Colleges “pass the trash” when professors are accused of sexual assault

Madison Rexroat

Sexual assault accusations are no laughing matter on college campuses. When the accusation is of another student, federal law requires schools to disclose information from any level of investigation to both parties – the accuser and the accused. If an employee of the school is accused, however, the school does not have to say what happened to that employee, which often allows faculty to quietly resign and move on to another school.

This practice of “passing the trash” not only leaves abusers unpunished, but it creates an unsafe environment for students at the professor’s new school. There aren’t just a few instances of it, either. Schools across the nation, including the Ivies, have not disclosed past accusations to other schools, nor have those other schools conducted extensive background research into new hires.

Even the University of Kentucky was accused of covering up a sexual assault accusation when former professor James Harwood resigned in 2016 amid a sexual assault investigation. The agreement between the university and Harwood included full pay until the date of his resignation and health benefits until either the end of 2016 or until Harwood had another job.

Until schools have better methods of investigation and more thorough hiring practices, students will continue to share campus with potential abusers with a hidden past. 

To read the full article by BuzzFeed News, click here.