Saturday, August 5, 2017

Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

Ken:

I dont think a petition is apt.  I think this issue if handled appropriately through ASUU proves that the body is not concerned merely about bread and butter issues for its members alone but genuinely cares for the educational development and structural moral probity of the country.

It will be the duty of ASUU to work with NUC for the wholesome implementation of the strategy put in place.

Goals such as not charging students for course materials cannot be realistically implemented without involving the NUC in how the loophole can be filled



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Date: 04/08/2017 10:57 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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what's the next step? A petition?  A public stance somehow?
ken


 

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/


From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of "meochonu@gmail.com" <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Thursday, 3 August 2017 at 19:20
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

Here are some rough thoughts on what could be done about some of the issues we've discussed.

 

 

Unfortunately, several of these problems require the robust involvement of the regulatory organ, the National Universities Commission, NUC. I say unfortunately because ideally, universities should be self-governing entities with minimal regulatory intrusion from outside. However, in Nigeria we have to deal with the reality of an overbearing regulatory framework in the form of the NUC bureaucracy, whose stifling effect on university education is a topic for another day. At any rate, if we're trying to implement a national solution to the problems, the NUC will have to be consulted and brought on board.

 

 

Sexual Abuse

 

The NUC, through its legal and supervision departments, should outline a broad outline of a policy on faculty-student sexual harassment. All universities should then be required to formulate their own policies on sexual abuse, making sure that these policies conform to or meet the broad requirements outlined in the NUC policy guideline. The NUC's appropriate department(s) will review and approve the individual policies of universities. Four important components that the NUC should insist on are, 1) protection against victimization and retaliation for student victims who report faculty sexual abuse and harassment, and 2) expedited and transparent investigation of allegations, 3) harsh punishment for offending lecturers, and 4) the involvement of the police in cases of rape. Finally, the NUC should build a database of confirmed predatory academics, which universities could consult when making hiring decisions so that lecturers who are disgraced from one institution on account of sexual abuse do not find employment in another. This is important as Nigeria does not yet have robust criminal and professional background check systems.

 

Once the policies are in place, a series of townhall meetings should be mandated in every university, so that the provisions of the policies can be thoroughly explained to faculty members and those seeking clarifications can have their questions answered. The object is to leave no ambiguity, so that no lecturer has an excuse for violating the policies.


An appendage of this policy should be another one explicitly outlawing all demands or acceptance of material or monetary gratifications from students to lecturers who currently teach or have pedagogical authority over said students.

 

 

Teaching

 

1.   The NUC should make student teaching evaluations mandatory for all universities and should, after consultation with ASUU and other stakeholders, establish a weighted role for such evaluation in faculty promotion and retention decisions.

2.   One of the biggest problems of Nigerian higher education, especially from the perspective that students' interests are paramount, is the failure of lecturers to show up and teach, something so basic to the calling of an academic that one would not think that it would be a problem. But many Nigerian lecturers simply don't show up in class enough. Some only show up to administer tests and exams after giving students study materials. Others don't even bother to give students study guides. To solve this problem, the NUC, working with university governing bodies and ASUU, should formulate a clear policy making class attendance mandatory for lecturers except for legitimate reasons such as ill health, family event or emergency, pre-scheduled conference, research, and other external academic obligations. This policy should also set a maximum number of times that lecturers can be absent from class outside of the aforementioned legitimate reasons.

 

 

Research

 

The problem of poor research output in our universities begins from poor teaching and mentorship early on. A student who was never properly taught how to conduct research and how to analyze the research findings and construct original arguments on the strength of such findings will not be able to conduct compelling research or produce strong research outcomes when s/he becomes an academic.

 

However, that is not the immediate issue with our poor research culture. The main problem, as I see it, is an emphasis on quantity of research output, rather than quality, in the NUC's research guidelines for promotions from one rank to another. It is a terrible way to cultivate a research culture. The result today is that trash is being published by Nigeria-based academics in predatory online journals hosted in India and Pakistan and elsewhere. Some of these "articles" are unworthy of an undergraduate term paper. Most are not even grounded in any original research and are derived solely from published works and peppered with pedestrian conjectures. Some are even shamelessly plagiarized.

 

I was at a conference five years ago in Ibadan when the citation of a Nigeria-based colleague was read out and he was said to have over a hundred published papers. Even if you discount the fact that Nigerian academics tend to count newspaper op-eds and other popular writings as part of their academic publications, you'd see clearly that this is a fraudulent statistical representation of the said scholar's academic output. It is not his fault however. It is the fault of the NUC, which prescribes fixed numbers of publications of various kinds for the purpose of promotion.

 

The NUC needs to shift from bean counting, from an emphasis on quantity to quality. It will cause academics to thoroughly research their papers, develop their analyses and arguments, and go through the rigorous, sometimes lengthy peer review process of reputable publications. It is better for an academic to have one or two quality publications in reputable venues than to have fifty poorly researched and hurriedly written articles in junk predatory publications. The current system makes mockery of the academic publication culture. And yes, I have read or at least skimmed many of these trashy "articles." They're a disgrace to scholarship. The NUC's new guideline on research output should also explicitly discourage publishing in predatory journals. One measure might be to compile a constantly updated list of predatory journals that academics can consult. Another measure might be to outlaw payments for publishing. Yet another one would be a requirement for peer review reports to be submitted along with a published article for the purpose of promotion.

 

 

Mentorship and supervision

 

This is a touchy one. Our current postgraduate supervision culture is one of oppression, hazing, and mean-spirited tyranny perpetrated by supervisors. Supervisors behave as though they are doing the students a favor, the result being a slavish relationship between mentor and mentee in which the latter has no voice and has his or her intellectual initiatives killed or subordinated to the whims and predilections of the powerful supervisor. It is a system largely devoid of the mentoring and guidance that one expects from such a relationship. What we need is a postgraduate student bill of rights, which would empower and restore some rights to the student. The NUC should issue a set of guidelines to govern this important relationship in the academy. Such guidelines should make it possible for students to:

 

1.   Ask to be reassigned to a new supervisor when the existing one is not giving them time, attention, and guidance, or is delaying the completion of the dissertation and its associated processes. If this right already exists, it should be strengthened and enforced.

2.   This bill of rights should include the right of the student to refuse arbitrary, tyrannical orders to simply replicate the scholarly or analytical trajectory of the supervisor. It should allow the students to creatively pursue their own analytical direction without their supervisors forcing them into a straight-jacket and refusing to consider the merit or otherwise of the analytical choices the student is making.

