Rev. Prof. John Frank Eshun, Vice Chancellor of Takoradi Technical University, says he is always ready to deal with sexual harassment incidents by staff or students in order to ensure a safe working and academic environment. This was stated by Rev. Prof. Eshun at the first Seminar on Sexual Harassment held on the main campus by the TTU Centre for Gender and Advocacy. While emphasizing the growing global concern about sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor stated that TTU has been a victim in the past but issued a strong warning against the practice, stating that he is determined to punish those found sexually harassing others.
“There has been an increase in sexual harassment concerns all over the world, and TTU is no exception.” This seminar will ensure the establishment of a culture that discourages sexual harassment while also promoting a safe working environment for all employees. Despite some dismissals in the past, sexual harassment is well-known to exist here. Let us handle this carefully so that it does not harm the university’s image; therefore, there is a need to improve the University’s sexual harassment policy to address it. “I’m prepared to deal with any sexual harassment behavior in order to create a safe environment and deter others,” he said.
Dr. Gladys Quartey, Director of TTU’s Centre for Gender and Advocacy, who led a team to organize the first seminar on sexual harassment, stated the rationale for the seminar, saying it is estimated that one out of every three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in their lifetime. She stated that, despite the alarming global state of sexual harassment, including TTU, prevention is possible.
“At TTU, faculty and students can successfully combat the risk of sexual harassment by engaging in conversations, initiatives, and policies that promote safety, respect, and equality.” We can help create safe and equitable societies where everyone is treated with respect by promoting safe behaviors, gender-sensitive policies, and healthy relationships… This sexual harassment awareness workshop will teach staff and students about acceptable gender-sensitive behavior. “The workshops will provide an overview of the sexual harassment policy as well as the importance of prevention and reporting,” she explained.
Dr. Quartey went on to say that the impact of sexual harassment is detrimental to academic life, and he challenged all stakeholders to remain committed to preventing it.
Sexual Harassment is a criminal offence and where it is perpetrated, people do not feel safe. Today a cross section of staff and student leaders have been invited to set ablaze their passion to drive positive change, and educate their constituencies about the policy on gender-related issues”, she added.
Prof. Maame Afua Nkrumah of IPELO in a presentation on the highlights of the TTU policy on sexual harassment said, the university already has the policy but what it needed is adequate awareness and punitive measures in its implementation to deter others.
“The University’s policy on sexual harassment abhors sexual relationship between two persons of imbalance power…the policy also has a Sexual Harassment Investigative Committee that will investigate allegations of sexual harassment”, she said.
Prof. Nkrumah also touched on some proposals to improve on the existing TTU sexual harassment policy.
“A review of the sexual harassment policy must take victimization and retaliation into account…the review of policy must also have clear-cut sanctions for perpetrators,” she added.
Participants in the TTU sexual harassment policy seminar also worked in groups to discuss real-life sexual harassment scenarios on campus and proposed sanctions for offenders.