University sacks lecturer indicted in sex scandal

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The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, have sacked a senior lecturer at the Department of English, Adebayo Mosobalaje, for allegedly sexually harassing a former student of the institution.

The university announced the lecturer’s dismissal through a statement issued on Tuesday afternoon by its public relations officer, Abiodun Olarewaju.

The statement reads in part, “In its avowed determination to rid the university of any form of sexual intimidation, harassment and, or coercion, the Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has dismissed another lecturer who was found guilty of sexual demeanor against a female student.”

The statement added that the “decision to dismiss Dr Adebayo Mosobalaje of the Department of English Language in the Faculty of Arts, was taken by the University Council at its last sitting that was held on Monday and Tuesday, September 6 and 7, 2021.”

“Having exhaustively deliberated on the report of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate, which investigated the case of sexual harassment against Dr Mosobalaje, the University Council, unambiguously declared its zero tolerance for sexual harassment in any form or guise and, accordingly, applied the appropriate university sanctions for such an offence as contained in the university regulation,” the statement added.

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Facing the consequence of misconduct understands that the lecturer was specifically accused of breaching the provisions of the university’s Code of Conduct “in the manner he related with a student of the department, Rachel Momoh.”

A verdict passed by the university’s joint committee of council and senate noted that “in the process of its deliberations, the Committee FOUND Dr Mosobalaje culpable and was deserving of the highest punishment of dismissal.”

But in its recommendations, many feel the committee was lenient with the lecturer as his punishment included a warning letter, and forfeiture of cumulation of half of his salaries which have been continued to be held by the university since he was suspended.

The committee also said he should not be allowed to hold any management position on the campus for the next five years.

Also, he will not be promoted for two years.

These recommendations, which formed a subject of debate at the Senate meeting of the university three weeks ago, led to a division among members in attendance.

While some endorsed the recommendations, others queried the reasons behind the committee’s alleged inconsistency.

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They asked why the committee allegedly ‘bent the rule’ when it already concluded that Mr Mosobalaje’s culpability “was deserving of the highest punishment of dismissal.”

In exercising its power as the supreme organ of the university, the university’s governing council under the chairmanship of businessman, Oscar Udoji, overruled the senate and opted for what many described as the deserving punishment for the lecturer.

Zero tolerance to sexual harassement

The university was in global news over sexual harassement scandal involving one of its professors, Richard Akindele.

It had claimed to have since then strengthened its stance against any form of sexual abuse.

Recently, OAU launched an anti-sexual harassment policy with the wives of the governors of Osun and Ekiti States, Kafayat Oyetola and Bisi Fayemi respectively in attendance.

A member of the university’s joint committee of the council and the senate which indicted Mr Mosobalaje in its report, Oluyemisi Obilade, was the keynote speaker at the event.

Mr Olanrewaju maintained that the university would not hesitate to wield the big stick whenever anyone flouts its laid-down rules and regulations.

“At several fora, the Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, has reiterated the commitment of his administration to uphold the “Zero tolerance policy” for Sexual harassment and other social vices.

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The Council of University Chaired by Mr Udoji has also pledged to support policies that promote mutual co-existence among all the members of the university community,” Olarewaju said in his statement.

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