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Ghanaian student’s PhD scholarship at Ohio University in danger over anti-LGBTQ+ comments

A Ghanaian student majoring in biological science at a university in the US runs the risk of losing his PhD funding due to a tweet shared about anti-Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+).

Derrick Boadi Sakyi’s problems began when one of his tweets was reported on Twitter on June 21.

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A pro-gay rights activist in Ghana who identifies as “intersex,” Papa Kojo Ampofo, filed a petition with the school where Sakyi was enrolled.

“One guy sent me death threats and I just checked his profile. He’s been inciting hate for years…in one of his most recent tweet, he confessed setting up gay men to be beaten and blackmailed and said if Ama allows him to correctively rape her, he’ll get get her to the bar.

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“I’ve found his name and details on LinkedIn and he moved to the US two weeks ago to start a PhD in Ohio. I want everyone to hold on tight because this TL is about to get bloody messy af in the coming days,” Ampofo tweeted on July 21.

As per the Ohio-based institution’s statement, they have decided to suspend the Fellowship and Funding of an individual, Sakyi, until the investigation is completed. The matter is currently under the University’s jurisdiction.

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The university further revealed that Sakyi himself admitted to posting the tweets and sending anti-LGBTQ messages to activists via their inbox. Additionally, he has taken down the account associated with these actions.

Ampofo, in response to Sakyi’s actions, shared screenshots of a petition he submitted to the school and the subsequent response. The response confirmed that Sakyi’s scholarship is at risk due to his expressed views.

The institution clarified that the scholarship Sakyi received comes with an expectation that fellows will respect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community and other minority groups. As a result of his conduct, which contravened their guidelines, his scholarship is in jeopardy.

“The goal of our fellowship and Funding is to provide access for minority groups including the LGBTQIA+ community, Applicants from the Global South, first generation students and people with disability.

“Our decision to grant Fellowship and Funding to Mr Derrick Boadi Sakyi to fund his PhD in Biological Science went through stringent selection and interview process. His Fellowship and Funding was given on the basis that he remains a good representative of our school and advocate or an Inclusive and Diverse school and work environment,” the school added.

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