FHEC seeks legal opinion on sexual harassment complaints

May 23, 2022 6:10 am

The Fiji Higher Education Commission is now seeking legal opinion from the Solicitor General’s Office on how to deal with complaints of sexual harassment of female students in universities.

Five months ago, the Commission had directed a leading university to investigate similar allegations after claims that lecturers and tutors were asking for sexual favours promising good grades.

Commission Director Dr Rohit Kishore confirms the investigation is still underway.

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He says they continue to put pressure on the university in question to conduct its investigation into the serious allegation.

“We have flagged this very strongly with the Vice-Chancellor to exhaust that internal system of investigation and they are doing that. I know it is delayed a little bit but we are on it. We make sure that they do it and we are watching very carefully how they are conducting the investigation.”

Doctor Kishore says they want to eliminate such practices from the system.

“Once their exhaust their internal system then we will come in as the external regulator and get into this. We are also trying to get our own legal opinion from the Solicitor Generals’ office on this, how to really deal with this. I have been listening to this for a very long time. As I said time and again it raises its ugly head and it is a very sensitive situation, students are involved and a number of times students want to remain in hiding.”

He says these allegations have emerged from time to time for many years and the Commission is also looking at its acts and regulation, and what sort of power of authority they have to intervene.