Sexual Harassment Complaints at the Edna Manley College– Stricter Laws Needed

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Despite repeated complaints from the students and even the faculty at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, action is yet to be taken on a male lecturer accused of sexually harassing his students. The perceived irony in this is that the Principal and two Vice Principals of this institution are all women. The case  worsens upon the realisation that the complaints against this particular individual have been made for the past over 2-3 years!

Even a US National Among the Targeted

There have been a number of students of the College who were victims of the senior faculty member. Meshane Williams-Meyers, a professor currently on a work permit in Jamaica, has now disclosed that she was also targeted. She is set to leave the institution in the next couple of months and she has confirmed all that the students have said on this male lecturer’s misdemeanors. Some of the accusations against this individual is that he would crack jokes which are sexually suggestive and not appropriate for the female students. According to the American professor, she has heard students say the accused has directly aimed remarks at them which amounts to sexual misconduct by any standards.

Mystery Surrounds Inaction on the Part of the Management

The three female heads of school, Dr. Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson, Principal and Kerry-Ann Henry and Dr. Trudy-Ann Barrett, Vice-Principals, are yet to take apparent action against the lecturer; though there are written reports describing in detail his actions with the affected students’ names. The issue at hand is why there has been no charges brought against the accused or even a dismissal. The students involved have also been threatened of not receiving deserved passing grades.

What is the Legal Option Available?

At last, the Principal, Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson has said there is an investigation being undertaken on the complaints. The US Professor, Williams-Meyers has said she has registered her complaint with the Bureau of Gender Affairs, and the United States Embassy. The real question would be – is there a legal remedy for the females who have been victims of sexual harassment under the existing Jamaican laws?

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