Thu | Jul 18, 2019

Edna Manley sends alleged sex harasser on leave

Published:Friday | May 31, 2019 | 12:34 AMJanet Silvera/Senior Gleaner Writer
Marigold Harding
Marigold Harding

WESTERN BUREAU:

The male lecturer at the centre of the sexual harassment and assault allegations at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been sent on leave.

This comes following a nine-hour meeting on Tuesday of the board of management at the St Andrew-based fine arts college.

The meeting was in response to a Sunday Gleaner exposé and subsequent reports alleging inappropriate behaviour, implicating at least two male lecturers, that has been affecting morale at the school.

“We have spoken to the accused, and the decision was made to send him on leave until the investigation is complete,” Board Chairman Marigold Harding told The Gleaner yesterday.

“We have also interviewed a number of persons in regard to the allegations and are planning on having another meeting tomorrow (Friday).”

Harding, who was appointed to the board in November 2018, said it was clear that there is a crisis of confidence engulfing the institution and that the board will not rest until “we restore the trust and integrity” that Edna Manley is known for.

She said the board would continue to have meetings and would leave no stone unturned until “we get to the bottom of these allegations”.

Harding added that the board was also experiencing a major challenge, with alleged victims being reluctant to come forward to place their complaints on record.

The board chairman also noted that it is very important that the male lecturer get a fair hearing, noting that natural justice requires that everyone who is accused of a crime gets the opportunity to challenge charges.

“We have to be careful how we deal with these serious allegations,” Harding told The Gleaner. “We also have to be cognisant that the accused also has rights. This is why we are urging affected persons to come forward so we can get their information and move forward with this investigation.”

Harding also hinted that there could also be a price to pay by anyone found to be complicit or culpable, adding that she was still bothered by the fact that complaints were made and “nothing was done”.

“Who were the complaints made to?” she asked. “This is the main reason why persons are reluctant to come forward.”

The school on Wednesday took to social media to urge students to lodge their complaints at yourconcerns@emc.edu.jm.

The statement added: “We are committed to the safety and well-being of our students and staff and aim to maintain a workplace and learning environment free of sexual harassment and all forms of violence.”

janet.silvera@gleanerjm.com