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Edna Manley principal facing heat - Board votes to suspend headmaster as probe continues into reports of sexual harassment cover-up

Jamaica Gleaner 2019-08-28 07:19:00
Ricardo Makyn/Chief Photo Editor Students and staff of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts disperse after a meeting to discuss updates on the sexual harassment scandal rocking the educational institution on Tuesday.

There are indications that Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts has been thrown into more turmoil following reports that Principal Dr Nicholeen DeGrasse Johnson has been suspended by the board of directors.

There was no confirmation from chairman of the board of directors Marigold Harding up to late yesterday on whether DeGrasse Johnson had been placed on suspension.

However, Gleaner sources revealed that by majority decision, the board voted to suspend DeGrasse Johnson with immediate effect amid an ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual harassment at the college’s Arthur Wint Drive campus in St Andrew.

That decision, one source suggested, had not yet been officially communicated to the principal because the board is scheduled to meet again “in short order to discuss a number of issues that have to be ventilated”.

“There is much more to it,” the source told The Gleaner on the condition of anonymity.

Minutes after the marathon board meeting ended, the staff representative who was in attendance reportedly told students and other employees during a hastily arranged meeting that a decision was taken to suspend DeGrasse Johnson.

According to reports, some teachers and students reacted with shock and anger. Reports indicate, too, that militant students are “planning some sort of protest” as a show of support for the embattled principal.

DeGrasse Johnson has faced public criticisms since a May Sunday Gleaner expose revealed allegations of sexual harassment made by female students against a male lecturer as victims complained of the administration’s efforts to sweep the matters under the rug instead of dispensing justice.