UPEI president faces two harassment complaints
By Nicole Feriancek
Two sexual harassment complaints have been filed against UPEI president Dr Alaa Abd-El-Aziz.
Both complainants are members of UPEI faculty. They have filed charges of harassment in the nature of inappropriate comments to the PEI Human Rights Commission.
Greg Howard, the commission’s executive director, said the two complainants are represented by one lawyer.
“They were filed together at the same time,” Mr Howard said.
Tom Cullen, UPEI Board of Governors chairman has been appointed official spokesperson in this matter.
“The allegation is unproven so we are cooperating with the process, that’s all I can say,” Mr Cullen said.
President Abd-El Aziz, who has been the president of the university since 2010, will stay on the job during the investigation.
Mr Abd-El-Aziz just returned from a trade mission with Premier Robert Ghiz to Egypt. They are working with a university that wants to base its schooling on the PEI education curriculum.
Mr Cullen said the president returns from Egypt “sometime this week.”
Mr Howard said the details in this case have been kept quiet because the complainants requested it.
Usually the Human Rights Commission gives out information freely, but in this case, the lawyer for the complainants asked for confidentiality.
Mr Howard said the formal written complaints and responses to these complaints have been completed.
“At this point, we are now at the stage where the issue is under investigation,” he said.
“As the executive director, it’s my job to investigate, interview all parties, review the matter and then attempt to affect a settlement.”
Mr Howard said he will decide if the case has merit and should continue, or if it will be dismissed. If the parties cannot come to an agreement, the case will be moved to a tribunal.
Mr Howard said the commission is currently dealing with 85 unrelated complaints are the present time. He said he didn’t know what would happen with this case but “I can tell you that it is very rare that any complaints are referred to the tribunal.”
Mr Abd-El-Aziz is not commenting.