The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Osun State, has queried the professor who was allegedly accused of demanding sex to upgrade a female student’s poor result.
The university also appealed to the student to come forward to make a formal complaint against the lecturer.
The Public Relations Officer of the OAU, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju, said this while speaking on Wednesday during a radio programme on Rave FM in Osogbo, the state capital.
He said the university had started investigation into the allegation against the don, adding that anybody found guilty would be appropriately sanctioned.
The PRO said, “We have put machinery in motion to ascertain the veracity of the claims and identify the characters involved. As I am talking to you now, the management has taken a position which we will be working on now. On the day that the audio was leaked, the vice chancellor and other principal officers of the university acted, including the legal director of the university. We set up a committee and the vice chancellor gave the committee one week to submit its report. After that, we will know what to do.
“The incident happened last year. We have been calling her (the student’s) line, but she is not responding to her calls again. We learnt that she confided in someone that she did not want the appointment of the man (lecturer) to be terminated because of her case. The panel has been set up and query has been given to the man; but we need somebody to come up that she was the one that was sexually harassed and the person is not in sight.”
Olanrewaju said the varsity would get to the root of the matter in order to restore the confidence of members of the public that the institution was safe for all students.
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, also assured people that the university would sanction the professor if he was found culpable.
In a statement on Wednesday, a copy of which was made available to our correspondent in Osogbo, Ogunbodede said the institution had zero tolerance for sexual harassment.
The statement read, “The attention of the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has been drawn to an audio recording, now trending on the social media, of a telephone conversation ostensibly between one Professor Akindele and a female student of the university. The recording suggests that the lecturer was demanding sex in return for grade, which clearly amounts to sexually harassing the lady.
“Since the matter came to our notice, the university has begun the process of identifying the characters involved in this apparent breach of its regulations. The university has set up a high-powered committee to investigate the allegation and submit its report within one week. Anyone found culpable will be dealt with decisively.
“I wish to assure the general public that Obafemi Awolowo University has zero tolerance for sexual harassment. The university considers sexual harassment as a serious offence contrary to its code of conduct and against the Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy of the university. It is totally and morally reprehensible, and the university will never condone such acts by any staff member or student.”
Meanwhile, the Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Mr. Najeem Salam, has urged the management to ensure that the case was thoroughly investigated.
He made the call while speaking to journalists in Osogbo on Wednesday.
Salam said the university should ensure that those culpable did not escape punishment.