Multiple women at colleges across the country have filed claims against their school administrators for failing to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct on campus. Administrators at Occidental College in Los Angeles, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania have recently left their posts, supposedly in connection with the claims. The federal government is undergoing an investigation with respect to Chapel Hill and Occidental.
The President of Occidental told the media that the college takes all complaints of sexual harassment seriously and that the man accused of mishandling such cases has been removed from his position as the school’s general counsel. The director of the Equal Opportunity Office at Chapel Hill retired after 30 years, but she claims that her retirement is unrelated to claims that she had a conflict of interest in running a sexual assault policy task force.
The Greek liaison for the fraternities at Swarthmore was accused of turning the other cheek to allegations of sexual assault by brothers of his own fraternity. The liaison is reported to have told victims of assault that his status as a fraternity brother and alumnus of the school came before his duties as a counselor or administrator. The liaison’s position has since been eliminated by the school, leaving him without a job. A spokesperson for Swarthmore announced that the school had decided to separate the roles of alcohol and drug counseling and fraternity advising, to avoid a conflict of interest.
Administrators and higher-level employees and employers of a company or organization, including universities, have an obligation to protect their underlings or students from sexual harassment or assault; failure to do so could be construed as negligence. If an employee feels that he or she is suffering from a similar situation at work, an employment law attorney may be able to help.
Source: Huffington Post, “Colleges Make Personnel Changes Following Sexual Assault Complaints“, Tyler Kingkade, July 11, 2013