William Jones, the president of Georgetown College in Kentucky, was fired on Tuesday following allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct toward multiple female college employees.
The private liberal arts school and Christian college became aware of the accusations on Sunday and quickly launched an investigation. William Jones was accused of sexually assaulting a female employee, as well as engaging in inappropriate behavior with another worker at the school. He was promptly fired shortly after, which was announced by the school on Tuesday.
“It’s been very, very sudden,” Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise, vice president of Georgetown College in Kentucky, told The Daily Beast.
Rosemary Allen, the college’s provost, will serve as acting president by the College’s Board of Trustees, according to NBC News.
“Georgetown College does not tolerate violence or misuse of authority,” the school’s chairman of the college’s Board of Trustees, Robert L. Mills, said in an official statement. “We hold our administrators, students and faculty to the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct.”
Georgetown College in Kentucky has sought the help of “outside counsel” to continue their investigation, Mills also announced.
“The committee took immediate action to dismiss Jones,” he continued. “We are surprised and deeply disappointed by what we have learned.”
“We will support the members of our Georgetown College family who are directly impacted, and we will work cooperatively with ongoing or any future investigations,” Mills said. “We are confident in the leadership of Acting President Allen and the Board appreciates her dedication to the continuing mission of Georgetown College during this difficult time.”
Speaking with students, local reporters for CBS News affiliate WKYT said that they were surprised considering President William Jones had just spoken with them about what the school was doing to help prevent sexual assault on campus.
“President Jones had promised us some words during a meeting before school started about sexual assault never happening and that it wasn’t going to be a problem on campus,” a student who preferred to remain anonymous told WKYT. “It’s just weird how it comes back around in that way. It’s kind of scary in a way because I want to be safe on campus, I want to feel safe.”
“I just never walk alone on campus,” another student said. “It’s sad that I have to say that but it’s the truth.”
According to NBC News, William Jones’ alleged victim filed an emergency protective order (EPO) over fears for her safety. She claims that Jones sexually assaulted in a hotel room during a work trip.
Sexual assault allegations have been a major talking point in schools nationwide this school year, with thousands of students attending protests on campus. Many of the protests have been focused on Greek life, but Georgetown College’s case of President William Jones is one of the first of the year to come from higher ups on school staff.
On the West Coast on Tuesday, nearly 500 students at the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco walked out in protest over what they called a “toxic school environment” that turned a blind eye to sexual harassment and assault.
“Our school has acted in very performative ways when confronted with these issues,” 17-year-old senior organizer Sufiya Mirfattah-Khan told The San Francisco Chronicle. “They are the legal adults responsible for us. They have failed to protect us.”
Where most students’ ire stems from the school’s lack of ability to adequately respond to allegations, Jones was fired by the Board of Trustees not even 24 hours after hearing from the female employee.
One student interviewed by NBC News called the response “commendable.”
“I know people are looking forward to someone new,” said another student, “and hopefully positive changes.”