The president of the American University of Nigeria, AUN, Dr. Margee Ensign on Friday advised students on what to do should they encounter any kind of harassment on campus.
Dr. Ensign was speaking at a seminar organized by the Judicial Affairs Office of the University at the Robert A. Pastor E-Library complex to the AUN community on how to understand and handle campus harassment. She reiterated the “commitment of the University to ensure that no one gets harassed” and encouraged students who had faced harassment to report the incidents to the appropriate authorities of the institution or reach out to anyone they trust.
In his opening remarks, the Director of Judicial Affairs at AUN, Mbursa Gwany, lectured participants at the seminar on the University’s zero tolerance policy on harassment. Mr. Gwany also highlighted the procedures for addressing reports of harassment at AUN.
Also speaking at the seminar, Dr. Regina Mousa, the University psychologist, shed light on the psychological implications of harassment, pointing out how to spot different kinds of harassers using their known traits. While noting depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, suicidal tendencies, panic attacks and many other negative psychological states as the effects of sexual harassment, Dr. Mousa advised students to avoid dangerous situations and to be assertive in their refusal of unwanted sexual advances.
Dr. Hannah Mugambi, an AUN faculty member and women empowerment leader, who spoke at the seminar on gender differences vis-à-vis sexual harassment, defined sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances,” noting that female students often suffer harassment more than their male counterparts. Dr. Mugambi also revealed that students suffer harassment more from their peers than they suffer from university faculty members.
On hand to provide a legal perspective on the topic of the seminar was Mr. Japhet Philemon, a retired attorney, who spoke on Nigeria’s legal penalties for sexual harassment.
The well received seminar expectedly drew questions and contributions from students. One of the students, Enenyantu Elagbaje, who told the CMD WEBSITE that she found the seminar educative, suggested that similar seminars should be held more often. “They should be doing it more often because it is very educative, and it’s important to let the students know how to deal with sexual harassment,” Elagbaje said.
The seminar, one of many allied initiatives from AUN Judicial Affairs Office, also had other dignitaries in attendance, including the Dean of Student Affairs, AUN, Byron Bullock, and many faculty and staff members of the University.
Stories by Zamiyat Abubakar and Ikechukwu Ilomuanya