What should universities do to curb sexual misconduct by lecturers?
The laws against such unholy liaison between lecturers and students should be strengthened. School authorities must enforce such laws because without enforcement, laws are ineffectual.
When there is strong rule, and a lecturer knows that even merely inviting a female student to his office for anything other than academics attracts great punishment, he will think twice before taking that path. Such a rule must attract stiff punishment such as dismissal and prosecution. We recently had a workshop on enabling the adoption and implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 in Kwara. We discussed various issues, including rape and other forms of immorality, and the need to safeguard our youths.
It is commendable now that each university is regulating its dress code because of the claim that indecent dressing among students contributes to sexual misconduct. I don’t think this excuse is tenable, because even if a female student dresses naked, it’s none of the lecturer’s business.
We hear that it is not only lecturers that make overtures, some students also make such overtures and when things turn against them, they blame it on the lecturer. Some students complain they were raped, but they voluntarily walked into the lecturer’s room where the sexual affair took place.
If a student voluntarily goes to a lecturer to seek an undeserved favour, and a case of immorality is established, especially of a sexual nature, two of them should go, not just the lecturer.
Any student that makes an immoral overture to a lecturer and the lecturer out of indecency succumbs, they should all go. The school authorities should put in place adequate regulations to prevent such cases.
The recurring cases of sexual misconduct between lecturers and students are giving us a lot of concern. In the olden days, such was not the case.
Even some parents reported their erring children to teachers, but nowadays, you see how students behave towards a lecturer because the lecturer has belittled himself. Today, the students and lecturers attend the same parties, dance and wine together. Such things must stop.
Students staying off-campus are worsening things. I do not know what the government is doing about that. When you have female students living alone off campus, they can even be having affairs with other men other than lecturers. Some female students have turned their rooms to brothels where men come and sleep with them.
You even have cases of live-in lovers; this is terrible. Students should live on campus. That was what we had in the olden days. We had porters who regulated our movements. But now that students rent apartments, no one is supervising them. They can bring in one lover today and another one tomorrow; no one is guiding them.
School authorities can invite wealthy individuals to construct hostels on campuses and a way be found to help them recoup their investments through a Build Operate and Transfer Scheme. This will be mutually beneficial. •Hajia Salmat-Iyabode Muhammed (International Federation of Women Lawyers)
The issue of sexual harassment in universities and other tertiary institutions is of great concern to me as a human being and as somebody who is within the system, it portends a blot on the system. My position is that all stakeholders should unite to reduce to the barest minimum if not eradicate it. As lecturers, we should always remember that these students are entrusted in our care to help them develop in character and in learning. When we take advantage of these students by demanding sexual favours, we are betraying public trust and working against the future.
Every university should have a platform to remind lecturers of their responsibilities to themselves, their students and society at large. Students (especially females) should also imbibe the culture of decent dressing.
It is regrettable that some vulnerable lecturers are swayed by students dressing. I will advise every school to emulate the University of Calabar, which has taken a firm stance on the issue. More often than not, most students who fall victim, are those who are not hard-working.
They don’t study; they spend most of their time on “runs” and so on. As a result, when they seek favours from lecturers who cannot control themselves and before anyone knows it, it becomes something else. One of the things institutions can do to help victims is to set up a disciplinary committee and provide an avenue for victims to speak freely if they are harassed.
We will also advise them to have audio or video recordings of the incident to strengthen their case. This will serve as a deterrent to any lecturer who contemplates abusing his position of privilege. There are currently laws and regulations in place against sexual harassment, but some institutions of higher learning seriously down play them.
I don’t think we should wait until the issue goes viral in the social media before we act. Whoever is found guilty should be punished. •Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo (Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Uyo)
Sexual misconduct in universities remains one of the greatest vices in Nigerian citadels of learning; it is inimical to academic progress, to say the least.
I believe this has always been in universities and other tertiary institutions but it seems that it is on the increase. Each university needs to put structures in place to encourage victims to speak up. Cases of sexual harassment, also occur between senior lecturers and their junior colleagues and it should be discouraged.
University managements must enact stringent laws to serve as deterrent to unscrupulous individuals among university teachers in order to restore sanity.
There should also be constant interactions between students and the management through the Directorate of Students’ Affairs, to feel the pulse of students and create room for vulnerable students to expose perpetrators of such indecent acts.
I believe one of the ways through which sexual misconduct can be curbed on our campuses is for university managements to make standing rules that criminalise sexual harassment and victimisation.
Students and other victims should be bold to speak out and at the same time take advantage of technology to expose those engaged in such acts of misconduct. •Mr. Olaniyi Ajibola (Executive Director, Advocacy for Advancement of Peace and Harmony in Africa Initiative)
What universities can do to stop such indecent behavour is to first eliminate the issue of handouts which some lecturers sell to students. Removing avenues for commercial interactions between lecturers and their students will go a long way.
Secondly, no lecturer should have the absolute power over the issue of grading so that not one lecturer should have the final say; there should be oversight by others within the system.
Proven cases should also not be treated with levity; those caught should not only be sacked; but they should also be handed over to the police for prosecution. • Emmanuel Onwubiko (Director, Human Rights Writers Association)
Stories of sexual harassment, abuse, extortion and other cases of abuse by lecturers in Nigerian universities and across other institutions of higher learning have been a lifelong malaise. The scars such errors have left on victims can only be imagined.
Far more victims have chosen to rue their fate in silence than those who have braved the odds and summoned the courage to speak out.
It will therefore not be wrong to set up a committee to be supervised by the ministry of education in all federal institutions to receive complaints and provide support for victims.
The committee will set up enlightenment centres which will reach out to students and staff of higher institutions through jingles and news items on traditional and social media. The message should contain warning to lecturers on the consequences of such actions; it should also encourage victims to come forward.
We should have complaint centres or a task force on campus to deal with such issues. It will help to warn and expose maniacs, paedophiles, extortionists, and others who take undue advantage of their positions. •Mr. Sulaiman Salawudeen (An Ekiti-based public affairs analyst).
Compiled by: Success Nwogu, Femi Makinde, Etim Ekpimah and Kamarudeen Ogundele.