3.   The NUC should set a time limit for supervisors sitting on chapters submitted by students without offering them feedback/comments.

4.   The NUC should explicitly forbid supervisors from demanding money or material goods, services, errands, or sexual favors from graduate students they are supervising, with penalties for violations clearly prescribed.

5.   The guidelines should encourage the exploration of interdisciplinary questions where appropriate without supervisors punishing students who do so or insisting on the observance of  narrow disciplinary conventions for the sake of conformity.

 

 

These are some of my rough thoughts, which can be fleshed out, debated, and refined. On sexual abuse, I endorse the prescriptions of Gloria, especially the one about working with non-governmental entities to protect victims and pressure investigators and school authorities. This is especially important since universities and the police have a history of treating teacher-student sexual assault with levity.

 

 

 


On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 9:07 AM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:
Toyin Adepoju,

First of all, calm down. Nor be fight! So this is what you call research and investigation into higher education in Nigeria, a compilation of your online interventions and posts on discussions of this topic?  When and where did you collect your data? What was your methodology? How about sample size? How much time did you spend in the field?These are rhetorical questions of course. I laugh and reserve my comments. 

You're simply incorrigible my broda. I obviously don't research these issues for a living. I am a historian with my own academic research agenda. However, this is an issue I am passionate about and have dedicated myself to understanding, studying, and advocating on. You've called me an outsider and questioned my capacity to make pronouncements on problems of the Nigerian higher education, all in a feeble bid to delegitimize my perspective. I humored you and proceeded to establish my credibility on the issue. In my many efforts to underscore my intimate knowledge of these issues in Nigerian higher education, I've narrated personal experiences and observations in Nigerian universities as well as what I've heard from insiders, some of them on this very list. 

I have even betrayed a bit of confidence by mentioning my conversations with the moderator of this list on some of the issues plaguing the Nigerian university sector, saying that he and I were on the same page in these conversations. Did he deny it? Did he not say rightly that, yes, the problems are real, but that we should focus on solving them? I commune with Nigeria-based academics in several forums. I am headed to ASA in November, where I'm sure I'll meet with many of them. I'll be at Professor Falola's Texas conference in April. And I'll be in Nigeria later this year, my second visit in 2017. I know what I am talking about and in fact I am withholding identifying information and details from my contributions so as not to betray confidences. We have an undeclared emergency in our higher education sector and you're there in the UK blowing ineffectual grammar of evasion, denial, and deflection. Why don't you tell us the basis of your denialist claims. Which Nigeria-based colleagues do you talk to? Which forums do you attend with them? What studies have you conducted? In fact when was the last time you set foot in Nigeria, let alone on a Nigerian university campus? You make comments steeped in abstract generalities and you expect us to take you seriously?

For reasons known only to you and God, you've decided to appoint yourself into the impossible role of defender of the reputation of Nigeria-based academics, a mission obviously more important to you than protecting our vulnerable students who are being abused and exploited and shortchanged. You're thus frustrated that your hollow defense is finding no takers and that your call for Nigeria-based colleagues to join you in your denial and deflection has fallen flat. You tried this tack several times in the past with the same result. I feel for you. Now, you've fabricated a blatant falsehood, that Nigeria-based academics are silent on this matter. It's a lie. I recall that in our previous discussion on this issue, some home-based colleagues wrote on this forum to corroborate my position of widespread abuse, impunity, and professorial tyranny. If you persist in this falsehood I may have to dig into the archive and locate those testimonies. Besides, how can you accuse them of silence when as I said, they acknowledge and discuss these problems in graphic details when one encounters them? Try and talk to the Nigeria-based colleagues you claim to be defending. You will come away enlightened and reeducated on this issue. Some of the stories Nigeria-based graduate students have told me during my seminars and external examinations cannot even be repeated in decent, civilized arenas. You're very removed from the problem, hence your textbookish approach to it.

We are trying to move to the phase of outlining suggestions for tackling the identified issues but you keep taking us back with your penchant for denial and deflection.



On Thu, Aug 3, 2017 at 12:57 AM, Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <toyin.adepoju@gmail.com> wrote:
Someone called Moses, a person who likes to make assertions on issues in which he does not do research, a person who is not in a position to have such information about Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju, keeps struggling to make claims about where  Adepoju is, where Adepoju has been  and who Adepoju communicates with as a platform for validating Moses' need to generalize based on hearsay from largely faceless characters, figures who remain invisible when required to present their assertions even in a safe space such as this one.

 I don't expect Moses is manufacturing his claims of accounts across the spectrum of Nigerian academia covering a broad scope  of institutions across all regions in the most populated country in Africa, but the  total silence from members of that constituency in a Nigeria/global academic centered listserve which has built momentum and membership by being vigorously active for many years is not too helpful to the generalizations he is aggressively pursuing.

As for investigations into the Nigerian university system and making suggestions about improving it, I have done so before now in a number of widely published essays. A quick Googling of "nigerian university system by oluwatoyin vincent adepoju" gives the following open access hits:

"Nigerian  University Education : Past, Present, Future : My Life at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka by  Chijioke Ngobili" (2013)

published on

Facebook
Scribd (PDF)
Nigerian Development blog
Listserves

"Nigerian Academia and Local and International Journal and Book Publication : Developing a Nationally Based International Knowledge Ecosystem"( 2013)

published on

Facebook
Scribd(PDF)
academia.edu(PDF)


"Academic Standards in Nigerian Universities Within the Global Framework of the Economics, Social Contexts and Philosophies of Higher Education"( 2016)

published on

Scribd (PDF)


At the present moment, I will not be making any such further cerebrations  my priority, particularly since those who belong to the system on this list, those who work within the system, whose task it will be to strive for the implementation of any ideas suggested,  prefer the path of silence.

I shall feel free, however, to comment on any suggestions provided by anyone.

Thanks.

toyin



On 3 August 2017 at 05:17, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
Kwabena:

Thank you for your contribution and the impact in the wider society; that is the precise goal of our drift.

It was the retired soldier Theophilus Danjuma who on examining why stratospheric corruption was the hall mark of the Ibrahim Babangida regime opined that when a fish starts to get rotten it starts from the head.

A university system is a university system precisely because it sets the tempo for the cognitive systems of the whole society.  If the university system is rotten the college of education system cannot be paradisiac. 

