A Morehouse College student’s viral Twitter video alleging sexual misconduct by a faculty member has prompted other students to post similar videos, and the all-boys Atlanta school is finally investigating.
The first student says the school ignored his complaints for over a year.
That student, who has remained unidentified, posted two short videos on Twitter Tuesday night detailing how he was harassed and how the school dropped the ball on addressing the issue.
“The second semester of my freshman year, I was assaulted by a staff member at Morehouse by the name of Demarcus Crews,” the student said in the video.
The student said that Crews, a graduate of Morehouse who's been working at the 2,200-student university since 2015 as its director of Housing and Residential Education, repeatedly made inappropriate remarks to him, questioned his sexuality, and touched him.
Since the first student shared his video, two other students have come forward on Twitter claiming that they, too, have been harassed by Crews or other unidentified staff members on campus.
Similarly, they claim that Demarcus questioned and started rumors about their sexuality as recently as this year. As of Thursday morning, the videos had racked up more than 750 million views combined. It has also stirred up support from social media users demanding answers as to why this issue went unaddressed for more than a year and a half.
On Wednesday, Morehouse President David A. Thomas said that Crews has been put on unpaid administrative leave while the newly-opened investigation unfolds.
“It is a top priority of mine to ensure students and staff feel safe, respected and fairly treated at Morehouse,” Thomas said in a letter to the school's student government association. “My support goes out to anyone who feels they have been mistreated in any way at Morehouse College.”
But the student whose video sparked the investigation said that school officials not only failed to address his complaints but outright ignored them. He said that he and his parents reached out to both the school’s former and current Title IX directors over the phone, in person, and via email, and neither of them did anything to address it over the three-semester period.
The student said the repeated unwanted advances put him into a deep depression.
“It’s really been bothering me,” the student says in the video. “I started breaking down and crying today because I told Title IX. I reported it the day after.”
He also said he came forward with his story in hopes of helping other Morehouse students.
“I know there are other students who have experienced some type of shit from Demarcus Crews,” he said. “So I just really need you all to be by my side on this and get Morehouse to hear me, because I’m tired.”
The school started an anonymous hotline for students who want to report similar complaints they might have. VICE News has reached out to Morehouse College for an update on the investigation and whether the hotline has received any more reports of sexual misconduct. We will update the story as needed.
The student thanked people for their support with another video posted Wednesday morning.
Cover: screenshot from Morehouse student's Twitter post