Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has revealed that following the sex scandal involving a professor and a student of the institution, the Professor Joseph Ayo Opefeyitimi, has been found prima facie liable.
“Procedurally, after the receipt of the formal complaints, the first step was that the departmental committee sat on the matter and, after thorough investigation, Professor Opefeyitimi was found prima facie liable,” a statement by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Abiodun Olarewaju, said on Wednesday.
While stating the steps it is taking to addressthe issue, the institution also clarified that contrary to claims, it is not foot-dragging.
“The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, would like to debunk an unfounded allegation making the rounds in some quarters, that it’s foot dragging in sanctioning a professor who was alleged to have sexually assaulted a female student in his office.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University have never shielded and will not shield any staff or student found to have committed any sexual misdemeanor. Previous cases of this nature have not evaded the disciplinary hammer of the University administration”.
Professor Opefeyitimi had been accused of sexually harassing a student, Boluwatife Hannah Bababunmi of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages.
The 25-year-old student disclosed this in a petition dated March 21, 2022 and titled; “Report of Sexual Assault and Molestation against Professor Ayo Opefeyitimi.”
OAU, however, re-iterated its zero tolerance for sexual harassment, adding that several lecturers who were found culpable in the past were sanctioned, hence it won’t hesitate to do same if the lecturer in question is found guilty.
“Of course, the University administration would have to present its recommendations to the Governing Council which has the final say on the matter, considering the status of the staff involved.
“We want the general public to be rest assured and be reassured that the present University Management does not condone sexual rascality of any form, under any guise against any member of the University community from anybody. We also pledge to continue to protect our students, particularly the female ones, against any sexual predator, no matter how highly placed.
“As a mark of its zero tolerance for sexual harassment, the present University Management had summarily dismissed three lecturers who had committed similar sexual offences. The first lecturer to be dismissed was of the department of Management and Accounting while the second one was from the department of English Language. The third one, who was given his letter of dismissal last month, was teaching in the department of International Relations,” the statement read in part.