect must exist. Lack of mutual respect is apparent when the victim of harassment, sexual or otherwise, has no formal grievance mechanism to address the wrongs experienced.
NCS University System prohibits harassment and discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, veteran’s status or national origin, or any other characteristics protected by law, in its programs and activities. In addition to being contrary to the university’s Mission and Guiding Values, harassment and discrimination are prohibited by this policy. The Institute is dedicated to providing a prompt and thorough response to conduct that adversely impacts, or has the potential to adversely impact, the educational or work environment of Institute faculty, students, staff, guests and visitors.
a) To educate students in the recognition and prevention of harassment and to provide effective means of getting rid of harassment to the extent possible from the learning environment.
b) To foster zero tolerance for sexual or any other kind of harassment and to ensure that all complaints of sexual harassment are taken seriously duly investigated with transparency and appropriately addressed.
c) To promote a culture of openness, with no fear of retaliation either as a victim or a “whistle-blower”.
3. TO WHOM DOES THIS POLICY APPLY?
a) Students, Faculty, Staff, Visitors/General Public
Any unwelcome conduct, verbal and/or physical, towards a student because of his / her age, level, marital status, national / ethnic origin, sex, creed, caste, colour, religion, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation or any other reason when such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive learning environment. Targeting student(s) because of being physically or mentally challenged shall also constitute an act of harassment, examples of which may include but are not in any way limited to:
a) Ridicule, derogatory comments, inappropriate jokes and insults
b) Unwarranted behaviour that is shown towards a student that has the impact of making that student feel that her / his respect and dignity has been violated
c) Display or circulation of materials and / or pictures, physically or electronically (e.g., via email, SMS, social media, etc.) which are degrading, sexually promiscuous and intimidating
d) Shouting at a student, using insulting and abusive language, humiliating or publicly condemning / criticising her / his competence
e) Quid pro quo – “something for something” (demanding a favour, act or service, that the recipient states they will repay in some way)
2. Sexual Harassment:
sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours by verbal, written or other means of communication, physical conduct of a sexual nature or a sexually demeaning attitude that interferes with the victim’s work/ academic performance; or creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive work/study/learning environment in which continuation of a course of study is conditional to compliance and refusal results in punitive action.Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to inappropriate gazing at a person’s body, unsolicited physical contact including but not limited to touching, patting or pinching
a) Verbal conduct of a sexual nature may include but not limited to:
I. Unwelcome verbal advances, sexually oriented comments about physical appearance, requests for sexual favours and continued suggestions for private social activity after it has been made clear that such requests and suggestions are unwelcome.
II. Offensive verbal conduct could also include jokes of a sexual nature, offensive flirtation or lewd remarks of a sexual nature, such as expressions of sexual interest that are addressed directly to the student.
III. Invasion of personal space (standing too close)
IV. Non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature may include the display of or forced to see sexually suggestive pictures, objects or written material, or sexually suggestive gestures. Verbal or non-verbal conduct that creates a sexually offensive learning environment also constitutes sexual harassment. Demanding sexual favors or sexually directed remarks / behavior constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a basis for an academic decision.
3. Bullying / Ragging / Hazing
a) Bullying means offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power and/or unfair punitive sanctions which makes the student feel upset, threatened, humiliated and /or vulnerable, which undermines the student’s selfconfidence and/or reduces the student’s feelings of self-esteem and self-worth, and which may cause the student to suffer stress.
b) Ragging and /or hazing means the practice of using rituals and any other acts, conduct or practices by which the dominant power of senior students, former students or alumni, is brought to bear on students who are in any way considered junior by other students. Ragging and /or hazing includes individual or collective acts or practices which include, but are not limited to:
o Involvement in physical or psychological assault or threat or use of force or wrongful confinement or restraint
o Violating the status, dignity and honour of such students
o Exposing students to ridicule and contempt and affect their self-esteem
o Verbal abuse and aggression, indecent gestures and obscene behaviour
c) Breaching the confidentiality of any information related to the student (e.g. grades, health issues, fee etc.)
a) Cyber-stalking is the use of the internet and mobile technology such as email, SMS text, social media or other electronic communications, to stalk and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviours, including communicating a credible threat of harm.
b) Cyber-harassment usually pertains to unconsented conduct such as threatening or harassing email messages, instant messages, or to social media and blog entries or websites dedicated solely to torment an individual. Cyber- harassment differs from cyber-stalking in that it is generally defined as not involving a credible threat.
