Kofi B. Kukubor
It is important to adequately comprehend what sexual harassment, sex for favour, sex for grades, grades for sex etc. are. The ignorant male chauvinism that has characterized this sex for grade debate is rather scary and can only bode for a gloomy academic and work environment for young women. It is worrying to note that, the women must always be at the end of the ridicule when a man’s libido is doggishly hunting for innocent prey purely for soulless recreation.
Sexual harassment is predominantly the exercise of power to exploit vulnerable women or men. It is devoid of consent, and mutuality. It is procured through threat, fear, and imbalance whether subtle or frontal by the person who has official power and authority to protect, develop, teach, mentor, or guide the victim to progress. Even in the case of consenting adults (if not declared as conflict interest to management), any unwarranted eventuality that impinges on the reputation of the institution, the power holder(Lecturer) should be the first in line for punitive action. It should be borne in mind that university policies do not bar consenting sexual relationship between a Lecture and students, it should be noted that, academic environments are not dating sites or brothels for the practice of violent kisses and for ‘sideboyism’ or ‘sideguyism’.
Now, let me situate this in an academic and education environment to drive my point home. I am of the firm belief that, the primary function of education is to support young minds (students) to develop into adults with adequate and appropriate knowledge in Social, Emotional, Ethical (Godly), and Academic resources that are critical to the exercise of their talents and skills, to the dispositions of responsibility, and to engaging in meaningful relationships. The proper application of these to life and living is what I refer to as intellectualism. Any lecturer or academic institution that is short of these rudiments requires either pruning or excommunication from academic environment.
As much as I admit that the BBC exposé was short on documentary on sex for grades, it however unambiguously evidenced sexual harassment of young female students on university campuses by lecturers. This is in complete violation of the fundamental function of education, and the purpose of academic institutions. This should warrant every inch of meticulous investigation by any serious Institution of higher learning. The sex for grades or grades for sex is a product of sexual harassment. The grades to be awarded students is one of the many weapons of threat in the hands of lecturers to either intimidate, harass, and exploit with, or to be used as motivation in pursuit of academic excellence. Do not forget that, university degrees are AWARDED.
It is therefore heart warming to learn of the swift action taken by management of University of Lagos on Dr. Bossman (aka Coldroom), and the not so swift an action on Professor Yaw Gyampo (Violent Kissing) and Dr. Kwame Butakor (aka side boy, side guy). I recommend extensive investigations that will allow past students with similar experiences and evidence to be invited to anti-sexual harassment Committee to lodge complaints if any. This is necessary to assure young female students of their safety, to give opportunity to women whose dignities have been violated to vent their pains, and to restore the dented image of these two prominent universities, and the credibility of their certificates. The cardinal reference for these Committees is to determine whether standards governing sexual harassment have not been violated over the years and possibly lead to policy reforms.
The investigation should go beyond the BBC exposé.
_The writer is a Governance & Policy Analyst_