THE governing council of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has approved the dismissal of Adebayo Mosobalaje over sexual misconduct.
Mosobalaje’s dismissal was contained in a statement by the institution’s Public Relations Officer Abiodun Olarewaju on Tuesday.
According to the statement, the council took the decision after an exhaustive consideration of the joint committee’s report set up by the institution to look into the allegations against the lecturer.
He noted that the decision also demonstrated the institution’s zero tolerance for sexual misconduct of any kind.
“In its avowed determination to rid the University of any form of sexual intimidation, harassment and, or coercion, the Governing Council of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, has dismissed another lecturer who was found guilty of sexual demeanor against a female student.
“Having exhaustively deliberated on the report of the Joint Committee of Council and Senate, which investigated the case of sexual harassment against Mosobalaje, the University Council, unambiguously declared its zero tolerance to sexual harassment in any form or guise and, accordingly, applied the appropriate University sanctions for such an offence as contained in the University regulation.”
Until his dismissal, Mosobalaje was a lecturer in the Department of English language, Faculty of Arts.
The lecturer was accused of breaching the provisions of the university’s Code of Conduct “in the manner he related with a student of the department, Rachel Momoh.”
Momoh had, in 2017, visited the lecturer in his office for further instructions on her final year project work, but the lecturer allegedly requested a date with her.
The conversations were recorded by the student who reportedly submitted them at the university’s gender unit as evidence of the allegation of sexual harassment and misconduct.
An investigative panel was set up by the institution’s Vice-Chancellor Eyitope Ogunbodede to probe the allegations in 2018.
In a testimony to the committee that was set up to probe the matter, the university’s Chief Law Officer Yinka Ayantola said the lecturer related with the student in a manner inconsistent with his statutory role.
“Asking a student on a date by her supervisor was an outright breach of the Code of Conduct for University Community; and the conversation between Dr Mosobalaje and Miss Momoh had sexual connotations and pressure,” Premium Times quoted him to have said.
“The audio recording of Dr Mosobalaje pressurising Miss Momoh did take place as admitted by Dr Mosobalaje himself. Dr Mosobalaje got Miss Momoh alone in his office by sending her to buy food for him; Dr Mosobalaje had ‘power over’ Miss Momoh at that particular time.
“The recorded conversation where Dr Mosobalaje stated that ‘I can’t rape you’ showed that the situation had sexual undertones which implied that if Miss Momoh did not succumb to his sexual advances, it may affect her project.”
But Mosobalaje had told the committee that he wanted to marry the lady, a statement the chief law officer described as an afterthought.
Attempts to circumvent justice and provide a soft landing for the embattled lecturer by the institution’s joint Senate and council committee met a brick wall due to the quick intervention of the council, which is the highest decision making body in the institution.
The Senate had recommended that the lecturer be issued a warning letter, and forfeiture of cumulation of half of his salaries, including denying him of promotion for two years.
It also recommended that he should not be allowed to hold any management position on the campus for the next five years.