The Governing Council of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, has dismissed Prof. Richard Akindele, who was accused of demanding sex to upgrade the mark of a female postgraduate student, Monica Osagie.
Osagie was a postgraduate student in the Department of Management and Accounting and was said to have completed her programme in 2018.
The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, announced the verdict of the council at a press conference at the university on Wednesday.
The council, led by its Chairman, Dr. Yemi Ogunbiyi, had held a meeting earlier in the day and approved the sacking of the professor.
The Senate of the university had on June 14 claimed it had established that the prof had an inappropriate relationship with the student and compromised his position as a teacher and an examiner by demanding to have sex with the student to upgrade her scores.
The vice-chancellor said the Senate, as well as the Governing Council, found the lecturer liable of all the allegations levelled against him and subsequently ordered his sacking.
Ogunbodede said, “Professor Akindele had an inappropriate relationship with his student, Miss Osagie. This was established through their conversation in an audio recording; his reply to the query; oral evidence and the printed WhatsApp conversation 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 conversation with Miss Osagie was about examination scores and inducement of favour for the alteration of examination scores.
“He offered to change Miss Osagie’s purported 33 per cent result to a pass mark in consideration for sexual favours; this was established in the audio recording which he admitted.”
He stated that the prof’s claim that Miss Osagie knew she had passed with a score of 45 but was seeking to score an A, which led to him being sexually harassed by Miss Osagie was not supported by any evidence.
He added, “Professor Akindele’s action 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 operated in a position of power and authority over Miss Osagie and as such sexually harassed her. Professor Akindele was liable for all the allegations of misconduct levelled against him.”
He concluded, “Accordingly, the Senate recommends that Professor Richard Akindele, having been found liable on all allegations against him, should be dismissed from the services of the university.
“The council, at its meeting of today, Wednesday, 20th of June, 2018, having considered the recommendation of the 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.”
Asked if the university would press for the prosecution of Akindele, the vice-chancellor said the university had meted out the maximum penalty to the lecturer and as such was not considering prosecution because it was not within its power to prosecute.
Ogunbodede said the OAU had a zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and would not even think of covering up such behaviour.
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