Dozens of Berklee College of Music students walked slowly down Boylston Street Monday afternoon in a silent protest calling out what they say is the school’s failure to uphold its “zero tolerance” policy on sexual harassment.
The protest, which lasted less than a half hour, was held in response to a recent Boston Globe report detailing accounts by multiple students accusing former Berklee professors of sexual misconduct, including a student who said one of the professors groped her while she was intoxicated.
The protesters made their way into a forum school officials were holding in the wake of the reports, where Berklee President Roger Brown addressed an audience that nearly filled the inside the school’s performance center auditorium. He began his remarks with an apology.
“To everyone who’s experienced harassment at Berklee, I’m so sorry,” he said.
Brown told the audience that 11 faculty members had been dismissed due to incidents involving reports of sexual misconduct since his tenure began in 2004.
He also said the school shared information about the allegations against Jeff Galindo, one of the professors named in the Globe report, with the New England Conservatory, where Galindo went on to teach after leaving Berklee.
Many students involved in the protest said the school’s actions have not been enough and criticized what they viewed as generic language in a mass email by administrators following the Globe report.
“Our safety is vital,” said co-organizer of the protest Sky Stahlmann, a first-year student. “We are Berklee. There is no Berklee without its students. So we’re here to bring forth what we believe is the definition of what are safety is contingent upon.”
As of Monday evening, thousands of people had signed an online petition asking school officials to detail how sexual misconduct cases are investigated and handled.
Brown told attendees at the forum that he will be creating a committee of 18 students, faculty and staff to address the students’ concerns.