“Bullies? Not our problem.”

12 Jun

You pick up a newspaper, turn on the television and you’re sure to come across some incident of bullying and what a condemnable practice it is. Schools, Pressure Groups, and Universities around the world have advocated their condemnation of this practice and expressed their position on the issue stipulating they have a zero tolerance policy towards such behaviour. I study at one of the top universities in the world, in a city I can truly call my second-home. The University of Edinburgh has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullies, but this seems to be the case only on paper. I approached the administration regarding a complaint against a bully, who had been harassing me on and off campus. Having previously ignored malicious statements and rumours spread about me by this third-year student, I finally decided to ask him politely to put this childish behaviour to an end. He, in turn, decided to publicly embarrass me outside the Main Library on campus by yelling at me and passing mocking remarks such as, “I love talking about people. It’s my forte – what’re you going to do about it?” He started provoking me and taunting me in front of his friends making fun of me and making a mockery out of a very serious issue. I thought the guy would show the slightest bit of dignity since I had met him twice before in my life and knew that the only thing he knew about me was my name and that I was the daughter of a politician in Pakistan (since we both shared the same home country). A mutual friend informed me that this boy was previously a student at Karachi Grammar School (KGS) due to which I was under the false impression that he would be respectful and understanding having studied at such a prestigious institution.

After being reduced to tears, mere days before my exams, I decided to approach the University Student Support Office. The Student Adviser was extremely helpful and understanding of my situation. I explained to her how this boy wasn’t just spreading rumours that were damaging to a girl’s reputation in a country that already has a major issue with protection of its women, but that he was posting lies about me on Social Media, right before election time in Pakistan, knowing full-well what the pre-election situation in Pakistan is like. I sent copies of the tweets him and his friends addressed to myself and my mother’s party leadership, to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in addition to having a meeting with him. After meeting him, I was assured that this would be dealt with, though it meant that a long bureaucratic process had to be utilized. I received an email today (on the 12th of June 2013) simply informing me that there was “no case to answer” as far as the alleged bully was concerned. No reasons were given, except that there was insufficient evidence (which I didn’t understand seeing as how I had sent them copies of the tweets and given them oral evidence as to his actions on and off campus).

The University of Edinburgh’s Administration has yet again proved that their last concern is the welfare of their students. I would suggest they rip up their “code of conduct,” their policies on bullying since these are no more than empty words concealing inaction and apathy. More power to bullies is apparently the policy of the University i study at, and what a shame since it is considered to be one of the top institutions in the world. A student at the University who abused, mocked and harassed another student is apparently is in no violation of the University’s rules against bullying. 

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One Response to ““Bullies? Not our problem.””

  1. Shahid Akram Khan June 12, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Shameful. They clearly showed Hippocratic behavior. Apparently they seem to have more concerned about their international image as being an institute having a healthy and progressive academic environment with no “registered” case of type you mentioned. Perhaps they do care more about the bulk revenue coming from overseas students.
    2ndly. Imaan you can’t consider your self an ordinary student went from Pakistan to study there. Having a political background in home country that too of main stream politics exposes you to lot of jealousy and to the political motives of existing and potential opponents. Having siad this would mean that you every act, movement, comment, talk is under monitoring and is being noted. Like it or not, this is what you have got while being a socially and politically active person.
    Obviously, the sick minds do not even wait for the real reasons to bake the dirt of of their minds. This is what they are doing with you.
    All sympathies and best wishes are with you.

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