Many of the graduates of the university system will transmit the rot downwards.  Faculty at the colleges of education will transmit the rot downwards to the elementary teachers.  It is not hard to see the combined effect on the products of all of these on the larger society.

Reform the university system with the zero tolerance for abuse and corruption and the whole society is cured by the same logic and process.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kwabena Akurang-Parry <kaparry@hotmail.com>
Date: 02/08/2017 14:50 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.   1

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I have followed these perspectives on sexual harassment. I am with Moses and will even add that sexual harassment and abuse are not only comparatively endemic in our tertiary institutions, but have also flooded the non-tertiary levels of education. The same can be said about the workplace, especially cases of young females looking for jobs. 

 Kwabena Akurang-Parry



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <emeagwali@ccsu.edu>
Sent: August 2, 2017 7:50 AM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1
 

Unfortunately the police have these powers in the West that they have the power to stop anyone no matter how highly placed and subject them to interrogations until the police is satisfied of their lawful intentions.  That is the procedure to keep EVERYONE safe. Olayinka

 


 How many murders of innocent people  by police will  it take to convince you otherwise?  Black lives don't matter- because a Black female officer once  harassed you? 


 Ken certainly got this right. BLM is a vital movement to challenge police brutality of unarmend Black 

men in a highly racialized  and imperfect society. Sorry to tell you that the  existing  police  procedure in fact keeps a lot of people unsafe.



Professor Gloria Emeagwali

Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
8608322815  Phone



From: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com>
Sent: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 7:31 AM
To: usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com
Cc: Olayinka Agbetuyi
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1
 
Toyin:

Let me confess I did not pay particular attention enough in the past to notice the extent of the debate and systems already put in place as Moses already indicated perhaps because I had not acquired a smart phone then and the tedium of logging on to a computer was too much for my busy schedule to enable me keep up as much as I wanted to.  Now I contribute as much as I like on the go.  

Perhaps you could update people such as myself on these measures as well as progress assessment on why people like Moses think they are not working (or why should he bring the issue up again if they worked?)

On the treatment of Blacks in America and the Gates issue (I cant quite make the connection with what we are discussing at the moment)  I remember engaging Baba Kadiri on Black on Black suspicion and how I was treated by a female Black police officer who looked trigger happy and disdainful when all I did was approach her at a shopping centre to ask for directions.

Unfortunately the police have these powers in the West that they have the power to stop anyone no matter how highly placed and subject them to interrogations until the police is satisfied of their lawful intentions.  That is the procedure to keep EVERYONE safe.

If any one feels short changed there is the police complaints commission to complain to and the police as an institution can be sued. 

They are being sued from time to time and when the police are adjudged to be in the wrong compensations are paid.

Henry Gates is educated enough to know what to do



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Oluwatoyin Vincent Adepoju <toyin.adepoju@gmail.com>
Date: 01/08/2017 03:21 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"Next time we touch base we should be assessing how far the measures we have leveraged the authorities to put in place are working."
Olayinka

I don't think the Nigerian university system is so bad it has  to take interventions from USAAfrica Dialogues to begin to put systems in place to tackle negative possibilities of the system.

Is the more realistic approach not to see what systems are already in place, assess how effective they are and suggest refinements of the existing systems, additions to these or a rethinking of extant procedures?

It would be helpful to avoid a messianic, savior, or parachuting mentality, in which one drops in from above into a  social situation, ignoring already existing social frameworks, forgetting that institutional procedures are executed within social contexts.

In an earlier discussion on this group, Nigeria based academics  presented sex abuse guidelines in place in their universities. Can they give us updates on these?

The issues involved, particularly as outlined by Moses, run from  sexual conduct guidelines to teaching and mentoring to publishing strategies and promotion criteria. It would be wonderful to read from those directly involved because they understand the heat in the kitchen. For example, what is the relationship of Nigeria based scholars to the more prominent journals in academia, most or all of which are based abroad, most likely in the West?

In discussing sensitive issues, I have experienced two frustrations on this group.

 It is difficult to get Nigeria based academics to open up on allegations of negativity in their system.

On the other side, it is difficult to get African immigrant US academics to open up on the challenges faced by Black people in the US. Throughout the season of the highlights of the recurrent unjustifiable murders of Black people by US police during Obama's tenure, I don't recall any discussion about that terrible problem on this group which seems peopled significantly by African immigrant scholars in the US. The one person whose voice I remember speaking unequivocally on the negativities of the US establishment  is Kwame Zulu Shabbaz and to some degree Kenneth Harrow, but Shabbaz is African-American and Harrow is a Caucasian Jew.

The horrible treatment meted out to one of, if not the most prominent Black Humanities scholar in the US, Henry Luis Gates Jr, in which an almost elderly man dependent on a walking stick for mobility was handcuffed by a  policeman in an incident involving his insisting the policeman identify himself as the officer challenged him as to whether or not his house belonged to him, an incident in which even President Obama became involved,  passed without a comment on this group of people a good number of whom fall into the Gates demographic-Black academics.

The only African immigrant academic, writer or scholar I have read in my random Internet journeys  discussing this issue is Sylvester Ogbechie on his blog Aachronym, describing how he has to be careful to place his driving license within easy view so as to avoid the negative attentions  trigger happy police people direct at Black people, as well as the difference between his treatment at US border control before and after he became a US citizen along with other discussions on "borders and access" on how readily Black people can access means of international mobility, at that blog.I have also read Kennedy Emetulu on this group discussing punitive British immigration controls.

Perhaps I am wrong and I have missed  discussions that obviate my thesis. The total silence from Nigeria based academics in this latest scathing debate on their system justifies part of the thesis to some degree.

If I am right, why is it the case in both instances? Are these populations  embarrassed by the circumstances in which they find themselves? Are the Nigeria based academics jaded by their presence in a situation they see themselves as having little control over? Are they afraid of vicimisation by their colleagues?Do they feel intimidated by the fierce condemnations of their system?Are the US based academics far removed from the painful realities of Black life in the US or do they see those challenges as of little consequence compared to the brutalities evident in their countries of origin or are they wary of reprisals in the spirit depicted by Ogbechie?

