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Spyglass: Of Spineless Sex Poachers And Grade Traffickers! 

By Azore Opio

I have been meaning to put my thoughts on this subject down for some time and the pictures of poached game in The Post No. 01094 of Monday, October 19 showing the senseless game killing that is going on really disturbed some people – especially animal lovers like us who relish ‘bush meat’. In order to get my exact thoughts in order, therefore, I started off by looking up the meaning of the word "poach".

The dictionary defines "poaching" as "to intrude on another’s preserves in order to pursue or kill game, or upon another’s fishing to catch fish…" Figuratively, poaching refers to encroaching upon another’s rights, profits, area of influence, etc… to seek an unfair advantage. There are also colloquial connotations of poaching: "to go after other women, while currently in a relationship"; that is hunting out of season; or to "try and seduce the partner of a friend or colleague in an awkward embarrassing sex pest style"; and the "immoral actions of an adult male who dates and buys things for teenage girls to seduce them into sex".  This is where the trouble is.

But first, there seems to be two types of poaching mindsets; those who don’t give a damn and those who think they are entitled to helping themselves to the plant, the game, the fish or the woman. The former, if for anything, should never exist if the person really cares about the target. Then, there are three types of poachers in this world; meat poachers, ivory poachers and sex poachers.

While meat poachers target animals they can sell the meat of, ivory poachers are well organised professionals who kill elephants and rhinos to sell ivory to foreign markets. Our sex poachers, sex pests if you like, lay their snares in classrooms and university corridors. And that is where the trouble is. They don’t buy gewgaws to seduce teenage girls into sex, but they use marks and grades tinted with threats to coerce their students into sex. Now, this is really bad. The trick is simple enough for a kindergarten kid to master at first attempt.

Let me tell you how far sex pests and students go in their efforts to "adjust" marks through seduction, what is aptly referred to as sexually transmitted marks. While some lecturers accept money to give pass grades, others prefer to hook female students; this is really where the trouble is!

Here is how it works – a lecturer starts off by identifying a pretty student. If you are ugly, you are sure you won’t walk into the trap. Often the pretty student is also brilliant. After a few words of encouragement, the lecher switches moods into a sinister mentor who will willingly fail the student if she tries to play hard ball. The big trouble is coercion, threats and intimidation are the tools of this lecherous trade.

A female student from the Department of Political Science in the "Place to Be", confided in Spyglass that she had to trade her sex for a "B+" grade. Previously, she had flunked when she refused to succumb to the advances of the amorous pedagogue. The grief-stricken student said she had to massage the lecturer’s "head of state" because she wanted to graduate; that is just all. A secluded hotel room settled the matter. There are other hotels whose names I am sure you would not want me to name in the interest of public decency, where lecturers conveniently transmit marks sexually after wining and dining with their female quarries.

For a plate of food, a few drinks and a fling in a hotel attic, one can pick good grades without stress. While some students barter their sex with marks, others prefer to give cash. Sometimes, just being a class delegate and a favourite of a lecturer can earn one very high points at UB. This works for male students who have nothing better to offer like their female counter-parts. In this case, one might not even have to sit for tests.

Another student sadly recalls that she had to cough up FCFA 20,000 for the sake of her womanhood to manage a pass grade in French 102, but still failed at the end of the year. She swore never to buy high grades nor "sleep" for it. Then there is this Economics student.

She likes learning. Her problem is passing with good grades. And with a mere FCFA 25,000, she can rake in a B+. Here is how it goes – FCFA 25,000, full names, course title and matriculation number sealed in an envelope and passed through a courier male student who passes it on to the lecturer. She is not alone in the business of buying good grades. Sometimes there are two or three others. That means the lecturer picks a cool FCFA 100,000 or so, and the students walk away with equally cool B grades, no matter what they write on their scripts.

An Economics lecturer is politely quoted as having once said; "I am not against the idea of students giving money to obtain high grades. Those who do so are the eager ones who want to pass at all cost. Even the hard working ones spend time and energy before obtaining good grades but the main objective here is to succeed, no matter the means used." This is where the trouble is.

 A lot others, who cannot rent out their genitalia pay cash. "It all depends on one’s physical appearance, persuasive powers and the personal relationship with the supervisor," says a male student, "the girls pay less than the boys. All those who give something are promised a B+ because the supervisor fears the difficult task of defending an "A" grade if he happens to be called upon to explain.

While we can castigate lecherous teachers and knavish students, we cannot help but drag in crooked parents who are more than willing to encourage their children to buy grades or trade sex for good marks. One student said her mother once gave her FCFA 70.000 to pay for two of her re-sit courses. Hm!

Another student confided that his parents paid a huge sum of money so that his elder brother’s Grade Point Average (GPA) could be increased. This transaction apparently took place at the Records Office. I am telling you all this so that you can see that behind some degrees are sleazy deals. It goes on and on.

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