Sexual harassment in education

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sexual harassment in education is an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that interferes with a student’s ability to learn, study, work or participate in school activities. Sexual harassment encompasses a range of behavior from mild annoyances to sexual assault and rape.[1][2] As committed by teachers, it is often framed as "sex for grades" and has attracted media attention throughout the world, partly in connection with the #MeToo movement.[3]

United States[edit]

In the United States, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.[4]


The Universität Bremen was the first university in Germany to establish, in 1992, a contact point for matters regarding sexual harassment. It is generally considered that the power difference between university students and professors, who determine grades and can offer or prolong employment positions for PhD students, results in a risk of harassment. According to a non-representative survey of 12,663 students in 2012, every fourth student reported some form of sexual harassment, and about ten percent of those cases involved harassment by teachers. Concerned students who do not want to report misbehaviour for fear of career repercussions are given advice as to how to handle the situation. For example, a doctoral student may be advised to add an external evaluator to assess their work or to request that they be assigned a different advisor.[5]

In the mid-2010s, allegations of sexual harassment were raised against teachers in institutions of higher education in Hamburg, Düsseldorf and Munich.[6]

Ghana and Nigeria[edit]

BBC Africa Eye performed a year-long investigation into sexual harassment committed by university teachers in Ghana. Four academics were secretly filmed as part of the investigation. It involved undercover reporters posing as students at the University of Ghana and the University of Lagos. The resulting documentary was broadcast in October 2019, exposing the misconduct.[7]

The African Feminist Initiative released a solidarity statement condemning the harassment in an institution that should offer a safe environment for learning.[8]

Two academics were suspended from the University of Ghana for six months and four months, respectively, without salary. They were to undergo training about the university's sexual harassment and misconduct policy, to resume work only after a positive assessment, and to undergo an annual assessment for five years. Some have criticized the punishment as too lenient.[7]

In 2020, Nigeria's Senate initiated the debate of a bill aiming to prevent the sexual harassment of university students.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dzeich, Billie Wright and Linda Weiner (1990). The Lecherous Professor: Sexual Harassment on Campus, University of Illinois Press.
  2. ^ Drawing the Line: Sexual Harassment on Campus (2006), the American Association of University Women
  3. ^ EDT, Marika Malaea On 10/8/19 at 8:15 PM (2019-10-08). "#SexForGrades documentary trending worldwide, reveals sexual harassment university scandal". Newsweek. Retrieved 2020-04-27.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Philipp Seibt (2018-02-27). "Tatort Universität". (in German). Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  6. ^ "Stellungnahme des Hochschulpräsidenten". (in German). 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  7. ^ a b c "University of Ghana lecturers suspended after 'sex-for-grades' exposé". 2020-02-18. Retrieved 2020-03-06.
  8. ^ "Solidarity Statement – Sex for Grades in African Universities". 2019-11-11. Retrieved 2020-03-06.

External links and further reading[edit]