How shall we pool resources to tackle these challenges if we don't discuss them in public?

thanks

toyin





On 31 July 2017 at 23:02, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
We are with you on this score.  There is no denying there is a problem. Let us all work together to get in place a system to solve it.  Next time we touch base we should be assessing how far the measures we have leveraged the authorities to put in place are working.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Date: 31/07/2017 01:28 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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I like the direction this discussion has taken lately. Gone is the denial and deflection. We now have a grudging acceptance of the problem and what looks like a genuine effort to grapple with it.  Both Toyin and Olayinka have put some ideas and suggestions on the table. I have my own ideas, which I hope to outline, time permitting. It's not rocket science. Once you've acknowledged the problem, solving it is fairly easy if you have the stakeholders of consequence and power on board and they have the will to act. which is why I've been trying to get us to not just acknowledge the problem but its enormity.

Ken has told a personal story that contextualizes things. I too know a retired American professor who married someone who was a student in his class. It used to be okay for professors to date students. Not any more, with the ban. I personally think it is a good thing that Professor-Student relationships are now banned by a vast majority of American universities. Americans saw a slippery slope into abuse and professorial impunity in the future and took action to prevent it. However, I respect the views of those who disagree with the ban even while adhering to it, not that they have a choice unless they no longer cherish their job and/or their freedom. But here are the important facts:

1. The ban was introduced in the US because that was the only way you could stop professors from abusing their power, intimidating and harassing their students into sexual relationships, and or demanding sex as a condition for high grades.

2. This discussion has never been about consensual relationships between adults, but rather about sexual harassment, abuse by an authority figure, asymmetry in power relations, etc. It's been about the fact that consent is a problematic concept when you have an authority figure with control over grades and other evaluational resources and a vulnerable student. Unfortunately when you solve a problem such as this one, you're going to prevent some genuinely consensual relationships as well.

3. Incidents of professorial sexual abuse of students are rare in the US. Which is precisely why they are news when they occur. This contrasts with Nigerian universities  in which sexual abuse is widespread and is not treated as a big deal.

4. Ken's story is very important because it illustrates the fact that even the US, which some people have inexplicably introduced into a discussion of sexual and other misconducts committed by academics in Nigerian universities, recognized the problem of abuse and/or the potential of abuse and solved it by taking drastic measures. Before the ban, the problem never even reached the proportion of what we have in Nigeria. But a few incidents that came to light were enough to spur action; they were scandalous enough for MOST stakeholders to recognize that there was a problem that needed to be solved. There was no debate about numbers, about how many people were involved, about how many incidents had occurred. There was no obsession with what was happening in other countries. 

Even the egalitarian turn in US higher education, which effectively destroyed rigid hierarchies dividing professors from students, something that we now take for granted, is fairly recent, occurring only in the 1960s. Before then, the system was close to the one in Nigeria (at least in terms of relations between professors and students) where professors are demigods and students have little or no right.

5. Which brings me to the point I was trying to make in an earlier post. The Western reference and comparison is irrelevant and is solely based on the wrong assumption that that is one's frame of reference. One is not venerating a Western ideal of restraint or professorial self-control. Far from it. If the incidents of professorial misconduct are few in the West today, it is not because Westerners are inherently more morally upright than Africans or that they possess a greater will to resist temptations from students. As I said before and as Ken affirmed, it is simply because that infraction is now widely outlawed and is severely punished when it occurs. It is because it is outlawed explicitly, so even a defense of consensual coupling is not tenable. Not anymore. This is an important point to stress because the only difference between the West and Nigeria in this regard is that stakeholders in the US system acknowledged a problem (even before it reached Nigeria-esque proportions) and solved it with a drastic action while stakeholders in the Nigerian system are struggling to even acknowledge the problem, never mind solving it with measures of deterrence and punishment. In this US, explicit policies against sexual abuse and professor-student relationships preceded and occasioned an attitudinal change in professors, not the other way round. The human propensity for impunity and for leveraging authority for self-gratification resides in every society. The difference is the existence of organs that constrain human actions, institutions of deterrence. That is what engenders attitudinal change.

Finally, I want to thank Ken for telling his story about what he witnessed while teaching in a university in Cameroon, and for bringing a very clear, honest perspective to the discussion. Too often progressive white men and women do not tell the truth about their true observations of African society. They are afraid of being accused of racism or Othering, so they make patronizingly pretentious and relativist comments about foibles and problems they see on the continent. It takes courage for Ken to speak truthfully about this widespread, well known problem of sexual and other exploitations of students by academics. The truth is that every Nigerian I know know that the problem of professorial abuse of their authority (expressed in sexual ways or in the form of financial extortion in exchange for grades) is quite common in Nigerian universities. The demand for numbers and statistics is a disingenuous tactic of deflection, but I am happy to see that it has had very little purchase on this list and has now given way to a more truthful, constructive acknowledgement of the problem.

I will be back to offer my own thoughts on how to solve not just the sexual abuse issue but the other problems I have been harping on.

On Sun, Jul 30, 2017 at 11:21 AM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
Thanks Ken for this illuminating piece.

Like in your case I know of a few professors who met their spouses at the university.  Its no crime although other copy cats on the face value of what they see can indulge in indiscriminate affairs.

My own position is professors when single should be able to tell interested female students 'if you are really interested in ME and not your grades then when you are no longer on my course we will talk about it.' If its true love it must endure the course.

This is part of what I mean by no witch hunting.

I have got a childhood friend who willingly confessed to having a relationship with her professor.  She enjoyed it .  I was not judgmental. I know she was well brought up.  She mentioned some other professor who came after her and she turned down.  She had no serious emotional commitment at the time.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Date: 30/07/2017 16:42 (GMT+00:00)
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.   1

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Dear all
The notion that faculty are significantly abusing their relations w students in the u.s. Academy strikes me as out of touch with reality. The heightened fears and penalties are quite pervasive. Cases that really signal faculty abuse are given enormous negative publicity. that's my sense of things.
I want to add that I married a girl who had been a student in my class (more than 40 years ago), that I saw, and still see, nothing wrong with faculty actually dating students. I know it is now virtually banned throughout academe, but I don't agree. I no doubt stand alone, but my position is based on the belief that we all have agency, and have moral responsibility. Not law, to regulate our relations. However, that does not mean we condone abuse.
 Abuses of authority and position have to be severely punished, faculty fired for forcing themselves on students, blackmailing them to have sex. I agree with the punishments there; and I find it equally not credible that students are abusing this situation to blackmail faculty, though perhaps on rare occasion it probably arises.

