Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ghanaian University suspends sex-for-grades professor

Two University of Ghana lecturers who featured last year in a BBC sex-for-grades documentary on sexual misconduct have temporarily suspended and ordered to undergo “appropriate” training on sexual harassment and misconduct, according to a statement issued by the university.

The University suspended Prof. Ransford Gyampo for six months and Dr. Paul Butakor for four months for their involvements in the sex-for-grades saga.

In a statement, the university said after the completion of the work by the Senior Members’ Disciplinary Committee, it “recommended a six-month suspension without pay for Ransford Gyampo and a four-month suspension without pay for Paul Butakor”, which it said was “in line with statute 46(2) of the University of Ghana Statutes, as amended, and regulation 15.0 of the Code of Conduct for Academic Staff of the University of Ghana”.

The suspensions take effect from 1 January 2020.

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Consequently, Ransford Gyampo and Paul Butakor are required to “undergo appropriate training on the University of Ghana’s Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy as well as the Code of Conduct for Academic Staff of the University of Ghana”.

The release said they are required to receive a positive assessment after training and before the resumption of their duties. They are equally required to undergo an annual assessment for a period of five years.

A fact-finding committee chaired by Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo, a retired Supreme Court judge, investigated allegations of misconduct against Gyampo and Butakor following the broadcast of the documentary entitled “Sex for Grades: Undercover in West African universities”.

The committee found evidence that the lecturers had contravened the relevant provisions on misconduct in the University of Ghana Statutes and the Code of Conduct for Academic Senior Members and recommended that the case be referred to the Disciplinary Committee for Senior Members.

The university assured students, faculty, staff, other stakeholders and the public of its commitment to eradicating acts of misconduct, sexual harassment or any other form of harassment, and that it would not tolerate such acts among students and employees of the university.

Gyampo, head of European Studies, had claimed that the documentary was “bogus and [an] attempt by some people to bring me down” after he was filmed telling an undercover reporter that he will marry her. He then asks her what school she went to. After she responds, he says: “There is a rumour that the students of that school like penis.”

Butakor, a lecturer in the College of Education, also denied any wrongdoing. He was filmed asking an undercover journalist if he could become her “side guy”, adding that “a side will see how best to contribute to your career”.

Some believe the punishment meted out to the lecturers was too lenient while some others believed the suspensions were enough to deter others from misbehaving in the future.

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