The first thing that comes to mind between inappropriate behavior for a student and teacher is sexual misconduct. For that very reason schools and universities all over the country have made sexual harassment training mandatory for all their teachers and faculty. Sadly, it's not a subject that Howard University in Washington, D.C. has taken on with much determination.
Five Howard University students have come forward with claims of sexual harassment ranging from inappropriate comments to actually touching the five students in a sexual way. The five women are claiming that Bright-Abu sexually assaulted them from September 2010 until April 2011.
The five women in the case also claim that nothing was done about the matter after the problem was brought to the school authorities. If this was true, sexual harassment training would be the school's first option for overcoming this problem, but they said nothing to Bright-Abu. Finally, after months of abuse, the women went to D.C. police and the school was forced to act.
One of the plaintiffs in the case, Rukayatu Bello, 22, was quoted as saying, "I really hope no one else has to experience what I had to go through". However, Howard University released a statement saying that they cooperated fully with the police after the administration became aware of the problems with bright-Abu.
The University does admit, however, that as soon as law enforcement came to them Bright-Abu was placed on administrative leave. After a brief internal investigation, the librarian was terminated from his job, giving credence to the idea that he was sexually harassing students. After hearing this, the easy questions instantly come to mind, such as, why didn't the school require Bright-Abu to enroll in sexual harassment classes once they learned of the problem? And, are the school admins saying the students never came to them for help?
According to police records, the unwanted sexual abuse moved from conversation to unwanted sexual contact by Bright-Abu. In April, the women he was assaulting had said enough is enough. They went around the school administration and filed an official police report. Last July the defendant, Bright-Abu, was convicted of two counts of misdemeanor sexual abuse and one count of simple assault. Two of the five women have since graduated, but the other three claim the school has done little to change policies or to keep such things from happening again.
Steve Bullock, one of the lawyers representing the women, said "…Mr. Bright-Abu was known as a flirt in the library with students, and his superiors didn't do anything". This again, brings up the question of why wasn't Bright-Abu placed in a sexual harassment training classes long before his actions hurt more students and put the school into the national spot light in one of the worst ways possible.
It's clear and evident that Howard University needs to change their sexual harassment policy to make all faculty take sexual harassment classes in order to prevent situations just like this. It is also clear that if the school had taken action when the women approached the school administration in the first place, the pain they suffered could have been lessened and even stopped.