2 Apex University students drag lecturer to court for sexual harassment

Two Lusaka Apex University students have sued their lecturer in the High Court for allegedly making various sexual advances towards them and promising to make them pass the exams.

The two claim that after refusing the sexual requests, the lecturer, Philistone Nyirenda, vowed to ensure that they failed the exams, which actually came to pass.

Sandra Mubanga and Carol Saili, both fourth year students in the faculty of Pharmacy at Lusaka Apex Medical University, have also sued the institution, seeking a declaration that it has breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive environment for learning.

They further want an order that their pharmacology paper be remarked by independent examiners, damages for breach of contract and statutory duty, costs and any other relief.

In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry, October 1, Mubanga and Saili stated that Nyirenda was a lecturer and Head of Laboratory Department at the University.

They claimed that sometime this year and on separate occasions, Nyirenda made various sexual advances towards them, which were declined.

Mubanga and Saili stated that when the school schedule drew closer to exams, Nyirenda relentlessly made various sexual advances towards them and promised to make them pass the exams.

“The plaintiffs will aver that they refused to accede to Nyirenda’s sexual requests which prompted him to threaten and promise that they will fail the exams,” read the statement of claim.

Mubanga and Saili stated that when the exams finally commenced, Nyirenda somehow ensured that he was the one invigilating the exams and would often accuse the two of having sexual relationships with other lecturers in exchange for passing exams.

“The accusations were made in full view of all the students in the exam class. Nyirenda would then order other officers to conduct a body search amid accusations of having leakages. The accusations and body searches went on for the entire exam period thereby causing embarrassment and mental anguish to the plaintiffs,” read the statement of claim.

Mubanga and Saili stated that they opted to report Nyirenda’s conduct to the University but nothing was done.

They stated that when they further requested the University to allow them sit for deferred exams instead, their request was denied.

Mubanga and Saili stated that Nyirenda’s conduct persisted through out the exams which prompted the two to go back to the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy.

They explained that he was then called to the Dean’s office where he acknowledged that his conduct was wrong and apologized to them but added that, nothing was done thereafter to mitigate their predicament.

The duo stated that they were not surprised to learn that they had not passed the exams when results were finally posted because Nyirenda had promised that he would make sure that they failed.

“The plaintiffs will aver that Nyirenda’s sexual advances and threats were reported to the University but nothing was done thereby breaching it’s obligations to provide a conducive learning environment to the plaintiffs,” read the statement of claim.

“The plaintiffs will also say the the University is in breach of Section 12 of the Higher Education Act no. 4 of 2013 by failing to deal properly with their complaint of sexual harassment by the said lecturer and allowing him to continue invigilating the exams notwithstanding their complaints of harassment, as well as declining their request to have their exam papers marked by an independent marker.”

Mubanga and Saili lamented that they had as a result suffered loss and damage and now claim a declaration that the institution has breached its contractual obligation to provide a conducive environment for learning.




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