- A recent report identified 13 staff members at St. Paul’s School, an elite private boarding school in New Hampshire, who had engaged in sexual misconduct or sexual assault between 1948 and 1988, The New York Times reports — and an additional 10 staffers who had been accused of “lesser offenses” were not identified by name.
- St. Paul’s is the latest in a string of elite institutions recently reported to have several faculty members involved in abuse or misconduct.
- Officials say releasing the names and findings of these investigations represents a shift in the way sexual assault is handled in education and prioritizes the safety of students over the reputation of individuals.
Whether it’s in higher ed or elite K-12 boarding schools, institutions must more firmly set the tone on campus climate and establish that no one is above reproach when it comes to allegations as serious as sexual assault. Just as critical as a zero-tolerance policy is transparency. Administrators can’t be held accountable for individuals, but as we’ve seen in higher ed with Baylor and Penn State, they can be held accountable for decades of cover-ups to protect the institutional brand.
However, on the other side of the coin, administrators should take care to thoroughly investigate each claim and all accused individuals should receive due process. In the case of St. Paul’s, the claims had been substantiated and covered up. But dismissing faculty and staff without a full investigation could open the institution up to lawsuits.