She didn’t understand this preoccupation with men that most students except her seemed to harbor. Sometimes, she felt like the only grown-up in a room full of adolescents when the conservation turned, as it invariably did, to the subject of relationship between lecturers and female students. Stella had always thought that being in the university campus must be a lot like being in a small town. Everyone knew everything there was to know about you and what they didn’t know for a fact, they invented.
Most young girls were touting the glories of their freedom from strict control of parents. Comfort, Stella’s roommate, was a tall, slim girl with large dark and dazzling eyes. She adored men and was a shameless flirt. She was fond of giving male lecturers her patented, come-I-am-available welcoming smile. She was one of the students who slept with Dr. Kenneth in order to pass his course, Chemistry 211.
Dr. Kenneth, most of the students he’d dealt with were very willing. Some had even come looking for him, and this gave him a jolt of dark satisfaction, but Stella’s air of refinement didn’t fit with his neat, preconceived image at all. Well, vulgar or refined, he resented being dismissed by his student. Stella was not a flashy dresser like her more flamboyant course mates especially Comfort, but she had a fabulous body. It was a shape that attracted stares: fairly tall, wide-shouldered, deep chested, and wasp-waisted, with a tiny, tight butt and long legs.
It was her ironclad rule of hers never to become personally involved with her lecturers in the university. She had seen her fellow students do it and it was her observation that it invariably led to nothing but trouble.
Comfort was always sleeping with one lecturer to the other. It was kind of a standing joke in the university that, “She was always in heat.” And Stella was very selective she rarely goes out with any one. She had always prided herself on her own self-discipline. She had worked hard to achieve a level of self-regimentation. She could force herself to complete any task, no matter how unpleasant and difficult it might be. But she had never possessed the ability to disguise the effect that unpleasantness might have on her.
Beside, for the life of her, she couldn’t decide whether she was relieved or hurt by the distance the other students were keeping. In her present state of mind, it felt like a no-win situation, where kind word or cruel, she was going to burst into embarrassing tears at any moment.
She had been raised to project an image of perfection at all times. Day after day, as a child and a young adult, her obligation to uphold the family image had been drummed into her ears, and it was a lesson, once learned, that was difficult to reverse.
Dr. Kenneth harbored an urge to have a relationship with Stella. He closed his eyes and swore beneath his breath. Re-opening them, his gaze was drawn straight back to Stella, just so it had been from the very instant he had walked into the lecture room.
After the lecture, he invited Stella to see him in his office. She didn’t know why he wanted to see her, so she decided to honor the invitation. When she entered his office, Dr. Kenneth stood from his seat and walked toward her. She had no idea what he was intending to do. He had pulled her to him so quickly; she hardly had time to react. Automatically, she raised her hands to push him away. His mouth kept opening over Stella’s. Restlessly, he slanted his lips over the fullness of hers. When she resisted his move, he raised his head, stared her eyes for a moment, and then, came to her from another direction, using the hand in her hair to tilt her face to accommodate his kiss. She still resisted his efforts.
She was being impolite, which was a rarity indeed from this girl who had been raised always to observe the proprieties, regardless of provocation. Dr. Kenneth was surprised because Stella was not like the other student he dated. They were free and easy, usually uninhibited. Comfort had no problem with Dr. Kenneth. Stella did not care to judge other’s lifestyle, the truth of the matter was that the last thing she needed at now was a parade of strange men constantly coming and going.
When Dr. Kenneth saw he was not going to get through Stella’s resistance, he ordered her out of his office. “Get out of my office and be ready to repeat my course, because no matter what you write; you’re going to fail.
Stella walked out of his office, angry for Dr. Kenneth’s sexual harassment. She decided to report his threat to the Vice Chancellor of the university the next day. She was unprepared to succumb to his move simply to pass his course. She was ready to study hard to pass her examinations, without indulging in any examination malpractice.
She was lying on her bed in the hostel feeling downcast, when a hand squeezed her shoulder and she jumped, her head snapping around. Kate was her course mate, stood over her, smiling at her sympathetically. “I’m sorry you had to face that horrible Dr. Kenneth,” she whispered, bending down. “You’ve always been so nice to me, helping me with my chemistry.”
Quick tears of gratitude rose in Stella’s eyes, and she smiled tremulously as she reached up and gave Kate’s hand on her shoulder a quick squeeze in return. “Thanks,” she whispered in reply, and she smiled to herself and Kate moved away. Kate was a good student and she used to study with Stella.
The following day, Stella went to the Vice C hancellor’s office. After fifteen minutes wait, she was granted audience. She reported Dr. Kenneth’s threat.
“Are you sure, Dr. Kenneth made the threat?”
“Are you ready to say what you’ve just told me in his presence, because I intend to form a committee to look into your allegation?”
“I’m ready, sir.”
The Vice Chancellor constituted five-man committee to investigate Stella’s allegation and report back to him in two weeks. The committee went into immediate action. During their sittings, seven other students came forward to testify against Dr. Kenneth claiming he had also tried to harass them sexually. The committee’s report was submitted after two weeks indicting Dr. Kenneth of unacceptable behavior in the academic community.
The senate of the university studied the report and decided to suspend Dr. Kenneth from the university for three months; within which more detailed investigation into his activities with the female students in the university will be fully conducted. It was agreed that he will be dismissed if he was found guilty of the allegation of trying to sleep with the female students in order to pass his course.