The president of Georgetown College, a private Christian school in Kentucky, has been fired after allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate behavior were made against him by female employees.
“It’s been very, very sudden,” Dr. Jonathan Sands Wise, a vice president for the college, told The Daily Beast. He declined to share further details on the allegations, out of respect for “those hurt” by Jones.
The college’s board of trustees terminated William A. Jones’ employment on Monday following the allegations, which were made known to the administration on Sunday. Jones was accused of “a sexual assault of a female College employee, inappropriate behavior with another female College employee, and other conduct in violation of Jones’s employment agreement with the College,” according to a release from the school.
“The Board of Trustees launched an investigation, speaking with relevant individuals, and determined that the president had clearly broken his employment agreement with the college,” Sands Wise said. “Even without complete knowledge [of the situation], that was clear. They decided at that time they had to terminate [Jones’] employment to protect those who are vulnerable.”
The board’s chairman, Robert L. Mills, called a Monday morning meeting of an executive committee, which took immediate action to dismiss Jones. Later that day, the full Board of Trustees affirmed the move.
“Georgetown College does not tolerate violence or misuse of authority,” Mills said in a statement. “We hold our administrators, students and faculty to the highest standards of moral and ethical conduct. We are surprised and deeply disappointed by what we have learned.”
Jones was brought on as Georgetown’s president in July 2019 with a unanimous vote from the board, according to the college’s website. “I look forward to working with the Georgetown College campus and our alumni as we dream new dreams and strive together to bring them into reality for our students and local community,” he said in a statement at the time. “I pray that God will be merciful towards our efforts.”
The allegations, and news of Jones’ termination, were shared with the college’s 1,500 enrolled students and wider campus community on Tuesday. “I think it’s safe to say there’s definitely some shock,” Sands Wise said. “But we certainly are all working together and asking for everyone’s prayer.” He himself was “absolutely blown away” by the news, he added.
An email sent out by acting president Rosemary Allen told the community that the college was not the president, but rather its students, faculty, coaches, and staff. Georgetown’s mission—to serve its students—had not changed, she wrote, and it would remain focused on healing the community.
“We are going to have some feelings of grief and disappointment,” Sands Wise said, adding later that the college would be hosting a “listening session” for its students on Tuesday evening.
The college has engaged outside counsel to continue the investigation, and it’s unclear whether criminal charges will be brought against Jones.