such a slender grasp of grammar” - Rusell Brand
HABA! BBC African Eye? Sex for grade? Ye gods! All is déjà vu (we have seen it before). We disgraced the judges and thereby destroyed the Judiciary; we dented the sports administration – through subterfuge – and people do not want us to call it entrapment; they would rather celebrate the eavesdroppers, the fiends, and the peeping toms.
We have 10 Commandments; but there is the eleventh commandment which says: “Thou shall not get caught” and people are condemning the ones who have been caught because theirs have not been exposed. As a corollary, the Jewish tradition has 613 commandments, comprising 248 “positive commandments” and 365 “negative commandments”. But Rabbi Emil Ludwig Fackenheim posits that there is the 614th Commandment which is: “Thou shall not hand Hitler posthumous victories. To the despair of the God of Israel, would be to do Hitler's work for him; and which Israeli would ever think of doing “Hitler's work for him?”
Growing up, at school, we heard some teachers argue: “Hena na oyen nguan a orenkum bi nnwe?” (Who will breed sheep and deny himself the opportunity to slaughter some to satisfy his appetite?) Other teachers were saying: “Mennyen anantwi na mennko we koto” (I won't breed cows and go to eat crabs). We saw instances where office-girls became the headmasters' lovers, and the flirtations eventually led to marriages.
So long as women interact with men, it would not be surprising that such interactions would lead to one thing, and one thing would lead to another. Not only teachers and students; but choirmaster and choristers; police officers and police women, senior officers and subordinate female staff (in the banks, public service; lawyers and female clients); male MPs and female electorate; TV Stars and female admirers; pastors and female congregants.
Do not leave out the politicians, because we have the case of American President, Bill Clinton in the 1998, who had admitted: “I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky which was not appropriate”– and it occurred at the White House, the equivalent of our Jubilee House. Lewinsky, an intern, was at his mercy.” It could have been fellatio—oral stimulation of the male organ in which Clinton played a negative role, but Lewinsky's blue dress with Clinton's semen was available and a tell-tale it was. The same Clinton was being tried for his affair with Laura Jones, while he was Governor of Arkansas, accusing him of sexual harassment. Kathleen Wiley and Juanita Broaddrick also talked about Bill Clinton's sexual harassment and assault.
So now, do we have to believe that all the grades of First Class captured by the female students of the University of Ghana have been procured through “sex for grade”? You see how we are destroying our own image?
Associate Professor Yaw Gyampo, of the European Studies of the Political Science Department, has denied any wrong doing: He insists: “I am aware of those behind this, just for the purposes of gagging me. But I wish to assure them that I remain Yaw Gyampo. I won't be silenced. Their worst may be to kill me. But as much as I love my family, I won't be scared to die in the course of keeping regimes on their toes, without malice, just for the purposes of shaping our governance landscape.” He notes that the lady in the film was neither his student nor a student of the University of Ghana. And the name Butakor has also hit the headlines.
And at the same University of Ghana, Andrea Pizziconi noted that “Sex for Grade” story resonated very much with her. The respected Vice-Chancellor Prof. Ebenezer Oduro Owusu was accused by Andrea Pizziconi of sexual harassment. She had sought to invest about $64m, through her company, Africa Integras, but the Vice-Chancellor became an obstacle, unless she gave him a hug. She had the impunity to write: “I have remained mostly quiet despite the battery of attacks by Professor Oduro Owusu on my dignity. I was advised not to make waves and definitely not to raise the #metoo flag, if I wanted to put the project back on track, which I do. Now I feel compelled to speak up and draw a direct line between this sex scandal and our derailed project.”
The discerning minds will not be carried away so easily by these exposes. The question people are asking is “why would anybody think about setting a trap for people to fall in and then make capital of it? The University of Ghana has an enviable record; and no amount of chicanery can destroy such a record. Hassan Ayariga takes a swipe at the course combinations at the University of Ghana, “the University of Ghana still runs a classics department in this IT age”. Classics and Ancient History may not be an attractive option now but they have an appeal to some of us.
We shall be careful not to “wash our dirty linen in public”. Don't forget Ralph Epperson's conspiratorial theory of history: “historical events occur by design for reasons that are not generally known to the people.” Who are behind all these “scandals”? We damage our universities, and make overseas universities hallowed. So, you won't have these sex scandals happening in American, British or French universities?
Have we thrown away all the codes of ethics, decency and morality? Professor Agyekum of the Linguistics Department argues that, Legon has been “disgraced”. However, he thinks the title given and the unfolding story do not correspond. “We wanted to see the lecturer telling the female student that you have failed, but if you allow me to have sex with you, I will pass you, otherwise you will fail.”
Meanwhile, Dr. Margaret Amoakohene, the Chairperson of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee of the University of Ghana is reaching out to “victims” of sexual harassment: “Come forward if you have evidence to show that during your four years stay on the University of Ghana Campus this happened to you. The BBC documentary is like the first point that we received something to work with. The next thing is to invite people who think they have been victims in times past or they are currently being victimized to come forward.” But Professor Agyekum adds a caution: “A student may have indeed performed badly in his thesis and will use such an opportunity to report the lecturers of sexual harassment when that is actually not the case.”
We are not by these analyses endorsing a free-for-all sexual misbehaviour. Teachers and lecturers should know the heavy burden placed on them as in “loco parentis”: they are to ensure a right atmosphere for their students for whom they act as parents to study. Teachers and lecturers should learn when they have to unzip their trousers; they should suppress their libidos and not get tempted by the way Adam got tempted and “ate the fruit” that was in Eve's body. David was moved by lust (viewing Bathsheba as she bathed) to have sex with Uriah's wife, Bathsheba, and after getting Uriah killed by proxy in battle, married Bathsheba as his eighth wife, later producing the future King, Solomon.
In George Orwell's classic, “1984”, was this bold inscription “Big Brother is watching”. With internet and modern bugging gadgets, people should be on the look-out, for Big Brother is Watching You.
Africanus Owusu – Ansah