The management of Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, has come up with measures aimed at ending sexual harassment among its staff and students.
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof Sunday Owolabi, made this known in a meeting with journalists on the sidelines of the maiden Proprietors, Principals and Other Stakeholders Conference recently held in Abuja.
Owolabi described the measures as including regular communication with the students and the enactment of a law prohibiting female students from visiting lecturers beyond 5pm in the evening.
The DVC said that although the university had expelled a female undergraduate who was involved in a recent sex scandal that trended online, it might welcome her if she “chooses to come back in the future.”
He added, “Let me correct one thing. Sexual harassment is decreasing, not increasing. Babcock University has been able to curtail it because we communicate regularly with our students. If anything happens, we would have handled it before it gets to the point where students report it.
“Babcock University has a lot of control measures. Most of our classrooms are glass buildings. The offices are partitioned with glass, not blocks. So you cannot be rough-handling any girl in your office without the person in the next office seeing you. Those are control measures.
“We have made a law that prohibits students from visiting lecturers beyond five o’clock in the evening. Students have the telephone numbers of many security officers in the university. There are more than 50 phone numbers at their disposal, which they can call, text and be assured that they are going to be protected.
“If it is an issue that is not beyond caution, we caution immediately. If the issue requires the attention of the disciplinary committee, we shall send the person there. We have had issues with sexual harassment in the past, but we were able to handle them before they got out of hand.
“Our students have the freedom to talk to us at the administrative level at any time. All the students in Babcock have the Vice-Chancellor’s phone number. They have mine, too. They also have access to presiding officers, women counselors, even the hostel caretakers. So they should be encouraged to speak up, if sexually harassed, before it gets to the level of result manipulation and the rest.”