BU parted with its private school president over a misconduct allegation
Boston University has removed the leader of its private high school, after the university’s investigators alleged that he had violated BU’s sexual misconduct policy, according to a letter obtained by the Globe.
The university announced earlier this week that it had parted ways with Ari Betof, head of the Boston University Academy. Betof had led the school of about 200 students, which is on the BU campus, since 2015.
The university, which oversees the school, launched an investigation into Betof’s behavior after a BU undergraduate student, who had babysat for Betof’s children, complained to the university, according to a letter to Betof from BU president Robert Brown.
According to the letter, Betof kissed her outside his home, after an evening drinking three bottles of wine with the BU undergraduate. His attorney, Ellen Zucker, said Betof’s wife was also present at the home that evening.
In the letter dated June 29, Brown denied Betof’s appeal of his disciplinary sanction.
“I agree with the findings of the EOO [Equal Opportunity Office] that your actions violated the University’s Sexual Misconduct/Title IX findings,” Brown wrote. “Even if there were insufficient evidence to conclusively determine [the student’s] level of intoxication when you kissed her, I cannot agree that you should be allowed to continue as an employee of Boston University. Your lapses in judgment in serving alcohol to a Boston University undergraduate student working as your babysitter and then kissing that same student (actions that you have admitted to) are incompatible with your position of Head of School.”
BU would not comment on the letter but did not dispute its contents. The university said the undergraduate was not underage at the time of the incident.
Zucker said in a statement she is dismayed that a private personnel document was leaked, “particularly given the incendiary and misleading nature of the information it contained.”
The Betofs did not meet the undergraduate sitter through any official BU channel and she had no connection to Betof’s work or position at the academy, Zucker said. She noted that Betof is not a member of the BU faculty.
On the night of the incident in September 2017, the sitter spent about six hours with both Betof and his wife in their home talking, and she drank no more than three glasses of wine, Zucker said.
When the sitter was leaving, as she approached a waiting Uber, she turned back, and she and Dr. Betof “quickly kissed,” Zucker said
“Dr. Betof has prided himself on his commitment to the independent school communities of which he has been a part,” Zucker said in a statement. “He regrets what occurred.”
Betof was previously head of school at New Garden Friends School in Greensboro, N.C., and served on the board of directors of the Friends Council on Education, a national association of Quaker schools.
Brown wrote in his letter that Betof did not provide any evidence that the undergraduate consented to the kiss.
BU’s policy discourages its staff from “entering into romantic or sexual relationships with undergraduate students, regardless of whether or not they exercise supervision over a particular student.”
According to the letter, Betof has been on paid administrative leave and will remain so until July 31. The university will allow Betof to remain in a BU-owned rental unit in Brookline until the end of August, but he will have to pay the full rental cost of the unit for that month, the letter said.