• July 2nd, 2020

Unam suspends lecturer accused of rape

WINDHOEK - The University of Namibia has suspended a male lecturer who is accused of raping a student last month. 

New Era has been informed that the lecturer apparently invited the female student to his office at Unam’s Neudamm campus outside Windhoek and started making sexual advances towards her. 
New Era understands the lecturer is yet to be arrested. 

Pro-vice chancellor for administration, finance and resource mobilization, Dr Ellen Ndeshi Namhila, confirmed the suspension, saying the student reported the alleged rape in September. 

“A case with the Namibian Police has been made by the student. Unam suspended the lecturer the day we became aware of the matter,” said Namhila. 
She added the university has policies in place that strive to create and maintain a safe and conducive environment to study and teach. 

However, she said, these values and principles are often violated. 
She added that some female student victims were in the past struggling to come forward and report cases of sexual harassment. 

According to Namhila, Unam has launched a strategic campaign to implement interventions that will make it easier for students or staff to report such cases. 

“We have appointed a dedicated and qualified female investigator that has vast experience with such cases. This is to remove any possible gender bias and provide the social comfort for victims while taking action to address the offenders,” she maintained.

Equally, she said, Unam is in the process of establishing a toll-free hotline and a mobile application, which students can anonymously call or text to report such cases, even if it didn’t happen to them. 
The university has also arranged female-only visits by members of senior management and their legal and social team to interact with female students at each campus, where consultations are being held to encourage them to speak out against harassement.  

She said the university has also begun a campaign to educate all managers and staff on how to more effectively deal with such cases in order to take decisive action. 

 “We have held a peaceful demonstration against sexual violence organised by students and supported by staff.  These are some of the stark actions we have taken, and want to make it clear that we want Unam to remain a safe environment for staff members and students. Unam has zero-tolerance towards sexual harassment or violence of any kind,” Namhila said. 

Albertina Nakale
2019-10-28 06:56:34 | 8 months ago

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