University students protest against alleged sexual harassment by dean of faculty

Female students in the Faculty of Law, University of Calabar, on Monday held a peaceful rally within the university campus to protest against the Dean of the faculty, Prof Cyril Ndifon, whom they accused of sexual harassment.

Penpushing reports that a handful of the female students were sighted in a video clip of the protest posted on Twitter which showed them chanting protest songs in front of an administrative building inside the university.

The protesters displayed various placards with inscriptions such as “Prof Andifon, let the girls with big breasts breathe’. ‘Stop suffocating us’, while few male counterparts of the protesting female undergraduate took part in the protest

Penpushing further reports that the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Prof Florence Obi, however, while addressing the protesters assured them that their complaints would be looked into by the authority

The Vice Chancellor said the alleged university don would be investigated by the university, adding that the students would be required to provide evidence to back up their complaints, stressing that when we talk about sexual harassment, there is need for more accusation

Penpushing also reports that Obi stated that the students on Thursday filed an official complaint to her and that a few of the students’ representatives met with her before the protest rally, however, after the Monday protest, she met for about five hours with the faculty of law management to discuss the development.

“When you are talking about sexual harassment, you need more than accusation. A committee has already been set up to handle some other issues raised by the students’, the Vice Chancellor stated.

Penpushing reports that it is recalled that Andifon was previously suspended by the school authority in 2015 after he was accused of raping a 20-year-old law student in his office, an allegation he challenged in court.

The alleged Professor in his reaction on the protest against him said it was stage-managed by the President of the Law Students Association of the University, Ben Otu, whom he said was merely a pun in some power game in the law faculty.

Penpushing further reports that Ndifon declared that it was only 100 level students who were involved in the protest adding that the students were lured out on the pretext that they were going for a lecture.

“Some lecturers are the real people behind this. He (LAWSAN president) removed the placards and gave to some of the students to carry. Some of the students ran away. How come it was only the year one students who protested, year one students that I have never taught? Where are the year two students, year three, year four, and year five students?”, he said

‘Ask the lecturers who are behind these things. I won an election. You should ask them if this man is that bad and unpopular, how come he won an election as dean with a landslide for first and second term?” the professor said.

Penpushing also reports that the Dean of the faculty, denied the sexual harassment allegation, arguing that he hardly knows the year one students in the faculty since he does not handle any of their courses.

‘What have I done wrong? They say I run the faculty as an emperor. That is what I have done wrong. At the end of the day, after all the noise, my guilt was that I tore a student’s (examination) script and gave her the opportunity to rewrite’, he emphasized.

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