I was too shocked to speak when I first saw the thriller. I thought my eyes were deceiving me but they weren’t. With “Sex for grades” (the heading) ringing in my head, I feared the worst was in the offing for my lecturer, Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor, and Prof. Gyampo.
Just like my compatriots, I eagerly awaited the full BBC documentary to air at 6:45pm that fateful Monday. I was virtually on the edge of my seat as I watched the close to an hour documentary. You can only imagine my relief when the video ended with no proof of ‘sex for grades’.
I was relieved because Dr. Butakor is someone I know and admire. He was my Quantitative Research Methods lecturer during my days as a masters' student at the University of Ghana. He is not only a good teacher, but also very affable in nature. Not so proficient in the Hausa language, he always took the opportunity to learn a word or two whenever we met. The last time we spoke, he encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming a PhD holder so I could join him and other lecturers at the Faculty of Education.
So you see; I cannot be blamed for having a soft spot for such a gentleman. But trust me when I say my association with Dr Butakor and feelings for him will not cloud my judgment on the BBC documentary.
That Dr Butakor and Prof Gyampo were caught on camera in a misconduct of a sort is something no one can deny. But did we see any demand for sex in exchange for grades? No, we didn’t. Wherein, therefore, lies the justification for such a heading?
Obviously, the reason is to mislead the viewing public, attract traffic or for pure mischief. Otherwise, a credible outfit like the BBC wouldn’t have used such a misleading title for a documentary that has proved nothing in that regard.
It is thus gratifying to hear the likes of Manasseh Azure Awuni punching holes in the 'shambolically' produced documentary. But is the BBC documentary any worse than his “Militias in the heart of the city”? This is a classic case of removing the speck in another’s eye and leaving the beam in one’s own eye!
I’m not a sexual predator, have never been and would never be. But my honest opinion is that the sexual harassment argument is being overstretched. If we are to go by the Western definition of sexual harassment, then I wonder how many of us can pass the integrity test.
Sexual harassment is defined as “behaviour characterized by the making of unwelcomed and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other professional and social situations.”
The question is when does a remark become inappropriate and who determines that? Also, “unwelcomed and inappropriate sexual remarks” without the adjective “persistent” may lead to a genuine expression of interest in the opposite sex being misconstrued as sexual harassment. And that is my fear!
I’ve read and heard numerous comments from my compatriots since the airing of the BBC documentary and I’m appalled at the hypocrisy on display. The holier-than-thou attitude exhibited is nauseating, to say the least. Indeed, only the Bearded Old Man above knows the dangling skeletons in their cupboard.
Be that as it may, the university authorities must be commended for the swift response by interdicting the duo. It’s my hope that the matter will be dealt with fairly and expeditiously. The call for others to report any previous sexual harassment by the duo to the committee is also in order. But let’s not ignore the fact that a frustrated student may take the opportunity to settle old scores by fabricating sexual harassment stories. The case of Vice Chancellor Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu and Ms. Anita Pizziconi easily comes to mind.
It is an open secret that the relationship between some lecturers and some students can be likened to that of the anthill and the ‘kagya’ tree. The anthill gives nutrients to the tree on its top and the ‘kagya’ tree in turn gives the anthill shade. Whether that is ethical is a discussion for another day.
For now, it is our lecturers who are on the front burner. My unsolicited advice to them is to try and resist the temptations from the seductive daughters of Eve and their flirtatious advances. If possible, they should also try to expose the seductresses on campus to make a strong case for the lecturers, too.
As for the BBC documentary, it has failed woefully to prove the case of ‘sex for grades’. But it has proved two things: That a man’s foolishness lies at the source of his pleasure; and the best time to catch a fowl is when it is pecking corn. I hope all ‘big men’ would learn these two lessons and not develop the dead-goat syndrome!
See you next week for another interesting konkonsa, Deo volente!