SSU Police Chief On Paid Leave, Complaints Allege Sexual Misconduct

Mar 28, 2018

Savannah State University’s Chief of Police James Barnwell remains on paid leave following allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment.

Abda Quillian is an attorney in Savannah. She alleges multiple incidents took place over the last two years. Quillian says she filed complaints on behalf of two women currently serving as campus police officers. One was addressed to the University System of Georgia’s Board of regents, and another went to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination.

“Both of these complaints contain allegations that are very serious. There are of an improper sexual nature and sexual harassment,” Quillian said.

The EEOC says "possible charges (complaints) made to the EEOC are strictly confidential, and we are prohibited from commenting on them, furnishing any information on them, or even confirming or denying the existence of such a charge." Savannah State’s spokesperson says the university has no comment on the ongoing personnel matter.

The university named Barnwell director of public safety and campus security two years ago. He is at least the third person to lead the university’s public safety department in the last five years. His leave with pay comes amid concerns over campus safety at Savannah State.

**This post was updated to include new information on 4/3/18**