• NCS University System encourages the reporting of all incidents of harassment, regardless of who the alleged offender may be. The Institute assures that all complaints that are reported will be taken seriously, will be investigated thoroughly and expeditiously and that all parties will be treated with respect.
• As harassment usually occurs when individuals are alone, it is often difficult to produce evidence. It is strongly recommended that members of the University community report any offensive behavior immediately to, or someone they trust, or seek guidance / help.
• All those , who either believe that they have become the victim of harassment or have witnessed harassment, should immediately report their concerns through any of the following routes:
o Report to the Director campus through Coordinator in case of student.
o Report to the director/head of institute in case of faculty/other non-academic staff, general public.
o Use the Safe Disclosure route
6. INQUIRY PROCEDURES:
• The procedures noted in this section of the policy deal with formal inquiries where the harassment has taken place between students or where the harassment has taken place between a student and a member of faculty or staff.All matters related to the review and investigation of any charge of harassment will be undertaken in strict confidence.
• Reports /complaints of harassment from students/faculty/staff must be made in writing and signed by the person preparing the complaint within 10 working days of the incident. It should include a factual description of the incident, including quotations of any offending language used. The complaint should then be submitted to the office of director campus or through program coordinator in case of student.
• The office receiving the complaint, in coordination with the director Human Resource, will review the information provided by the victim.Once it has been determined that all of the relevant information has been provided, the director campus will convene an Harassment Committee to consider the case.
• Wherever possible, within five working days, from the day the charge is communicated, the respondent shall be requested to appear before the Investigating Committee for an interview, or submit a written defence. On her / his failure to appear before the Committee or to submit a written defence, without a reasonable cause, the Committee shall proceed ex-parte.
• The Harassment Committee may request the attendance of appropriate individuals to appear before the Committee in order to provide information pertinent to the case.
• The Harassment Committee shall give its findings and recommendations in writing with appropriate reasons within 10 working days of the initiation of inquiry.
• The following rules shall be applicable to the hearings conducted by the Inquiry Committee:
a. All hearings shall be closed hearings;
b. The Inquiry Committee will hear statements from the complainant(s) and respondent(s), the witnesses if any (as required) and study any other documents and/or evidence as presented by the relevant parties or collected in the process of conducting inquiry;
c. The Inquiry Committee shall have discretion to limit testimony and questioning of witnesses to those matters it considers relevant to the disposition of the case;
d. The Chair of the Inquiry Committee shall have the power to compel a witness to attend, and the complainant(s) and/or respondent(s) may request the Chair’s aid in this regard;
e. The complainant and the respondent may at any stage of any of the procedures outlined in this policy be represented and/or accompanied by another person of her/his choice.
f. The Committee shall have the right to acquire any relevant piece of evidence to further their understanding of the case and the relevant parties, witnesses and administration are required to provide them with this documentation and/or evidence to facilitate the investigation;
g. Objective documentation of the proceedings of the Inquiry Committee shall be maintained where high confidentiality of the records and other such material shall be upheld at all times;
h. The respondent shall be allowed to cross question the complainant and witnesses unless the committee decides otherwise;
i. Where any procedural matter is not dealt with in this policy, the Inquiry Committee may, guided by the principles of fairness, establish any appropriate procedure.
a) In cases in which the respondent is a student, the following sanctions may be imposed:
I. In case of minor violations, the student may be issued a warning or reprimand. These shall be considered when adjudicating future violations.
