NEWS | Shine A Light

Shine A Light: Sex For Grades At USP

Just more than three years into her contract, she was allegedly removed from her position by the former administration of the university. “It cost me my job fighting for a safer place for young women to work,” she said. Male harassers are also present in other universities in Fiji, although incidences are not as prevalent as in USP.
07 Dec 2021 11:00
Shine A Light: Sex For Grades At USP
A drone photo of the University of the South Pacific campus in Laucala Bay, Suva. Photo : Leon Lord. INSET: Former Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Susan Kelly (left), with Non-Resident Ambassador-Designate of the Islamic

Speaking to Shine a Light via phone interview from France, Professor Kelly said sexual harassment cases happened with such regularity that people didn’t think it was surprising.

On Saturday (Nov 27, 2021), Shine a Light, in its column titled “Allegations of sexual harassment surface at USP”, highlighted some experiences encountered by students at the university.

It pinpointed actions of men in positions of power, particularly lecturers and tutors, who prey and pressure young, naïve and vulnerable female students for sex in exchange for good grades.

 

Some students give in to these pressures, simply because they fear failing their course or being victimised by the harasser.

Other students completely drop their course.

In both circumstances, these young women find it difficult to open up about what they face.

Sexual relationships between staff and students exist in universities around the world.

 

But in all the six international universities that Professor Kelly worked in, USP had the worst cases of sexual harassments,” she said.

“[Male lecturers] pick well-behaved, shy women, who don’t stand up for themselves,” Professor Kelly said.

Professor Kelly signed a five-year contract with the university. She was appointed in 2010.

 

Just more than three years into her contract, she was allegedly removed from her position by the former administration of the university.

“It cost me my job fighting for a safer place for young women to work,” she said.

Male harassers are also present in other universities in Fiji, although incidences are not as prevalent as in USP.

 

Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre coordinator Shamima Ali said the centre received sexual harassment reports from several tertiary institutions around the country.

In light of the 16 Days Against Gender-Based Violence, we continue our series of reports on sexual harassment within USP.

USP Manager Public Relations and Communications, Natasha Begum had previously said the university “will verify your claims if you provide evidence or more information about the allegations you have highlighted”.

Ms Begum said the university took “allegations of such nature seriously and has a zero tolerance on sexual harassment and bullying in the workplace”.

 

INCIDENT 1
In one particular incident, the lecturer was known to the victim’s family.

The victim was a third-year final student.

The victim was a bright and competent academic student, and always scored good grades…to read the full account from our Shine A Light Investigative Reporter and Editor Ivamere Nataro by subscribing to the Fiji Sun e-edition.

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Shine A Light is the Fiji Sun Investigative Project

 

Feedback: ivamere.nataro@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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