Conceivably, for the thrill on the campus, marriage, money, grades, or genuine love, sexual relationships blossom between university lecturers and their students for many reasons, TUNDE OGUNTOLA reports
Dating for sexual relationship, love romance and sex for grade exchange between lecturers and students has become a threatening phenomenon in higher institutions in the country. The menace has no doubt ingloriously become a powerful weapon in the hands of the oppressor and the oppressed.
A quick Google search of “sex for grade or dating lecturers” brings up millions of results. And it’s no astonishment for as long as there are people in power as lecturers there are those attracted to them willingly. While dating lecturers dating female students or viz a vis is incontestably not a smart move in the citadel of learning, only a few are likely to be efficacious and end in marital bliss.
Statistics show that some female students date their lecturer for financial gains while others do so because they are simply adolescents and they want to probably explore their environment or lack of maturity to decide what is right or good for them. It is not an exaggeration to say that lecturers and student’s relationships in Nigerian higher institutions require serious attention if students are to improve their learning process, intellectual change and contribute to societal development as the negative perception of teachers by the majority of students cannot promote a positive relationship.
It is also not uncommon to see students engaging in social vices at the expense of their study which does not commensurate to a positive relationship between teachers as such students show lack of commitment which in turn has led to the lecturer’s exploitation of students.
A student, Fatima (surname withheld), claimed that it is not always love that drives students to date their lecturers, but fear of negative consequences if they reject their advances.
Fatima noted that she was compelled to have an affair with her lecturer after been failed twice by the lecturer. She said some of her course mates had completed their National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme before she finally graduated.
A fashion designer, Chidinma Martins, noted that she was proud to date her lecturer while on campus but would “keep it secret because my classmates will know how I pass coursework”.
A businesswoman, Adejumoke Salau noted that she fell in love with her lecturer, and that act made her stop missing classes, especially her crush lecturer’s class but she never learned anything because she was busy admiring him.
‘’My GNS lecturer in the university was very sexy. He was athletically built, dark and had good diction. In fact, I didn’t miss his classes but I was not paying attention to them either. I was so distracted by his physical look that I never gained anything from attending classes,’’ said Adejumoke.
Matters Of Sexual Harassment Are Internal Problem – Education Ministry
The deputy director, Press and Public Relation of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Bem Goong, who stated this while speaking to LEADERSHIP Weekend said that the schools had governing councils that took care of the issues.
He added that “the governing councils of the schools handle any case that arises in their schools. The schools have regulations governing them. The ministry will only come in when it is beyond the school and I don’t think that has happened at any time.”
Students In Higher Institution Can Manage Their Affair – Psychologist
But while responding to LEADERSHIP Weekend inquiry, a female lecturer who is a Guidance Psychologist in the Department of Psychology, Guidance and Counselling at the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta. Ogun state, Dr. Adeniji Emily Oluyemisi, said that students in tertiary institutions are adults and can manage their affair with anybody, adding that the students in the higher institutions are mature to make decisions, but they are to be guided by their lecturers (loco parentis).
According to her, ‘’I meant been married. Dating should be voluntary. We have seen on different occasions when young lecturers get married to these students, I meant the serious-minded among them and they are happily married till date.
‘’However, every profession has guiding principles, ethics and lecturing is not an exception. Both academic and non-academic staff have professional ethics and the same peculiarities in tertiary institutions.’’
On whether there is a line between dating, sexual harassment and sex-for-marks, she said dating is not the same as harassment and sex for marks.
“I mentioned it earlier dating is voluntary and mutual agreement between both parties. Lecturer and students. A situation where a lecturer is threatening the female students to give him her body for marks, and such students perform excellently in their academics’ performance it will be tagged sex for marks.
“When there’s no agreement between them the whole world will hear about it and tagged sexual harassment. Some female students also harass male lecturers in their offices through their provocative dresses,’’ she said.
On how to distinguish between dating and ‘sex for marks’, she said dating goes far beyond just friendship as it is a social event for lovers to express their love in a mutual agreement and respect for each other.
“While lecturers attach the success or good grades to sex; thereby these female students are compelled to have sex with them. This is an unethical and punishable offence to the lecturer concerned. Female students in tertiary institutions need to have self-confidence and believe that they can do well without offering sex for grades,’’ she said.
“As a female lecturer, I can never date any man or male students, irrespective of their age and financial status,’’ she said, adding that dating ‘’my students is unethical’’.
“We have seen a situation where male students wanted to date female lecturers. So, male students at times harass female leaders but very few unlike the other way around,’’ she added.
Lecturer/Student Relationship Does Not Amount To Sexual Harassment – UNIABUJA ASUU Chair
The ASUU chairman, UNIABUJA Chapter, Dr Kasim Umar, noted that “The issue of having a relationship with a student or student having a relationship with a lecturer does not amount to sexual harassment.”
According to him, “Our advice as a responsible union has always been that people have to be upright in what they do. The union has never for one day supported unethical issues and has been in the vanguard in fighting all these unethical issues in the universities. So, any day any time our colleagues are being warned, we condemned the act and any individual that engages himself in this altitude shall face the law.
“As a lecturer, you have so many challenges of female undergraduates sending you friend requests on social media but no matter what a lecturer should surmount the temptations. Most of these cases cannot be term as sexual harassment but an act of immorality as related to female students but as a union, we will never support any act of immorality in the university.”