That this happens in nigeria, or elsewhere in africa, is not a surprise to anyone who has taught in african universities.
The extent of it must vary. When I taught in cameroon 40 years ago, the black cars were lined up after school at the highschools, and it was disgraceful that female students were virtually prostituting themselves, and that big men took advantage of them
This was, I repeat, common knowledge: not hidden, not sneakily done.
It was also there in sembene's film Faat Kine. No one found it hard to believe in that film. Common knowledge.
How to correct it? Moses is setting the standard, period. We shouldn't focus on how much, how many, but how to stop it

What I really wanted to state is that this is not an issue that is debated in the american academy: it was settled practice to stop it many years ago. 
What is debated, where the huge bonfire issue now exists, is the question of rape, of physical abuse of students, not so much by faculty but by other students. Especially athletes. If you are really interested in bringing the u.s. Campus into this discussion,  you have to begin there. that is where the powers that be, the concerns, the fightingback to regain the night, etc, etc., is occuring. That is where the seachange in relations is being fought out. 

Another memory: my aunt was a student in the class, at medical school, of a man who became her husband. That was somewhere around the 1930s. No one condemned them for falling in love and marrying, the prof and his student. As for myself, well, I didn't date liz till a year after she had been in my class. I was lucky she had been my student…. And lucky the university then did not prevent a prof from falling in love with his student!
Ken

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/


From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Sunday, 30 July 2017 at 14:31
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Cc: Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no. 1

'Gordon (not actual name)   has a crush on a smart girl in the literature class auditorium.

He tried to ask her out but the word got stuck.

He settled for KFC crochets while he worked on his chat up line'

This is the paraphrase for a radio jingle advert for KFC currently airing on a British station Capital Radio capital.co.uk.

If the malaise we both condemn in Nigerian academics is so rare in the American academy how come it forms the theme of an advert jingle exported to the UK with a distinctive American accent complete with the unique alveola-palatal flutter American drawl 'r'?

Any interested forumite can verify this by logging in to the radio online.

But again this justifies nothing on either side of the Atlantic.

What we are both aiming at are effective institutional checks and I personally welcome more ideas.

I dont know the current structure of checks but it seems to me that the best form would involve both student bodies and university officials.

The coordinating organ should be national ASUU which must have standing local chapter student/teacher ethics committee with whom it must constantly be in touch on a monthly basis.  

This local committee must liaise with representatives of student bodies with which it should meet on weekly basis and from which it should collect data on student complaints and suspicions needing discrete investigations.  Students must be encouraged to report to such student bodies.

The national body must collect this statistics in a monthly basis even if all such statistics say is everything is 'cleared for this month'.

The national body must provide this statistics to every university Council and Senate concerned on a monthly basis keeping a copy to assist in the recruitment, retention and promotion exercise nationwide just like the credit scoring system in the West.

On recruitment the ASUU national ethics committee must serve each university teaching staff a code of its student/teacher relationship as you suggested (I never got this in the US but that does not mean I dont know what is and is not acceptable.)

There should be no retroactive witch hunt but it should serve as the premise of a new more morally binding accountable beginning.





Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Date: 28/07/2017 00:04 (GMT+00:00)
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"the low esteem in which they are held by colleagues ought to be the greatest deterrent  and sanction litigations aside."


I cannot believe I read this from you, Yinka. Wow, just wow. So for abusing their powers, preying sexually on their female students and financially exploiting their male students, betraying the trust of parents and society, and bringing disrepute to a respected profession and their colleagues, they should only be subjected to the scorn of colleagues, "sanctions litigations aside." Scorn as deterrence? Now I've heard it all.

Obviously I do not have any statistics to indicate the number of Nigerian lecturers engaged in sexual or other misconducts or those who neglect teaching or mentorship. I have not conducted a study, nor would a study reveal the extent of the problem as most students, as you said, don't come forward to report and most reported cases are buried, never to be mentioned again.

 But you self-appointed defenders of the honor of Nigerian lecturers do not have any statistics either, yet you insist that the offenders are a minority and that the majority is upright. How exactly do you know that? Where is the study you conducted? At least I am modest and honest enough to admit the absence of precise numbers. If I say MANY Nigerian lecturers are culpable, that takes care of the absence of statistics. So let us agree that you do not have any statistics to show that the offenders are a minority and that I do not have any to show that they are a majority. Going off of that, and going by the preponderance of cases, scandals, and the private and public testimonies of victims and colleagues, we can conclude that too many lecturers are implicated. How many is too many depends on one's moral perspective. If you don't think the offenders are many or too many, that is your own judgment. Go an conduct a study to prove that only a minority are engaged in the practice. But keep in mind that even if you were to prove that, it would not mitigate the outrage, nor would it exculpate the majority who enable the offenders by tolerating, shielding, and in some cases defending them.

Again, the problem is the absence of deterrence and punishment when students come forward. In most cases the students are even further and victimized by the authorities of the institution and by supposedly upright colleagues of the perpetrator who are fond of blaming the victims.

Finally, let me shock you by saying that I never get defensive about pastors engaged in misconduct. I don't hold my tongue either; I am a big critic of pastoral misconduct, which is now widespread in modern Christianity, especially in Pentecostal circles. It is not only Suleiman; many other scandals have broken publicly or quietly.  I cannot be a pastor because I simply cannot live up to the moral demands of the job. Which begs the question, if you do not have the capacity to live up to the moral and ethical demands of a profession, why get into that profession in the first place or remain in it? I would pose exactly the same question to my colleagues in Nigerian universities who prey on, exploit, and terrorize students. I would advise them to go do something else, to have a career change, or to conform to the moral and ethical expectations of the job.

Sent from my iPad

On Jul 27, 2017, at 3:22 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:

I havent implied 'not having armoury to resist' is a legitimate defence. I agree such people as in pastors taking advantage of parishioners on both sides of the Atlantic (the case of Suleiman is still fresh) are guilty most grievously of a serious breach of trust (people wont on acount of pastor Suleiman be right in condemming all pentecostals or generalize would they?). 

 For me in the case of errant professors the low esteem in which they are held by colleagues ought to be the greatest deterrent  and sanction litigations aside.

   I know that in spite of the handbook you speak of breaches happen more regularly than you might know in the West but that is not a defence either. In the West if there is no complaint it is treated as agreement between consenting adults. I know in Africa particularly when the student is young  it is socially viewed (rightly) as you viewed it as abominable.

All Im saying is unless you can produce statistics to prove an overwhelming practice sweeping generalizations damage the reputations of both the good and bad as outsiders cant tell who is who and treat all as suspicious as my personal example I cited demonstrates.  You know how suspicious westerners are by nature dont you?

