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University of Ghana inaugurates 15-member Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee

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The authorities of University of Ghana (UG) in their quest to create and maintain a community free from intimidation, exploitation and sexual abuse have inaugurated a 15-Member Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee.

The Committee has the mandate of addressing sexual harassment and sexual abuse issues relating to the University community, planning and managing the University’s sexual harassment education and training programmes.

It would maintain records of reports of sexual harassment and actions taken in response to report, as well as preparing and submitting an annual report to the Vice-Chancellor and the University Council on its work.

The Committee is also mandated to investigate specific complaints of sexual harassment, delineate and design appropriate sanctions or disciplinary measures to be applied to persons who violate the policy.

Members of the Committee shall serve for a term of two years after which they can be nominated to serve for another two-year term.

A statement issued by Ms Stella A. Amoa, Director of Public Affairs, University of Ghana in Accra on Monday, said Professor Ernest Aryeetey, the Vice-Chancellor, inaugurating the committee, noted that the need for an Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee arose from four years of the University’s experience in dealing with sexual harassment.

He said sexual harassment no matter what form it took could be costly and had done a lot of damage to a lot of individuals and institutions both locally and internationally.

Professor Aryeetey cited the recent incident that occurred at Mensah Sarbah Hall of the University involving some male students who reportedly sexually harassed an alleged thief.

The Vice-Chancellor said the essence of the sexual harassment policy underlined the University of Ghana’s commitment to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons who participated in the University’s programmes and activities did so in an environment free from intimidation, exploitation and abuse.

He added that the University sought to provide an atmosphere of work and study in which all individuals were treated with respect and dignity and ensure that gender was not an impediment in the way of girls and women in pursuance of their academic endeavours.

“The establishment of the policy is to strongly oppose sexual harassment and sexual abuse in any form and to communicate zero tolerance of any action that may be constituted as sexual harassment or sexual abuse in the University,” he emphasised.

Professor Aryeetey said the task assigned the Committee was not an easy one, and thanked members of the committee for accepting the invitation to serve in this capacity.

He urged them to work hard to ensure the effectiveness of the policy in order to send signals to the University community and the entire nation that the University was serious about the issue of Sexual Harassment.

Professor Kweku Osam, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Academic and Student Affairs, re-echoed the sentiments expressed by the Vice-Chancellor.

He noted that Sexual Harassment did not help anybody but rather negatively affected academic performance.

Professor Osam said he was particularly interested in the work of the Committee and would provide any support possible to ensure that the University of Ghana was seen to be concerned about fairness when it came to issues about sexual harassment.

Dr Langbong Bimi, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Animal Biology and Conservations Sciences is Chairman of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee.

Other members of the Committee are Rev. Dr. M.P.K. Okyerefo, Deputy Head of CEGENSA, Dr. Ellen Bortei Doku Aryeetey, Representative of Centre for Social Policy Studies (CSPS), Dr. Samuel Atindanbila, Representative of the Psychology Department, and Mr. Alex Wiafe, Representative of Counselling and Placement Centre.

The rest are Mr. Albert Banon Abdulai, Representative of GAUA, Mr. Theophilus Amaglo, representative of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Mrs. Christine Dowuona-Hamond representative of Faculty of Law, Ms. Sarah Akrofi-Quarcoo representative of School of Communication Studies, Ms. Sarah Opoku representative of GRASAG.

The others are, Ms. Akyaa Akua Afreh Arhin, Legal Counsel, Ms. Peace Thelma Barnor representative of FUSSAG, Mr. Emmanuel Asampong representative of School of Public Health and Ms. Victoria O. Lamptey representative of TEWU. Professor Dzodzi Tsikata, is an ex-officio member.

In brief remarks, Dr Bimi urged members to go beyond arbitration on reported issues and be proactive in the prevention of sexual harassment.

He thanked the Vice-Chancellor for the confidence reposed in the Committee.

Source: GNA

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