By: Sheku Putka Kamara ( LEGENDARY COLUMN )
For days now, the Milton Margai Technical University (MMTU) has been making the news for the wrong or right reasons depending on one’s angle in the discussion. For a start, I will be categorical to note that there should be no place for sexual harassment anywhere, the world over. So, this article is not just about the University settings. I am touching on all sects and let’s hope that we all comprehend this.
In all my years of active Teaching and Lecturing, I have found it extremely difficult to understand why a tutor should use his or office to get undue influence over a pupil or student. That act of callousness and gross professional misconduct gets me sardonic and almost always melancholic. I say this because when issues of this nature show up, there are people that will quickly rush to make conclusions that may have little or no basements. I’d get back to this.
I have not heard from any of the accused Lecturers of MMTU, but going by what Dr. Kanu as VC and P did say, our colleagues needed to have acted better and wiser. The university is a place where we meet for just a while and before you know it, the students we teach would be manning various institutions across and outside the country. Why would you allow humanistic pleasures to destroy the lasting dignity and respect you could earn yourself just if you perform your role rightly and correctly too? The last time I checked, hardly would we have kids in any uni. What’s the big deal? What happened to Effective Communication and strategic decision making? There have been very successful relationships in various institutions. Be it Student/Lecturer or student/student etc as the case may be. Reasonability was needed in all of this. Dr. Kanu is on record to have noted that the Lecturers concerned admitted that they were used by the Devil. Sadly, hardly do people talk for these devils or devil (I do not understand the composition).
Now to the prejudicial societal discussions! A few of my connections have alleged that sexual harassment happens about 90 percent, the world over. Some of them were particular about Sierra Leone. Others say 95 and even 99 percent. Now, my concern is that as high as those percentages could be, I wonder why the rest of the other cases have not made the news and the public agenda. For the records, no student is forced to date a Lecturer. I will categorically note here that this is a choice. It is however Foolish to think that all Lecturers are into this devilish act. Some of us have met relations in various institutions that we today equate to blood relations. With our basic and common salaries in this part of the globe, we still go the extra mile to help in taking care of students we may have only met in the university. You’d understand this if you truly get a taste of this narrative.
I will never defend the acts of colleagues that force things more so when they are totally wrong. Since I was a kid, I have frowned at the idea of sex for grades. Whoever does that lacks the moral uprightness to be a part of any educational setting, but we all should be careful in addressing and discussing this matter. There are also talks about Lecturers that exchange grades for petty cash. How disgusting and shameful? I normally talk about the humanistic duty to self and that of society. We may still have a long way to go.
I was telling a colleague the other day that self discipline matters in all of this. I here also submit that there are educational settings that have allowed some students to attempt to tempt, seduce and even harass their Lecturers. However, to cut this short, the Lecturer needs to man-up and take and make the right decision. Like I’d always say, what is right is right and that which is wrong is wrong.
Maybe these are discussions that will continue, but I’d humbly ask that we all critically look at this issue devoid of biases. I am on record to have noted that there are students that supposedly get university requirements, but clearly have no business in a university setting. Now, I understand that we could have fast, average and weak learners, but for those that exceed weakness and get to that state of hopelessness and those worsening situations, I wonder how we’d refer to same. Without being sexist and or pointing fingers, there are some of such students that clearly understand their positions in the class or the uni as the case may be, and try to get undue advantage. Again, the Lecturer should apply the utilitarian norm by ensuring that he or she goes for the provision of the greatest good for the greatest number.
I’d end on this note. Every University Lecturer must be very careful about his or duty to self and the duty to society. Someway, somehow, we all could have issues, but never must we allow professionalism to depart our ways. To all the students. The university is a place to learn. It has not been declared as a place to get married, but if at all you wish to get a relationship and or whatever related, do so professionally. To me, this should be a YES and NO matter. Stick to that and move on. There are bigger and manifest desires to achieve if you ask me. When you would have graduated, you’d have all the time you need. For now, concentrate. Do not think that one Lecturer will make you come out with a First Class. Impossible! If you studied or are studying what I studied, you’d have over 15 modules to cover for an academic year. So you see? To our people, when we read about and or listen to/view such contents, let’s take a break and try to unearth the accompanying revelations. We may get more details. That said, I’d hold my peace just here😊. Someone had used the line I’m ending with today and I think I like it: “may common sense prevail.” The Amen and Aameen are Sheku Putka Kamara’s!