 



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Date: 26/07/2017 04:22 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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"but it is the DUTY of the teacher to resist.  Not all teachers have the armoury to resist."

Yinka, 

The first sentence above answers your own specious rhetorical questions. Student-teacher seduction happens both ways in all climes, but it is, as you said, the duty of the teacher to resist, being that he/she is in a position of authority over the student. Isn't that why it's called sexual harassment and is outlawed by universities in the West? 

If I didn't personally know you, I'd say that your second sentence above was an attempt to justify the epidemic of rape and sexual exploitation in Nigerian higher institutions. Because I know you, I'll chalk it up to defensiveness and a facile attempt to defend our colleagues in Nigeria. For goodness sake, being an academic comes with responsibilities. It is not for everyone. It's okay if you do not have the "armoury to resist" (we all have our weaknesses), but have the decency to get out of the profession and go and do something else, preferably something in which you can seduce and allow yourself to be seduced to your heart's content without breaching any ethical or legal lines. Do not remain in the profession and exploit people's daughters and wives entrusted to you to educate. It is a heinous crime. It is rape and it is an egregious betrayal of trust and the responsibility of your calling as an educator and mentor.

I guess you did not read Falola's statement that grasping to point out equivalences in the West is an outrageously escapist way to respond to criticism of malfeasance in Nigeria. It is the very definition of defensive racism and relativism. It is a very dangerous enterprise. So what if occasionally one hears of sexual harassment cases in the US? Who the heck is talking about the US? We are talking about Nigeria, and you predictably invoke the West to avoid having to deal with Nigerian problems on their terms.  Let me tell you something. Even before I came to the West, when I was an undergraduate in Nigeria, I seethed with rage against the misconducts, sexual and otherwise, of Nigerian academics, some of whom where my teachers. So, please do not assume that I am always engaging with these topics from a Western frame of reference. I am a Nigerian who is grated about Nigerian problems. Let Westerners deal with the problems of their own society.

Bit since you've invoked the West, let me say this. Professorial sexual harassment does not occur often in the US academy because there is deterrence and it is punished and results in incalculable personal losses to the harasser. Nigerian universities are sexual crime scenes. I say this advisedly and I am not exaggerating. Perhaps you have been away from Nigeria for too long or have not kept pace with the state of affairs in Nigerian universities. How many Nigerian lecturers have been punished for their sexual crimes against students? I personally witnessed many of them get away with full blown rape on my undergraduate campus in Nigeria. Nothing happened to them. Some of them were serial rapists. And guess what? The morally upright lecturers you speak of feed are the ones who feed you with stories of these misconducts and are happy when a spotlight is shone on the problem precisely because the sexual harassers (who may very well be in the majority, although you cannot investigate the number) reflect badly on the non-harassers. They are happy with me for highlighting the problem, and they are as outraged as I am, if not more so.

How many Nigerian universities have a faculty conduct handbook or a coherent policy on sexual harassment? Here in the West, when you're appointed you're given a handbook that tells you all dos and don'ts regarding interactions with students. And violations will cost you not just your job but your freedom if you're handed over to the police in egregiously criminal cases. Good luck telling your employers and/or the police that you don't have the "armoury to resist.


On Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 7:45 PM, Olayinka Agbetuyi <yagbetuyi@hotmail.com> wrote:
I have noted at least on two occasions Moses listing sexual predation as one of his grouses against Nigerian academics in a manner suggestive that it does not occur in the West.  Nothing can be further from the truth.

I was pub crawling with a Marketing lecturer  in one of North London universities when on learning I was a university teacher he asked for my views on SFG.  I said I didnt do it having adopted a policy of not mixing business with pleasure from the time I was an 18 year old single intern; not even with my fellow interns till they started thinking something was wrong with me somewhere.

He narrated how a Polish female student came into his office and was seated in a suggestive posture that bared all for him to see.

He said he confronted her with the statement 'Do you want to fxxx? He refused to oblige her.  He had two wives in Afghanistan.  

He said students were sent to the university not because they knew anything but because they knew nothing.

There was another publicised incident  in the papers of a 40 something lecturer from the University of East Anglia a couple of years before that caught in a liaison with one of his students.

And yours truly was the subject of  baits in the US in similar incidents to the Anglian lecturer which were all resisted.

As an undergraduate student in Nigeria I was witness to one of my female classmates who did the running for one of our lecturers succeeded and the only reason I knew was when he came to drop her off at the female hostel the following morning.  I knew several of the ladies at the time wanted to achieve what she did because of their comments in class.

I have gone to all these length just to show that in many cases and not just in Africa contrary to Moses's stereotyping denigration it is not just the teacher who is doing the harrassing but the female students; but it is the DUTY of the teacher to resist.  Not all teachers have the armoury to resist.

Again I have gone to these length to show that it is such steteotyping by Moses that leads to westerners humiliating African academics without any justifications as when I wanted to teach a group of youngsters and the teaching coordinator was making insulting insinuations that I could see that these were only kids implying that I should make no advances on them!  I felt so humiliated and insulted because they were only a few years older than my own children.

It is for this reason that Im asking Moses to apologise to the majority of the hard working and morally upright Nigerian academics he may have insulted by his comments.  People dont get morally upright simply because they teach in the American academy.  Not all that teach in America are morally upright.  It is not in all cases that academics sexually harrass students; sometimes students do the harrassing in all climes.



Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.


-------- Original message --------
From: Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com>
Date: 25/07/2017 01:33 (GMT+00:00)
To: USAAfricaDialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos,no.  1

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Oga Falola,

I really have no problem with the idea of celebrating exceptions, nor do I disagree about the moral and philosophical power of exceptionality. Exceptions demonstrate possibilities, and possibilities are what drive initiatives and hopes for improvement and progress. I get all that. But focusing on the exception can be quite misleading and it can exculpate and/or provide undeserved solace to the culpable.

Moreover, personal integrity and ethics are just one aspect of my contention. My main argument has to do with administrative capacity, commitment to students and faculty, nepotism, rigidity, outmodedness, and a general inability to grapple with the challenges of running a university in the twenty first century and doing right by students, the reason why universities exist. 

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 5:46 PM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Moses:
I do not want to get involved with this aspect, having just co-host a successful conference on higher education with over a dozen Vice Chancellors, with three reports already posted on this list.
The major thing that caught my eye is that you don't want to have exceptions. Theoretically, we should not encourage this. Practically, we should promote the culture of exceptions. Morally, it is good to point to good people so that society can have direction.

