The Academic Staff Union of Universities has said its ethics committee in every public university always warns lecturers to protect students rather than molest them.
The union stated that where cases of sexual harassment were established against its members, it would not protect such persons since it had repeatedly issued warnings on the matter.
The National President, ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this on Thursday in an interview with one of our correspondents, adding that it was, however, necessary to give to lecturers and students fair hearing concerning allegations of sexual harassment.
Two senior lecturers of the University of Lagos have been suspended for sexually harassing British Broadcasting Corporation undercover reporters, who pretended to be in need of favours from the dons.
Reacting to the development, Ogunyemi, said, “Where cases of sexual harassment are established against our members, the union does not protect anyone. We constantly warn our members and we tell them that they have to protect the students and not harass them.
“Accusations or allegations of sexual harassment are not new and we have taken steps to curb the incidence. Our union has an ethics committee.
“The ethics committee in every branch has for a long time been sensitising our colleagues and students. We accept that lecturers are parent substitutes and owe the students a responsibility to protect them.
“We recognise that lecturers can harass the students rightly or wrongly.
Again, our members are part of the universities’ larger disciplinary committees and we use those structures to discipline errant members. When these things happen, we don’t condone them. But we also give room for fair hearing because as students are making allegations against lecturers, lecturers too are making allegations against the students.
“So, members of the public must listen to our members and give them fair hearing too.”