Morehouse College is doing major damage control amid allegations that it ignored a sexual harassment complaint by a student who claimed he was sexually assaulted and harassed by a male staff member.
The controversy unfolded Tuesday and continued growing Wednesday after a Morehouse student posted a pair of videos to Twitter accusing a director of student housing of sexual assault. The college sophomore, who did not identify himself, said he complained to the school’s Title IX office, only for his concerns to fall on deaf ears.
“It got to the point where I fell into a really bad depression,” he said. “I noticed I was smoking more, just sh*t I don’t normally do.”
“It’s just really been bothering me,” he added.
The historically Black, all-male college responded to the videos Wednesday, saying it launched a formal investigation into the claims and that DeMarcus K. Crews, who is identified on his LinkedIn page as a interim director of housing and residential education at Morehouse, has been placed on unpaid leave.
“Maintaining a safe and secure campus for our students, faculty, staff, and visitors is a priority at Morehouse College,” the school said in a statement obtained by Atlanta Black Star. “We will take appropriate and immediate action against anyone involved in compromising the safety of our community.”
“We have demonstrated that in our urgent response to these allegations,” it continued. “Our support goes out to anyone who feels that they are a victim of sexual misconduct.”
Morehouse President Dr. David A. Thomas also mentioned the school’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures guidelines, which allows for “disciplinary action, including dismissal, of any student, faculty or staffer” who engages in inappropriate behavior. In a statement, Thomas said the school’s senior student services officer has reached out to the student, and others who’ve voiced concerns in the wake of the controversy as officials work to investigate “these very serious allegations.”
As of Thursday, the videos posted to Twitter have been shared more than 7.2 million times, and racked up nearly 500,000 views.
The young man’s claims have since opened the floodgates, as several other students came forward to lodge complaints against Morehouse and its handling of campus sexual assault incidents.
“Sickening. I hope this young brother and and the others who have come forward are surrounded with love right now,” writer Jamilah Lemieux tweeted. “What are you going to do to address this? @Morehouse?”
“I can personally say that @Morehouse College’s Title IX office is a complete JOKE,” another chimed in. “They give victims the run-around and refuse to properly handle their cases. I’m sorry that you and other students affected, have had to go through this.”
“Praying for the men of Morehouse who were impacted by fallacious trust presented to them by staff members,” wrote another. “Title 9’s lackluster approach to situations at HBCUs have crippled the student body/administration relationship.”
One critic put it plainly: “@Morehouse, you need to protect your students!”
Watch more in the videos below.
Please get Morehouse’s attention. Myself and other students have suffered too long!! pic.twitter.com/KGmoquTCvW— Michael Key (@GrindAlways__) July 17, 2019