By Victor Adeoti and Dorcas Elusogbon
The Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, has dismissed Prof. Richard Akindele who was allegedly involved in a sex-for-marks scandal.
Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, the Vice Chancellor of OAU, announced Akindele’s dismissal in a statement on Wednesday in Ile-Ife.
The vice chancellor of the university had, on April 19, confirmed the suspension of Akindele pending the findings of the investigative panel.
Miss Monica Osagie, a student in the Masters of Business programme, had released a recorded telephone conversation, which went viral, in which the lecturer identified as Akindele demanded five rounds of sex to enhance her marks.
Ogunbodede said that the University Senate at its meeting on June 14 considered the committee’s finding that Akindele had an inappropriate relationship with his student.
He said this was established through their conversation in the audio recording, his reply to the query, the oral evidence and the printed ‘WhatsApp conversations’ tendered before the committee.
The vice chancellor said Akindele had acted in a manner that compromised his position as a teacher and examiner in that his conversations with Osagie were about examination scores and inducement of favour for the alteration of examination scores.
Ogunbodede said: ”He offered to change Miss Osagie’s purported “33%” result to a pass mark in consideration for sexual favours; this was established in the audio recording which he admitted.
”His claim that Miss Osagie knew that she had passed with a score of ‘45’ but was seeking to score an ‘A’ and that this led to him being sexually harassed by Miss Osagie cannot be supported by any evidence.
”Professor Akindele’s actions in requesting for sexual favours from Miss Osagie to change her examination scores was scandalous behaviour that has brought ridicule to the name of the university and has tarnished the reputation of the university, as it portrays the university as an institution where its teachers and examiners trade marks for sexual favours.
”From the evidence, Miss Osagie had no idea that she scored ‘45’, a pass mark as later claimed by Professor Akindele, although she later found out she did not fail the course.
”Professor Akindele’s claim that he reported Miss Osagie’s ‘harassment’ to his colleagues cannot be supported by any evidence as all his colleagues denied it and one mentioned that she only talked about the matter with him after the audio recording was released over the internet.
”Professor Akindele operated in a position of power and authority over Miss Osagie and as such sexually harassed her.
”Professor Akindele was liable for all the allegations of misconduct levelled against him.’’
The vice chancellor said the Senate recommended that Akindele, having been found liable on all the allegations against him, should be dismissed from the services of the university.
”The Council, at its meeting of today, Wednesday, 20th of June, 2018, having considered the recommendation of Senate, as well as the report of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate, decided that Professor Richard I. Akindele should be dismissed from the services of the university for gross misconduct.
”The university has also taken further steps to ensure the total elimination of Sexual Harassment (SH) in the OAU community.
“The university has a legal duty to prevent sexual and gender-based harassment within the institution and ensure that both men and women are protected from this menace; and thereby provide conducive environment for teaching and learning,’’ he said.
Ogunbodede said in order to create conducive environment for teaching and learning, the university was creating more awareness and disseminating information on what constitutes sexual harassment within the university.
He said the veracity of sexual harassment concepts includes sexual solicitation and advances, sex exploitation, prostitution, seduction, pimping, sexual assault, unwanted touching, vulgar sexual jokes and rape among others.
Ogunbodede said that OAU was fully committed to the eradication of sexual and other types of harassment from the university and would do all that was possible to nip the menace in the bud.
”OAU has zero tolerance for sexual harassment and as a renowned university will do everything humanly possible to maintain the rules and regulations of the university,’’ he said.