In an exclusive interview published in The SUN newspaper on Monday, the Vice-Chancellor says his administration will not be arm-twisted to act contrary to laid down procedure. He states unequivocally that they cannot take a complaint against a teacher and hand it to judicial authorities.
On May 6, 2020, the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Cameroon in a correspondence to the Vice-Chancellor faulted the university administration for not deeming it necessary to open criminal investigations into allegations of sexual harassment in the department of journalism and mass communication.
The letter signed by FIDA Cameroon National President Barrister Gladys Mbuya called on the Vice-Chancellor to forward such complaints to the Buea State Counsel’s chambers for proper investigations to be opened.
In the interview granted The SUN, Prof. Ngomo said: “The problem I have with a lot of people is that they want to set the agenda for this University. I can understand why this University is very important to everybody, but I will like people to concentrate on their jobs and allow those to whom the University has been handed to run to do their jobs”.
The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged receipt of a correspondence from FIDA’s bailiff in which they say they had received a complaint from a female student alleging sexual harassment with a lot of evidence and that the Vice Chancellor is refusing to investigate that complaint.
Hear Prof. Ngomo: “So, in the letter, they were probably urging me to do my work! Probably, they have decided how soon I should do it; the University hasn’t a calendar of activities! Even when everybody is teaching, you say I should grab the teacher who is teaching…let me say here that the University, upon receipt of a complaint of sexual harassment is not expected to forward it to judicial authorities.
“We have to first investigate it. Did I receive a complaint on the matter? Yes I did! I received a complaint but it was delivered to me on hand here by two female and two male lecturers from JMC. I want to believe that they had personal concern on the issue and I had a discussion with them here. After reading the complaint, in my view, it required additional information for it to make any sense; otherwise we didn’t want a situation where the University makes a fool of itself.
“To me particularly, the complaint was not very concrete and don’t forget that the V.C. has the prerogative to ask for additional information or ask another party to sniff around and size-up what’s going on. As I was doing that, the Dean of the Faculty of Social and Management Sciences came here with same complaint but with additional evidence and
“I was satisfied that there was additional evidence and so we could go ahead and investigate. Then at that time, schools had stopped and I called the Dean for a chat and I asked the Dean “Do you think it is proper to constitute a panel of investigation now because we will need corroborative evidence from other students and they are not around, what do we do?” How stupid do people think we are, that we cannot carry out an investigation? Then I see a letter from women, saying they have the complaint, copying the State Counsel. But if they have the complaint, why don’t they go ahead and prosecute? Do I have to deliver the said teacher to them? Nobody stays on campus, the teacher stays in town. The University has its own laid down procedure for sanctioning teachers. We cannot take a complaint against a teacher and hand it to judicial authorities! Every institution has its own internal mechanism!
“My only prayer is for people to allow this University to achieve its results. This University wins a lot of prizes, and that is why people send their children here. I have even been informed that senior officials have called SYNES members to ask why University of Buea is quiet! Yes, not once!”