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Re: Alleged Sexual Harassment of a Student by a Lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University
On April 30, 2018, the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) issued a release condemning what appeared to be credible allegation of sexual harassment of a student by a member of faculty at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU). The Council noted the prompt action of OAU in dissociating the institution from such inappropriate conduct and its commitment to a timely and fair investigation. The Council further encouraged OAU to ensure that the investigation was broad and transparent.
CPC notes OAU’s responsiveness to the sensitivity of this issue and the written inquiries of the Council. The Council further welcomes OAU’s decision to dismiss the member of faculty involved, and commends Ms. Monica Osagie for speaking up and demonstrating courage by securing credible evidence to substantiate her allegations. Her bravery and the appropriate response of OAU would embolden other victims to resist harassment and speak up when confronted.
Both the approach of OAU and the outcome of its investigation convey the institution’s intolerance for this despicable behavior, and inspire confidence that, going forward, such allegations will be thoroughly investigated, and when established, penalised to the full extent of the law.
This exemplary response by OAU sets the standard and sends the appropriate message to other institutions, that learning and scholastic communities must be devoid of unacceptable behaviour, and that when such occurs, it will not be without consequence.
The Council encourages OAU to pursue, support, and cooperate with the criminal law enforcement authorities and any judicial process, to ensure that the full course and weight of the law apply in this case. This will serve as a deterrent to what appears to have become a pervasive pattern of behaviour on many campuses. In addition, and as a further deterrent, OAU and other learning institutions should commit to eradicating sexual harassment, by establishing or institutionalizing effective redress mechanisms, including secure whistle–blowing opportunities for such cases, to protect both students and faculty.
Finally, the Council re-emphasizes the need for learning institutions to assiduously address sexual harassment and other ancillary conduct in order to promote or restore institutional reputation, and ensure that students, being consumers of educational services, can pursue scholarship on campuses that provide safe and liberal environments where the relationship between faculty and students leads to robust and confident knowledge sharing.
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