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Formalise sexual relations with students, probe tells Makerere lecturers

Students walk on campus. A committee investigating sexual misconduct has recommended that lecturers declare when in relationships with their students.

KAMPALA: Makerere University staff and lecturers should formally communicate to the university administration when they fall in love with students.

This is part of recommendations made by a committee investigating sexual abuse at the university headed by Prof Sylvia Tamale, a don from the Law school.

According to the interim report, which was released on Friday, academic and administrative staff should fully disclose the extent and timing of their relationships with students whom they are required to directly evaluate or assess.

This is because, the report added, sexual abuse is more widespread at the institution than is actually reported.

Of the 234 people interviewed during the investigation, 80% said they were aware about the sexual exploitation of students.

The report added some lecturers accused students of tempting them by dressing indecently.

“Women loitering around with their open thighs is not okay… these are devils, little temptresses who harass innocent, defenseless lecturers…,” the report quotes a lecturer as saying.

The report recommended that the university should establish effective mentoring relationships for faculty, staff and students and Clause 7  of the university act, which enumerates “examples of sexual harassment”,  should be renamed “examples of sexual harassment and abuse.”

The report, which conducted its study in two months and interviewed 234 students, was instituted following increasing cases of sexual abuse at the institution.

In April, the university administration suspended Mr Edward Kisuze, an administrative assistant in the Department of the Academic Registrar, who was pictured performing a sexual act on a student on social networking site WhatsApp.

Edward Kisuze was identified as the staff member caught on camera in a sexual act with a student.

The incident came a month after Dr. Swizen Kyomuhendo from the Department of Social Work and Social Administration was on March 1 suspended from university service after a television expose` left him in a compromising state with the un-named female student troubled with her marks she needed to graduate on time.

The expose` indicated the beleaguered university lecturer had suggested meeting the student in a hotel room. Makerere has appointed a Commitee to investigate the matter.

The report also indicated that human nature, which drives men to satisfy their sexual fantasies and needs, psychological disorders on the part of the predators, male misinterpretation of female friendliness and indiscipline of the predators also contributed to sexual harassment at Makerere University.

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