A surprise 18th birthday party for a student of the American University of Sharjah (AUS) turned into a "nightmare" for her and her family.
According to the parents of the student, T.J., the hostel management, instead of taking part in the event, decided to eject the student from her room for the summer semester following an argument between the parents and the management over the right of the student's father to attend the party.
Gulf News learnt that T.J's parents planned to hold a birthday party for their daughter at the AUS dorms, but the father was told that he cannot enter the building. The parents who came specially for this event from Abu Dhabi later organised a small party in the canteen.
However the argument between the parents and the receptionist of the dorms prior to the party was considered a serious offence by AUS. The management took the arbitrary decision to eject the first year student from the hostel with immediate effect. The management then broke open the closet and the locker of the student.
"Personal humiliation and ill-treatment inflicted by you and your immediate family members upon the residential halls staff is unacceptable. Threatening and ill-treatment of staff in performance of their duty is considered harassment and a breach of the policy," said the note received by the university student.
"I paid for the summer semester for my daughter but the university, without consulting me as the father of the student, took the arbitrary decision to kick my daughter out of the dorms," he said.
"I wish I had not celebrated the birthday of my daughter because I never expected such a harsh gift from the management of the university on this occasion," T.J.'s father said.
"We were left with two impractical options. Either my daughter drops out of the summer semester or I keep my daughter in one of the hotels in the city," he said.
"Since we live in Abu Dhabi, cancelling the summer semester for my daughter means she will not be able to complete the academic requirements for the first year. The hotel option was also not acceptable to me, my wife and my daughter," he said.
"When we decided to send our daughter to AUS we did so because she would be in Arab Islamic environment," he said.
"We have access to Canadian universities and elsewhere in the world but Sharjah was our first option. The quality of education was also a strong advantage in favouring Sharjah against Canada where we have residence and relatives," he said.
The father said this is unfair and contradicts Arab and Islamic traditions of protecting women and not exposing them to this kind of treatment.
He said he tried to contact the AUS management but in vain. "After several attempts to contact them in the last more than ten days we were told that the dean, who took the decision, is on leave and she will be back on 26th of this month," he said.