UM Student Lodges Report over Sexual Harassment by Associate Professor

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A Universiti Malaya student today lodged a police report over the alleged sexual harassment of her by an associate professor.

The student, who only wanted to be identified as “Ching’, urged the police to investigate the case, saying that the university authority had not acted effectively and refused to reveal the outcome of their internal probe.

“I am truly disappointed and despaired by the negligence and inefficiency shown by the Integrity Unit of Universiti Malaya.”

“The lack of attentiveness and transparency not only halted the pursuit of justice but also strongly affected my mental well-being,” Ching told the media after lodging the report at the Pantai police station in the capital.

She was accompanied by the representatives from the UM Students Union, the Universiti Malaya Academic Staff Union (PKAUM) and the Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umany).

According to Ching, the incident happened on June 3, 2019, at the associate professor’s office at UM.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

“He hugged me and asked me questions that invaded my privacy,” she said, adding there were other instances of inappropriate physical contact during the encounter.

According to her, she had sent an e-mail on July 1, 2019, lodging a formal complaint with the Integrity Unit of UM, parked under the vice-chancellor’s office.

However, no response was received until she personally went to the office to inquire further on July 11 last year.

Ching said that recently, she was informed by the Integrity Unit that the offender had been punished, but they refused to disclose what punishment or action was taken claiming that information was confidential.

“I feel this explanation fails to reflect that justice was served. I believe this case should be taken more seriously because there are victims who faced similar experiences in the past too.”

Hence, she said she was calling for a thorough police investigation. She also urged the university to give a clear answer regarding her case.

“I hope UM can provide an immediate answer regarding this sexual harassment case. Moreover, the punishment should commensurate with the seriousness of the offence.

“This is not only important for me but for other victims as well,” said Ching.

Umany president Yap Wen Qing criticised the lack of transparency when dealing with sexual harassment cases involving lecturers or professors.

“We strongly believe that the verdict and the decision made by the Integrity Unit of UM did not deliver justice to the victim,” he said.

Azneal Ishak/Malaysiakini

UM Students Union president Muhammad Haziq Azfar Ishak told reporters that he doubted whether the alleged offender was really punished revealing that he had retired last month.

Expressing the union’s full support for her action today, he added that Ching was only one of the several victims on campus who had suffered sexual harassment

Malaysiakini has contacted the Integrity Unit of UM and the associate professor concerned for their responses. – Malaysiakini