Sexual assault: OAU vows to sanction accused Professor

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The management of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, Osun State, says the Professor of Yoruba Incantations and Stylistics at the African Language Department, Joseph Opefeyitimi, won’t evade appropriate sanction over the alleged sexual assault on a female student of the institution, Boluwatife Babafemi.

Babafemi had accused Prof. Opefeyitimi of sexually molesting her during a visit to the lecturer’s office on March 18, 2022.

Responding to the allegation, the lecturer, who said Babafemi was his wife-to-be, noted that all that happened in his office was consensual.

However, the OAU management, while reacting to the incident via a statement issued by the university’s Public Relations Officer, Abiodun Olarewaju, said the student petitioned the school management three days after the incident occurred.

Olarewaju, in a statement titled, ‘Sex Scandal: OAU Not Foot-dragging’, noted that thorough investigation revealed that Prof. Opefeyitimi was found prima facie liable.

The OAU spokesperson stated that the committee which investigated the incident recommended appropriate disciplinary actions against Opefeyitimi to the university management.

He stated: “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.”

Olarewaju further assured 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.

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