KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — A Malaysian former postgraduate student at the Hong Kong University (HKU), who detailed her sexual harassment ordeal on Facebook, claimed that the university has since allowed her alleged harasser back on campus to continue teaching.
In an interview with the South China Morning Post (SCMP) published yesterday, the woman known only as ‘L’, who has since returned to Malaysia, said she was shocked when she found out about his reinstatement.
L claimed that the tutor, who is a married man, stopped teaching for some time after being redeployed to another academic department following her complaint about him to the university, but has begun tutoring at HKU again.
“To let him back into the faculty after I have left, to jeopardise the safety of other female students, shows how lightly HKU has taken this matter.
“There was relief and catharsis in writing my story but that’s not to say reliving the experience was in any way pleasant.
“But I am seeking redress,” she was quoted as saying.
L claimed that the man, who was teaching part-time at Prince Philip Dental Hospital, had made inappropriate physical contact with her on several occasions between 2015 and 2017. She alleged that he had touched her back, arm and shoulder despite her brushing his hands away, and even leered at her chest.
L posted about her ordeal earlier this month on Facebook, after which it gained momentum.
SCMP reported that after the Facebook account, HKU president Professor Zhang Xiang had pledged to address the matter, reportedly urging staff members who held supervisory positions to “take all necessary steps in order to prevent discrimination and harassment... supervisors who fail to act will be held accountable”.
The paper said that when it sought to obtain an update on the recent allegations by L, a HKU spokesperson replied via email that the university had “made a lot of efforts for the past years” in its policy, procedures and practices to ensure equal opportunities and prevent discrimination and harassment.
SCMP said that the spokesperson explained that HKU’s Equal Opportunity (EO) unit, which is tasked with handling harassment complaints, and other university departments, had also organised “awareness programmes, training sessions, exhibitions for staff and students on matters of equal opportunities and handling of complaints and enquiries”.