DU teacher accused of sexual harassment

The Report Desk

Published: February 10, 2024, 11:50 PM

DU teacher accused of sexual harassment

A student of Dhaka University has filed a written complaint alleging sexual harassment and prolonged psychological abuse against Prof Naadir Junaid of the university‍‍`s Mass Communication and Journalism Department.

DU Proctor Professor Maksudur Rahman confirmed that he received the written complaint.

Meanwhile, Leaders and activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra Union’s (BSU) Dhaka University unit formed a human chain on the campus, demanding a trial for the sexual harassment allegations brought against Junaid.

They urged students to build a strong movement demanding investigation of the incident and the establishment of an effective anti-sexual harassment cell as soon as possible.

In the complaint submitted to Proctor Maksudur, the student brought a host of allegations, including threatening her in various ways for not accepting his romantic advances, monitoring her through the CCTV camera, continuously calling her at odd hours, and expressing sexual interest.

"He used to make lewd comments about my physical appearance and express sexual tension. At the same time, he used to persuade me to participate in phone conversations of a sexual nature," she wrote.

During this time, the faculty also talked to her about internal administrative matters of the department such as the department‍‍`s committee decisions, examination results, and even the conduct of the teachers, she wrote.

The student wrote that she tried to ignore his romantic advances but she couldn‍‍`t shut off communication completely fearing repercussions as Prof Naadir holds significant power in the department.

She shared her emotional experience, stating, "Over the past year and a half, I have endured significant mental distress. Unfortunately, I found it challenging to articulate this pain directly to him. The intensity of the emotional strain reached a point where it affected my sleep, causing insomnia during the night. To cope, I sought counseling at the beginning of last year and, regrettably, had to resort to sleeping pills."

The student also wrote when she tried to stop all kinds of communication, Prof Naadir publicly rebuked her in the classroom.

"Then he repeatedly insisted that I was not ‍‍`normal‍‍` and suggested that I should seek medical attention. His persistence escalated as he questioned my emotional responses, repeatedly asking why I did not respond to his romantic advances. This escalated into verbal abuse, with him berating me as an ‍‍`idiot‍‍` and accusing me of being ‍‍`insensitive," she wrote in the complaint.

As a student, I endured relentless sexual harassment, feeling powerless due to his position of authority, she said.

Expressing her perspective on the matter, the student shared, "Having observed the detrimental impact of the teacher‍‍`s resentment, I unfortunately became a victim of prolonged sexual harassment lasting over a year and a half. This harassment stemmed from what I can only describe as personal aggression."

Despite repeatedly advising students against using social media, the teacher extensively monitors discussions on others‍‍` Facebook accounts, that she believes fosters an atmosphere of fear in the department.

"During a class to the 16th batch, he conveyed a message of scrutinising their Facebook posts. This has fostered a culture of fear within our department that leads to self-censorship among peers. I felt cornered by a teacher who seems to be establishing an atmosphere of intimidation, and there are concerns about the potential continuation of such behavior in the future," she added.

It was also alleged that the professor used to mention the names of other female students and made obscene comments about their physical appearance.

"I have come to know many times that several other students were approached by him," she wrote.

The student urged for resolute measures to be taken post a fair investigation.

Meanwhile, Professor Naadir, who joined DU as a lecturer in the year 2000, said the DU authorities had not shared the complaint with him till Saturday afternoon.

Contacted, he said, "I have been hearing for the last few days that such allegations might surface, this timing is very odd."

When asked about some screenshots and audio recordings, he said, "I have not been contacted by the university administration yet, so cannot comment further on this issue."

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