II. In case of more serious violations, the following formal sanctions may be imposed: disciplinary probation, withholding of degree for a period of time, suspension or expulsion.
b) In cases in which the respondent is a member of the faculty, researcher or employee/staff of the Institute, the following sanctions may be imposed (individually or in combination), keeping in view the terms of the applicable employment policies:
I. Oral or written reprimand;
II. Counselling or training;
III. Inclusion of the decision in a specified personnel file(s) of the respondent;
IV. Exclusion of the respondent from a designated portion(s) of Institute buildings or grounds, or from one or more designated Institute activities, where such penalty is appropriate to the offence and where the penalty does not prevent the respondent from carrying out her/his professional duties;
V. The imposition of a fine;
VI. Recommendation for suspension of the respondent without pay;
VII. Recommendation that dismissal proceedings be commenced; or other sanctions, as deemed appropriate, in accordance with the terms of the employment policies.
8. MALA FIDE ALLEGATION:
a) False allegations of sexual harassment made out of malice or intent to hurt the reputation of the persons against whom the complaint is filed are to be dealt with as serious offences. Making mala fide allegation of sexual harassment knowing it to be false, whether in a formal or informal context, is a serious offense under this policy.
b) In the event that the Inquiry Committee determines that a false allegation made in the complaint with mala fide intent, it may recommend appropriate action against the complainant by sending its findings to the competent authority (by recording reasons thereof and including any note of dissent) for endorsement and action.
9. COMMUNICATION AND COMPLIANCE WITH THE POLICY:
a) The Director Campus , as applicable, in cooperation and coordination with the Program Coordinator/ academic entity heads, shall be responsible for wide dissemination of this policy.
b) The Student Anti-Harassment Policy will be available in the Office of the HR/Director Finance.
c) The policy shall be public on Institute website.
• Student/staff counseling service must be available to students/victims of harassment.
11. Policy Adopted and Modified from:
• The higher education commission policy on protection against sexual harassment in higher education institutions.
• Aga khan university harassment guidelines, policies and procedures.
EXAMPLES OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES AT HEIS
The following list provides further examples of actual reported or common cases by category:
1. Misconduct by Teachers
a. Male Teacher asked the Female student, if you want “A” grade, you need to take your final exam at my home.
b. Male head of the department forced the female subordinate employee by telling her that if she wants her contract extended she needs to spend time with him after office hours.
c. Male HOD deliberately touching or hitting the body of female employee by file or pen/pencil.
d. Male Teacher referring to female bodies and reproductive cycles to embarrass female students during class lectures.
e. Needy female students were given financial support by Faculty member in exchange for sexual favors f. Students complaints of a teacher telling vulgar jokes during classes which had sexual innuendos
f. Complaints against male supervisor/teacher spending long hours locked away in office with a young female colleague or student.
2. Misconduct by Students
a. A male student making vulgar jokes about a female student on the social media or verbally telling vulgar jokes about her to his fellow students.
b. Students sending in written notes letters, emails with requests for intimacy
c. Female student asked the teacher to provide the final grade list of all students. When the teacher refused to do that, the student registered a complaint against the teacher that he tried to hold her hand in parking lot while asking her to meet in private for grade list.
d. Female student visiting male teacher in his office unnecessarily and spending long hours and initiating intimacy for benefits (of grades, employment or even monetary).
e. Repeatedly following particular female students around the campus
3. Misconduct by Employees
a. Using vulgar language to address females (student, faculty and other employees)
b. To touch their intimate parts in the presence of women
c. Junior faculty was transferred to another department against her will by the authorities as a punitive measure for not complying with undue requests for (sexual) favors.
d. Giving extra favors to young female faculty/staff in nominating their names for international/domestic trips for their attention.
e. Threatening female students by using forged/fake documents and pictures to blackmail them into compliance.
f. Anonymous letters/pamphlets/e-mails defaming or character assassination of employees/teachers/students.