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UGANDA: Top African university to investigate sexual harassment

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Makerere University

AFP
BBC – Makerere University educated political giants like Julius Nyerere and Milton Obote

Uganda’s prestigious Makerere University has responded to students’ complaints of sexual harassment by forming an investigation committee.

In January, a report released by an independent committee mandated by Uganda’s president said that over 50% of female and about 40% of male students interviewed called sexual harassment a major cause of discontent on Makarere’s campus.

The new team of five professors, which is to investigate all complaints by students and those brought by the general public, should have a report of their findings ready in two months.

Sylvia Tamale, who has been picked to lead the committee, is an outspoken women’s rights advocate, academic and the first ever female dean of the School of Law.

The announcement has been made at a press conference which is also being live tweeted:

.@ProfNawangwe: I constituted a committee of 5 professors headed by Prof. Sylvia Tamale from the School of Law to investigate all sexual harassment cases and any that may be brought to them by the general public. A report should be ready in two months.

One student who says a lecturer attempted to rape her told the BBC that university officials insulted her and “called her stupid” after she reported the attack.

She was left disappointed when the university senate committee formed to investigate her case concluded that there had been “an environment of sexual harassment”, but told her nonetheless to return to class and be taught by her alleged attacker.

The student turned down the offer and never resumed her studies, saying it was “unjust” to return her to that “hostile environment” without any punitive action for the teacher.

Makere University says it has sacked five lecturers since 2006 for sexual harassment, and hopes the new committee with “completely deal with” the problem. 

Since 2006 when our Policy on Sexual Harassment came into force, the University has dismissed 5 lecturers, many are on suspension and others in courts of law. I appointed this 5 member committee to help us completely deal with this vice.

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One Comment to UGANDA: Top African university to investigate sexual harassment

  1. Carlos Maysonet says:

    Thank you so much for the great article, it was fluent and to the point. Cheers.

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