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Opinion: Taming The Professor Akindele In Us By Semiu Ayobami Akanmu

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Prof Richard Akindele

To start with, under no condition or circumstance (I mean all those
excuses of provocative dressings, students initiating the demand, from
jejune to insane) can a student be blamed for this prevalent
sex-for-mark practice in our universities. The blame is exclusively the
teachers’. Absolutely. Student versus Lecturer is not “two-fighting”.
They are of disproportionate strength, training and moral benchmark. If
a supposed guide falls, s/he has simply shown s/he is not worthy of his
or her call. 

Since we are humans, the propensity to “explore”
is constant, and this is why we should tame the Prof. Akindele in us
– before it shames us, and possibly our family. I will tell few stories
to narrativise my points.

It happened that a colleague, single
and searching (I teach in a university, by the way) asked one of his
students out. The student went to the Dean of Students’ Affairs to lodge
a complaint bordering on sexual harassment, and it became a debatable
issue in the faculty. It was open for debate because it was clear that
there was no coercion. A single guy sees a potential wife, and asks for a
date. But I raised an objection and argued for the need to prohibit
that practice, and include it as infraction in the University brief. 

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My reason is simple: such act, though in itself is harmless, is capable
of opening doors to harms of huge sizes. If Lecturers are allowed to
date students, since the married can also argue for the need to expand
their fortress, it will lead to abuses. Conflict of interest will
certainly emerge, and with our penchant for nepotism, lecturers might be
emotionally attached to favour, not necessarily and/or only their
student girlfriends, but also their colleagues’ girlfriend. In other
words, prohibiting lecturer-student romance relationship is taming the
Prof. Akindele in us.

There’s another colleague who came to me,
on personal relationship ground, seeking my opinion, about what he
called “monitoring spirit”. He holds tutorial for certain female
students in his office in hours like 5, 6, 7pm. It is NOT only one
student at any point in time. He is workaholic and believes in giving
his best – even at personal inconveniences. The monitoring spirits are
self-appointed system sanitizers who were inquiring from the students if
romance chats moves have not been sliding into the obvious closer
lecturer-student relationship. 

I told the colleague to stop that
personal tutorial, irrespective of the time and the number of
participating students, immediately. I told him circumstantial evidence
could work against him. I told him he should be strictly professional in
his dealings. Tutorial should be for all members of the class in a
classroom. And under no condition should he allow student(s) to his
office after the closing hour. This is note to self. I am not a
puritan, I am simply taming the Prof. Akindele in me. 

There
are many who have no business in this knowledge cultivation industry.
Persons of no or low self-discipline are one. They must be booted out! 

Semiu Akanmu, a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Sciences of a Nigeria university, writes from Ibadan.

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