The Governing Council of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife has dismissed Prof Richard Akindele for sexually harassing Ms Monica Osagie, a student of the university.
The Council announced his dismissal at its meeting yesterday following the recommendation of the university Senate on June 20, 2018.
The Senate had considered the report of the committee set up to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct and established that Osagie was truly sexually harassed by Akindele.
In its report to the Council, the Senate noted that:
“Professor Akindele had an inappropriate relationship with his student Miss Osagie. 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.
“He had acted in a manner that is seen to have compromised his position as a teacher and examiner, in that, his conversations with Miss Osagie were about examination scores and inducement of favour for the alteration of examination scores.
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.
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Eyitope 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.
The Senate therefore found him “liable for all the allegations of misconduct levelled against him” and recommended his dismissal.
To check sexual harassment in the university, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, said the institution had strengthened its Sexual Harassment policy which was approved since 2013 and was developing a whistleblowing policy to encourage students and members of staff to report cases.
” 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.
Miss Monica Osagie, the alleged victim in the sex-for-marks scandal, had told the investigative panel that Prof. Richard Akindele allegedly failed her because she refused his sexual demand.
She said she did not score 33 per cent as the lecturer claimed, alleging that he failed her so that she could accede to his sexual request.
According to her lawyer, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, Monica gave evidence at the panel .
Monica, a Master’s student, released a recorded phone conversation, which went viral, in which the lecturer, identified as Akindele, demanded five rounds of sex to increase her marks.
The committee, which held its session at the Pro-Chancellor’s Lodge, admitted only Monica and her lawyer.