So, what would you say, if I were to tell you that one former VC is owing me money as we speak….he is on this list. It is not a big sum of money, to be sure, but he does not have it.
So, what would you say, if I were to say that one that I know very well is yet to finish his first and only house? He is so broke that when I saw him at Ondo, I promised to help.
So, what would you say if I were to tell you about Tamuno and Akinkugbe and Ayandele? Two of them are dead and one is alive, but I know their houses and their worth. If anyone were to say that Professor Tamuno stole a cent as VC at Ibadan, that person must be dead crazy.

Or more broadly, if people say that Nigerians are corrupt, I can say that for every Nigeria you accuse of corruption, I will bring 9 Nigerians who are not corrupt. I can say that Professor Gloria Chuku, a current head of her dept, if she sees a brief case of money on the street, will not take it. Or I can say Gloria Emeagwali will never steal anyone's money.

I am not turning exceptions into rule, but to say that society needs those people to make a moral point. Otherwise, society creates a void.
TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)


From: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of moses <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Monday, July 24, 2017 at 3:22 PM

To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

Malami,

I couldn't agree more about the VCs.... please don't even get me started on them. The processes by which VCs are picked are so corrupt and so riddled with nepotism, politics, and ethno-religious considerations that one would be naive to expect the chosen ones to be anything other than thoroughly politicized appointees with no commitment to faculty and students. As I write this in July 2017, in the twenty first century after the death of Jesus Christ (Prophet Isa), there are VC's in the Nigerian university system who have no email accounts, cannot surf the web even if their lives depended on it, and are functionally computer illiterate---or at least they were before their appointment. I know this for a fact. Go figure. 

Most of their allegiances lay not on campus but elsewhere in the political world. Even the problem of recruitment and retention that looms large over any discussion of faculty mediocrity and misconduct is largely the doing of VCs who force departments and units to hire unqualified minions or kinsmen of theirs, pseudo-academics who have zero interest in teaching, research, mentorship, and service and instead see their positions as platforms to earn salaries and benefits from a federal resource pool that nobody's father supposedly owns. If people like you talk they'll ask you: is it your father's money?

So, yes, VC's are responsible for a big chunk of the problem. They are mediocrity personified, and they enable and reward mediocrity among the professoriate. I have a dinner with the wife, so please let me not ruin my appetite by talking about the VCs, a despicable lot indeed. And please let no one come here to tell me that there are exceptions. Of course there are. But the one who was recently convicted of embezzling more than a billion Naira from Southwestern federal university (google it) is not one of them.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 1:22 PM, 'Malami buba' via USA Africa Dialogue Series <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> wrote:
Dear Moses,
The raw nerve here is 'battles and results', and I'll be very surprised to hear of any 'modest' achiever whose battles with institutional malaise are not greater than their results. And you need to widen the scope of your 'call outs' to include rogue VCs and their corrupting mentorship practices. In my experience, unaccountable VCs are at the centre of every unethical practice in our univeristies. The worst cases relate to students, who 'steal' water from tanks meant for toilets and use tiny torches in classrooms for revision at night! Without water and electricity for students on campus, no one can escape your 'modest' and indicting manifesto! It's modest, because you seem to underestimate the harmful effect of so many university VCs on the well being of students and the few good men and women who are struggling to do no harm as 'best option' under the tyranny of the 'big man'. Despicable sorts!! 

I may be right!

Malami

On 24 Jul 2017, at 18:05, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:

Excellent points, Moses.
The lost sheep parable by Jesus was all about this.
Anyone with three kids will spend more time and resources on the bad one than the two good ones!!!
We just have to do more work, unfortunately.
More work
More work
More work
Until we are tired.
TF
Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 24, 2017, at 11:57 AM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Oga Falola,

When I make these critical assessments, I deliberately generalize. That should be obvious to those who know my rhetorical gestures on this topic already. I omit the usual caveats and qualifiers. Of course, there are some exceptions to the picture I am painting---serious, committed scholars. teachers, and mentors in the Nigerian higher education system (some of them are my friends and collaborators). But that is precisely the problem. They are the exception. We need a critical mass of people who are committed to these ideals. That should begin with admitting that many of those who are teaching and mentoring our young people today have absolutely no business being in the academy. And there are way too many of them. If you got a PhD in history and became a professor of history without ever having to go to an archive, how the heck can you mentor a budding historian? How can you teach them how to navigate and make sense of an archive? 

You and I get an ear full whenever we interact with colleagues in Nigerian universities about how deep and hopeless the problem is. Some people from this side who wanted to go and help have been forced back; they had to relocate back to the West, giving up because the committed scholars you mentioned are too few and far between to make a difference. Zeleza and Amutabi seem to be doing well, although I have no detail of their battles and their results. You and I have had several conversations on this topic and we're on the same page. We go to these institutions and see things. You have told me numerous stories that I was not even aware of, stories that are even more scandalous than the ones I saw or experienced myself. Not only that, people within the system bring us the details of the rot and dysfunction. I informally mentor several Nigerian graduate students and you'd cry if you heard their stories. They are being let down by a corrupt and inhumane system and by clueless academics. Some of them who cross over to this side struggle immensely because they had been shortchanged by those who should have prepared them for higher academic challenges. You and I differ only in one sense: you seem to believe that praising people when they do not deserve it and giving effort grades will encourage change in the system. I believe otherwise. I believe that such false praise enables more dysfunction and encourages more impunity. I believe though that what both of us are doing are necessary. Someone needs to constantly call out the culprits of the rot beyond the hackneyed cry of funding. Professorial culprits need to be called out and shamed. At the same time, helping with collaborations, visits, donations, etc is also important, as is acknowledging the effort of those who are seeking to rise above the rot or live out the ideals of the profession. It is not an either/or situation, which is why I give you credit for your efforts. My critique is a systemic one.

By the way, Jennifer, who is a friend, has been in touch about her new AUN gig. She will do well there. AUN is being run on a different model. There is no ASUU there, and recruitment and retention are strictly on merit. Rewards are commensurate with measurable commitments to the ideals of teaching, research, and mentorship, not determined by a blanket national system of remuneration that does not reward or punish individual efforts. Zeleza's institution is also run on a similar model as AUN.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 10:21 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
Moses:

These ideas of commitment to higher education—teaching, research and mentorship—are there, from Malami Buba in Sokoto, Onwuka Njoku in Nsukka, Sati in Jos, Adeshina at Ibadan, Imbua at Calabar, Zeleza in Nairobi, Amutabi as Vice Chancellor, etc. etc. etc. that we have no choice but to empower them. My co-editor of African Economic History, Jennifer, has just moved to become the VC of American University in Yola, Nigeria, leaving her job here in the US. We must empower her. A catalog of bad things can be compiled, but where does this leave us? How many people will pack their luggage in Austin and move to Yola? I was approached for this same position and I turned it down.

