Two senior lecturers of the University of Ghana who faced disciplinary action over the sex for grade scandal say they accept the punitive measures taken by the University although they believe it is too harsh.
Prof. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Butakor were slapped with six months and four months suspension without pay, respectively, by the University of Ghana following the completion of a hearing of the matter.
The two are additionally expected to be trained on the University’s sexual misconduct policy after which they will resume their posts based on a “positive assessment”.
They will also be subjected to an annual assessment for a five year period as part of the University’s decision which took effect on January 1, 2020.
Statement from lawyers
But a statement issued by lawyers of the lecturers, F-X Law & Associates said, “we find the decision to be a little too harsh and the university’s communiqué as misleading. However, our clients accept the said decision and would respect it. Our clients have made it clear to us that as senior members of the University, they do not want to further litigate this matter in court or have a protracted dispute over the issue.”
They said the BBC did “showed gross disrespect” to Prof. Butakor and Prof. Gyampo by not availing themselves to be cross-examined during the University’s administrative proceedings on the matter, insisting that the disciplinary measures taken against the two lecturers do not indicate their guilt in the matter.
“The statement by the University creates a lot of doubts in the minds of people and to make it succinctly clear, Prof. Gyampo and Dr. Butakor were not found guilty of sexual misconduct or sex for grades as was initially alleged by the BBC,” the lawyers said.
He also said it would be advisable for every lecturer of the University of Ghana to undergo proper training on the institution’s sexual harassment and misconduct policy to help the academic staff differentiate between acceptable and improper behaviours on campus.
The BBC aired an exposé on the alleged sexual misconduct at the University of Ghana and University of Lagos, where the two University of Ghana lecturers were captured in the documentary and later interdicted.
Although the lecturers in question denied the allegations levelled against them, pressure mounted on the University to take a conclusive stance to show its commitment to dealing with the issue of sexual misconduct.
Whilst some groups wanted the two to be disciplined, others argued that the content of the documentary is not credible enough to implicate the lecturers.
Findings of fact-finding committee
The committee set up to investigate the two indicted lecturers established a prima facie case against the embattled faculty members.
In its report, the committee recommended that the matter should be brought before the University of Ghana’s Disciplinary committee for further actions.
The committee which was chaired by Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo noted that the two lecturers based on initial evidence gathered misconducted themselves in breach of the University of Ghana’s statutes which stipulate that Academic staff are expected to comport themselves in ways that will enhance the image of the University.
The committee also found out that the two embattled lecturers also breached Statute 42(1)( e )(ii) which states that “no member of the University shall engage in a course of vexatious conduct that is directed at one or more specific individuals, and that is known to be unwelcome.”
Read the full statement below:
RE: DISCIPLINARY ACTION IN RESPECT OF PROF RANSFORD GYAMPO AND DR PAUL BUTAKOR.
We write for and on behalf of Prof Gyampo and Dr. Butakor to accept the decision of the University to suspend them for six and four months respectively.
Given the background of this case and the fact that our Clients have consistently denied the origin of the action and have raised fundamental issues of natural justice among many others, we are of the firm view that the decision is quite harsh.
The statement by the University creates a lot of doubts in the minds of people and to make it succinctly clear, Prof. Gyampo and Dr. Butakor were not found guilty of Sexual Misconduct or Sex for grades as was initially alleged by the BBC.
It is disappointing that the BBC showed gross disrespect to our Clients and the University by refusing to make themselves available to be cross-examined in the whole process thereby undermining the integrity of the entire administrative proceedings. It is also unfortunate, that the University’s release did not make it clear that the allegations of BBC were false and had no basis.
Additionally, given the fact that our Clients were not found guilty of any sexual misconduct contrary to the anti-sexual harassment and misconduct policy of the University, we find it strange that they are required to be subjected not only to training but also to an annual assessment for 5 years in this regard. It is for this reason that we find the decision to be a little too harsh and the university’s communiqué as misleading.
However, our Clients accept the said decision and would respect it. Our Clients have made it clear to us that as senior members of the University, they do not want to further litigate this matter in court or have a protracted dispute over the issue.
Our Clients remain assets to the University and desire to put this matter behind them in the collective interest of the entire University Community. Indeed, they have learnt useful lessons that will guide their future conducts in the university.
We hold the instructions of our Clients that they desire to bring finality to this matter in order for the University and our clients re-focus fully on their core mandate in academia.