Jobs offered to student kicked out of college for discovering security flaw

Ahmed Al-Khabaz, the student that has been expelled from Dawson College because of an unauthorized intrusion in the college’s systems to check whether a flaw he recently discovered in its student web portal was fixed, has not been reinstated.

The college has offered a formal explanation for its decision, one that paints a somewhat different picture of the events that preceded it:

To set the record straight, Ahmed Al-Khabaz was not expelled because he found a flaw in the student information systems. In fact, the College and Skytech recognized his work, thanked him, and enlisted him and two other students to help address the problem.

He was expelled for other reasons. Despite receiving clear directives not to, he attempted repeatedly to intrude into areas of College information systems that had no relation with student information systems.

These actions and behaviours breach the code of professional conduct for Computer Science students, a serious breach that requires the College to act.

The College followed its regular processes to investigate the situation and to proceed with sanctions against Mr. Al-Khabaz, on the recommendation of the Computer Science Department, giving him the opportunity to plead his case with the Dean and the Department Chair and to avail himself of appeal processes.

As a public institution in Quebec, Dawson College must adhere to strong professional values in its delivery of education as it is entrusted with preparing students for future academic and working lives. Universities expect this commitment to values as do employers, parents and students themselves.

Dawson College has a responsibility to instill the principles of proper conduct in the workplace so that employers hiring our graduates know that they are responsible citizens and qualified workers who understand how to behave in a professional environment.

The decision to expel a student is a serious matter and our presence here today is to assure the public that such decisions are never taken lightly because we are fully conscious of their effects of on individuals.

The ruling seems final, but Al-Khabaz’s decision to share his plight with the public might considerably ameliorate the position he found himself in, as a number of companies – including Skytech, the developers of the flawed portal – have already offered him a job.

Skytech President Edouard Taza said they consider Al-Khabaz an extremely bright young man and are prepared to offer him a part time job at the company and a full scholarship to one of Canada’s private general and vocational colleges.

According to National Post, Al-Khabaz is considering the options he now has before him, as the possibility of him returning to Dawson seems very slim.

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