How do we empower them, as a question, is what makes me sleepless. We must empower them, even minimally by words of encouragement.

We must cumulate what we do, you and I and others.

TF

Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)


From: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of moses <meochonu@gmail.com>
Reply-To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Monday, July 24, 2017 at 9:33 AM
To: dialogue <USAAfricaDialogue@googlegroups.com>

Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

Gloria,

In this particular case, I wish the glass of beer was half-full. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no beer in the glass. The answer to your question is yes. I answer yes because I want to link it to an argument that Ibram Kendi makes in his award winning book on the history of racist ideas, which is that the discourse of black moral perfection as a prerequisite for equality, which several black intellectuals, including Du Bois for a time, bought into, is a kind of racism, a kind of bigotry. He calls it uplift suasion. He argues and I agree that black folks who internalize this discourse of black moral perfection as a precondition for them obtaining what their humanity entitles them to, and who do not stop to ask why no such perfection is required of white folk, are guilty of benign racism. You could call it soft bigotry. 

However, what one is advocating is not perfection in Nigerian higher education. We want a modest commitment to the ideals of higher education--teaching, research, and mentorship. Crude relativism is not a productive retort to this advocacy because it is, once again, the soft bigotry of low expectations.

On Mon, Jul 24, 2017 at 7:31 AM, Emeagwali, Gloria (History) <emeagwali@ccsu.edu> wrote:

 The next time I meet Profs. Falola and Ochonu, I plan to hand each 
of them a glass of beer,  and find out  whether they  each  find the glass in  hand,   half-full,  or conversely, half- empty. Each glass will be identical, contain the same amount of beer, and will be 50% of total capacity.


         One more question:  Is there such a thing as the bigotry of
        hyper -high expectations?


Professor Gloria Emeagwali
Gloria Emeagwali's Documentaries on
Africa and the African Diaspora
8608322815  Phone



From:usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Kenneth Harrow <harrow@msu.edu>
Sent: Sunday, July 23, 2017 5:12 AM
To: usaafricadialogue

Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1
 
Well, this is THE question, what can we do. I admire toyin's efforts at supporting the scholarship of junior african colleagues. His conference, the subsidiary conferences and conferences he has promoted over the years, give people a place to present their work and to bolster the cv. Offers to help in publication are the most important in our profession. that's what we do: research and publish. Any help, mentoring, suggestions of where to place articles or books, etc., is probably the most valuable thing we can do to advance the careers of african academics here.
All of that work translates into supporting academics in africa as well, although the conditions are radically different. 
I also do believe supporting a publication, just to get it published, is meaningless. Supporting a publication so as to get a scholar's work out there, is meaningful. This is a real distinction. I would hope my simple ideas of mentoring and promoting scholarship—not pro forma, not just to put it on a cv or get promoted—but to join in the scholarly discussions we all try to share, that is what we should be doing. In large, like toyin, or in small, like reading a junior colleagues work and offering criticism. Not just to get it published, but to get it up to speed, to get it interesting. To believe in the value of the work, and to make it meaningful.
I believe in the value of this work. If we help those entering into the profession, if we regard it as our duty, the actions should follow.

ken

Kenneth Harrow

Dept of English and Film Studies

Michigan State University

619 Red Cedar Rd

East Lansing, MI 48824

517-803-8839

harrow@msu.edu

http://www.english.msu.edu/people/faculty/kenneth-harrow/


From: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu>
Reply-To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Date: Saturday, 22 July 2017 at 16:06
To: usaafricadialogue <usaafricadialogue@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: USA Africa Dialogue Series - Lagos State University in Photos, no. 1

A tiny question:
What concrete things can we do? It is that concrete things that all of us must reflect upon.


Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 22, 2017, at 9:02 AM, Moses Ebe Ochonu <meochonu@gmail.com> wrote:

Beautiful pictures from a beautiful campus. However, your over-the-top positive assessment of the university based on a brief visit, while consistent with your well known ideological project of showcasing the positive side of Africa, is tantamount to what Bill Maher calls the soft bigotry of low expectation. How many of these staff you speak of are committed to research and teaching? And how is LASU exempt from the widespread problems of poor research and teaching ethics, professorial impunity, ASUU tyranny, etc? And is LASU and UNILAG not the epicenters of "sorting." Are they free from the scourge of sexual harassment and sexual transactions in exchange for grades?

I realize that you're invested in a project of not criticizing or putting down African/Nigerian institutions and colleagues. That is understandable, given your extensive collaborations in multiple African universities. Some of us do not have such entanglements and the anxieties that come with them and are, moreover, past the point of caring about people's feelings. 

A whole generation of Nigeria's young men is being shortchanged and the country's future is being damaged and we must call culpable people out and criticize those deserving of criticism. We should not whitewash the mess or offer false or exaggerated praise in a patronizing manner. We diaspora Nigerians take offense when white people do that to us; we shouldn't do that to our continental institutions. Southern Nigerian universities do marginally better than northern ones, but they are riddled with the same problems that plague others. Nigerian universities have become incestuous national cake institutions where intellectual in-breeding, nepotism, ethno-religious insularity, and academic self-cloning reign and innovative thinking and interdisciplinary works are discouraged by academics wedded to formulaic, outmoded disciplinary templates.

We will tell the truth and refuse to be complicit in the ongoing collapse of public higher education in Nigeria. We're accountable to our conscience. This accountability is superior to any affinity we may have with colleagues and institutions back home.

On Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 6:46 AM, Toyin Falola <toyinfalola@austin.utexas.edu> wrote:
In over 300 photos, I will bring to you the impressive campus of Lagos State University, Nigeria. The Departments are all well staffed, and the students are incredibly talented and energetic. The millions of African young men and women represent our future, and their abilities at imaginations and inventions are so extraordinary that we may not even know that we are witnessing a revolutionary moment. To those who speak ill of these young men and women, they should check their thinking processes.



Toyin Falola
Department of History
The University of Texas at Austin
104 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, TX 78712-0220
USA
512 475 7224
512 475 7222 (fax)

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