The media hype around FAST may have died down but it is important that the spotlight remains on the matter until justice is served.
When news that FAST was punishing a number of students and alumni for memes reached national headlines, the university was quick to defend itself, claiming that it was doing so because the memes were of an “obscene” nature, earning the support of the Old Students Association of Fast (OSAF). However, in reality, FAST, by misrepresenting the facts, had blown a simple small controversy way out of proportion.
A recent post by OSAF sheds light on the truth of the matter. FAST made it appear as though the students of the group “FAST Lahore Posting” had been posting obscene material, and went on to propagate this idea on national platforms like DAWN. In truth, however, the group contained no such posts. Contrarily, the admins of the group had openly spoken against such material, which was being posted by other groups. What’s more, some of the students who were punished hadn’t even posted memes but had only liked or commented on them. Rather than deciding to retract its email and pursue and apprehend the real perpetrators, FAST chose to misrepresent the facts in order to justify its decision.
Moreover, in addition to misrepresenting the facts, FAST also went against its own Code of Conduct. Under FAST’s Code of Conduct, every student has the right to a hearing in which their side of the story is heard. FAST made no such hearing for any of the graduates. Furthermore, FAST and its DC Committee itself does not have the authority to punish alumni as they are no longer members of the institution. However, the varsity did not take this plain fact into consideration when drafting their email of punishment and threatening to cancel alumni’s degrees.
As of yet, FAST has not contacted the alumni, but they have been communicating with current students. The punishment has not yet been withdrawn. FAST must take its next steps carefully. It has already blown the meme controversy out of proportion, but if it begins to make fairer decisions, injustice may yet be prevented.
The claims in this piece have been reported by students and alumni of FAST on both public platforms and private platforms with their consent. While every attempt has been made to ensure factual accuracy, Team PG bears no responsibility for the veracity of the claims made in this article.