Lecturers’ tale of students offering sex for marks

What you need to know:

Sexual advances in the lecture rooms are a case of well-planned crafty workings by female students to hook lecturers for ulterior motives.

Whenever soliciting for sex at the university is mentioned, what quickly comes to mind is lecturers wanting or even demanding sexual favours from their students. At all public and private universities in the country, there have always been reports of students complaining about their lecturers demanding sex from them in exchange for academic favours. There is, however, another side to this story - the story of students offering and pleading to give the lecturers “anything they want” so as not to re-sit an exam, test or coursework.

It is a story that has rarely, if at all, openly been told. But some lecturers at Makerere University, on condition that their identity is concealed, were willing to divulge the female students’ sex schemes at this prestigious institution. One of them is a lecturer at the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (CIT). He is a young man in his early 30s. For purposes of this story, we shall call him Batte (it’s only coincidental if there is a lecturer at CIT called Batte).

Students plan ahead
Batte says, “Way before the semester begins, female students find out what lecturer will be teaching which course unit. Once they have acquired this information, they weigh their options and make decisions accordingly. They will know who is a no-nonsense lecturer that they will not bother with their crafty schemes. They will go for that one they suspect can easily succumb to their appetising offers.” He notes that if, in the student’s opinion, there is no way she can get to the lecturer she considers “no-nonsense,” she would rather not take that course unit altogether.

Batte, who has taught at Makerere University for five years, says these are either lazy or dull students or the I-don’t-care type of students. “They are trying to find the easy way out. They know that they will fail the exams and are therefore planning a way out in advance to escape retakes,” he says. A student is discontinued when they accumulate retakes.

The female students get telephone numbers and email addresses for the unsuspecting lecturer and become friendly to him. “They start calling you very often at any time of the day or night, introducing themselves so you can know them by name. They also sit in the front row and wear skimpy clothes. Their intension is for you to recognise them by face and also to seduce the lecturer with their exposed body parts.”

Evening classes more lethal
Students on either programme - day or evening are involved. Evening programmes make lecturers even more vulnerable to these girls. The classes often begin at 5pm or 6pm and end at 9pm or 10pm. “At the end of the lecture, they surround you outside the lecture room. Others will find you in your office. Some will have even called you before the lecture to inquire whether you will be coming to teach or not, never mind that when a lecturer won’t be teaching that day, we often communicate through class representatives!”

Batte says there are students with genuine academic reasons who will want to consult their lecturers but there are those whose motive the lecturers can tell.

If there is a possibility of missing a test or coursework, a student is supposed to communicate. However, according to Batte, the naughty ones will not, and when reminded of the policy of informing the lecturer, she will feign ignorance.

Consequently, such a student is entitled to a mark-up (a test given to students who genuinely miss earlier test). Some of the students turn down these mark-ups and prefer “marks, and not lots of marks,” Batte notes. “They only want to pass. She will tell you to just give her 50 per cent which is the pass mark at Makerere University,” he adds.

The computer science lecturer notes that whereas majority of the girls who are involved in these schemes do so deliberately, others are caught up in situations where they think that it is only offering sex to lecturers that they can pass. “These are mainly working students whose tight schedules at their places of work sometimes make them miss tests or exams,” he says. “Others do so out of pressure from their strict parents who want nothing less than passing and then graduating. These are usually students from well-to-do families,” he adds.

Either way, Batte says the situation is an uncomfortable one for lecturers. “You become confused. You want to be professional in your work but here is a girl in front of you making demands. Some will offer you money but those are few. They probably know you have the money so that won’t move you easily. She will plead with you, saying, in front you ‘please I will give you anything’. You look at this girl and say ‘Oh my God!’ She has everything you would want in a woman. You are not married. The temptation is strong.”

Batte is not the only lecturer caught in the girls’ webs. A doctor in the College of Natural Sciences said female students approach him to leak to them exams. “They will call you and ask to meet you at a joint in town. They come dressed in awkward dresses and then sit in awkward positions. Then tell you how she’s finding difficulty with your course unit and ask you to help her out by telling them what you set?”

The reward of course is that she and the lecturer “can have time together after she has finished the paper or when the lecturer is free,” according to the science lecturer.

While the majority of girls involved in this practice literally present sex at the lecturer’s desk through glib and seductive appeals, Dr Batte confessed that there are bold girls who will tell the lecturer to his face that if they want sex it is okay with them.

Female lecturers are no exemption
The practice is obviously common with female students and male lecturers but that is not to say that female lecturers are spared the drama. Some male students have dared the junior female lecturers. A lecturer in the department of Journalism and Communication, shared an experience of a male student approaching her. “At first, I thought he was just like any other student coming for consultation but then it became quite often and he behaved differently. It never crossed my mind that he was up to something, so, I ignored his gestures. He kept coming to my office until he told me he wanted to take me out. I was shocked and angry. How could a student, my student, a mere year two student, make advances at me?” said Mbabazi (not real name).

Mbabazi doubts that majority of the male students, unlike girls involved in this practice, do it for marks. “If there are those seeking marks from female lecturers, they are few. Most of them must be seeking glory – just to boast among their peers that they sleep with their lecturers,” she says, adding that she wasn’t up for being the subject of the boys’ conversations. “I warned him never to say such a thing to me or even contemplate it again. I threatened to push him out of my class if he dared to do it again.”

It appears, as Batte notes, the responsibility is more on the lecturers to work out this problem than it is the students. “It depends on how you respond to them. The girls will read you and know whether or not you are prey.”

It appears that lecturers must in addition to scheming their lesson plans have to scheme how to elude the tricks or fall for the sexual advances.