The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, has said that the institution will not tolerate sexual misconduct of any sort no matter the personality involved.
Reacting to the news in some quarters about a recent allegation against a senior member of the academic staff at the Department of Africa Language and Linguistics the University Management through the institution’s Public Relations Officer cleared the air on the issue which is currently under investigation.
According the the spokesman Abiodun Olarewaju in a statement the University would like to debunk an unfounded allegation making the rounds in some quarters, that it’s foot dragging in sanctioning the 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.
A statement by the Public Relations Officer of the University, Abiodun Olarewaju, revealed that the unwholesome incident, which happened on the 18th of March, 2022, prompted Boluwatife Hannah BABABUNMI of the Department of Linguistics and African Languages to write a petition to the University Management against Joseph Ayo Opefeyitimi, a professor of Yoruba incantations and Stylistics, of the same department, on the 21st of March, 2022.
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.
Second stage was the Faculty level and the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, professor Niyi Okunoye referred the matter to the anti sexual harassment committee of the University. The committee, which also sat and clinically deliberated on this same matter, recommended appropriate disciplinary actions against professor Ayo Opefeyitimi to the University Management.
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.