“There are relationships that ought to be professional not relating to you asking sex for marks or sex for grade.
“Yes, there is a code of conduct guiding the relationship between lecturers and students. There is a relationship that ought to be professional not relating to you asking sex for marks or sex for grades. There is no code of conduct that accepts that in any university globally, not even in Nigeria.
“Students have the right to interact with a lecturer base on the fact that legally you have access to that lecturer since he or she has taken you a course so you have a legal right to access the person if you have any grievance or you feel like there is need to contact him. So, in that case, a student can have that relationship with a lecturer as it is.’’
“A lecturer can date a student. Most lecturers have gotten married to students but where it becomes an issue is when a lecturer threatens a student to fall for him. Most lecturers have married students, even in different departments if you go around and research most lecturers have gotten married to students.
“Most of the university lecturers are bachelors and an Institution is somewhere you meet people and if you find someone comfortable for marriage you talk to the person that I find you comfortable and I want to marry you. It is not against the ethics when you go towards that line but when you push towards the fact of like, I will fail you because you refuse to give me sex it becomes a crime. So it is not against the ethics, what is against the ethics is when you intend to use your position to exploit students like sex for grade, sex for marks and all those things are against the ethics but you can get married to a student based on reasonable dialogue but you cannot impose a forceful relationship on the student, that is against the ethics, not even university of Abuja but globally.”
We Have Well-Established Code Of Conduct Guiding Lecturer/Student Relationship – AUN
The vice president, University Relations, American University of Nigeria (AUN), Dr Abubakar Abba Tahir, who said this while speaking with LEADERSHIP Weekend said any breach of this code attracts appropriate sanctions on erring faculty, without any fear or favour regardless of the ranking or popularity of the faculty member.
“In the light of the existence of this well-known code, AUN operates a zero-tolerance policy to its breach. Faculties are aware of this and they have remarkable respect and adherence to the policy. Students who feel offended by any teaching faculty can file a complaint and an independent committee of professors and other critical university personnel will be formed immediately to investigate such complaint.
“The AUN code of ethics guiding academic staff does not allow teaching faculty to marry their students. This can only happen when such student or students graduate from the university. That is when they leave the shores of the university and begin to live independent lives that are disconnected from the official umbrella of the university,’’ he said.
He added that the central element of AUN’s corporate institutional slogan is ‘integrity’ which means that the university strives to stay above board in all its activities, operations, services and engagements at all times.
A lecturer at the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) who doubles as a national coordinator, Sofadondo (an NGO advocating for stiffer measure against exchange of marks for sex in the Cross River State) Dr. Hannah Ettah, when asked if there was an ethics/ guidelines regarding the issue of sex for grade in the institution, said: “we are supposed to have laws in the country regarding the social malaise.”
“What we are saying is that sex for marks is another form of corruption. We called for legislation that will give the opportunity to law enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute lecturers found wanting.
She said that it is by so doing that lecturers planning to follow the same line can be deterred from doing so.
Ettah who spoke through the organization’s national public relations officer, Linda Ellah, advocates for a jail term for lecturers erring lecturers.
On the line between dating/relationship, she said,” Lecturers know that having sex or dating a female student who he teaches is a criminal offence which cannot be tolerated.
“The line is so thin, as lecturers, they ought to conduct themselves professionally. As mentors/guardians, they are not supposed to sleep with their students who they are mentoring.
“Even though we have situations where such relationship results in marriage, of course, it is not supposed to start when a teacher is still lecturing a student.
She said that anyone who toes that line should be ready to face whatever consequence that follows with the action adding that the institution of higher learning has not unnecessarily faced problems bordering on the relationship but sexual harassment.
Ellah wondered why lecturers would have to stoop so low, and got their reputation lowered just because they want to sleep with a female student for marks.
“Whoever toe the line of lowering his reputation to have a relationship with his students should be able to be on the same page with female students otherwise he shouldn’t have any business to do with the student.
When asked if assuming she was a male lecturer, she can fall in love with a female student, Linda said, “Unless the love just grows and we move on and live our life.’’
“There are lecturers who are married to students and they are move on. No issue came out of it. That is why I am saying that whoever toes, should ensure that both of them are on the same page rather than using his authority or position to intimidate the female student against the consent of the girl to make her succumbed.
However, the public relations officer of the Cross River University of Technology CRUTECH, Onen Onene, said that sexual harassment which has become an issue of concern is one social evil that the institution is warming up to curb.
In my own opinion, “I do not think it is good for anyone to exchange marks for sex.
Onene who said that whatever he is saying is his personal opinion stated that sexual harassment in schools goes a long way to manifest the high level of moral decadence in our society today stressing that people should do all that is necessary to ensure that they impact high level of morals upon their wards so that good morals could remain with the kids whenever they grow up.
“I think this goes a long way to show how morally bankrupt our society is today,’’ he said.
Onene maintained that as individuals who had grown up with good moral backings people have no need to exhibit bad characters irrespective of where they find themselves.
Bassey, “People do not need to fear the law before behaving well with regards to making sure that academic standard is not compromised.
‘’Must he marry in the school that he teaches, aren’t their ladies out they for him to marry rubbish! In short, that would amount to child abuse especially these days that we have underage girls in school. It is a punishable offence,’’ he added.