The first video detailing allegations of sexual misconduct came with a plea: “Please get Morehouse’s attention.”
The second followed soon after: “I too had the same experience.”
In separate posts on Twitter this week, two young men who identified themselves as students at Morehouse College shared their experiences with a staff member at the college who they said had been sexually inappropriate with them. They complained of sexualized comments and inappropriate references to their sexuality.
The videos were shared thousands of times and prompted a vocal online conversation about the handling of sexual misconduct at Morehouse, an all-male, historically black school in Atlanta.
In statements this week, Morehouse said it was investigating the complaints and had placed the staffer on unpaid administrative leave. The staffer, DeMarcus Crews, is identified on the college’s website as a member of its student services leadership team. He is an alumnus of the college who has worked there since he graduated in 2015, according to his LinkedIn page.
Mr. Crews did not respond to an email request for comment.
By Thursday, the college announced it was expanding its investigation to include additional complaints it had received against other employees.
“We have begun investigating all new complaints that have been reported over the past 24 hours,” the school said on Twitter. It included the phone number for an anonymous ethics hotline.
On Friday, Aileen Dodd, a Morehouse spokeswoman, declined to answer questions about the number or nature of the complaints received.
“The education and development of the men of Morehouse is our top priority, and the College will take the necessary action to protect the safety of its students,” the college said in a statement.
The allegations surfaced late Tuesday night in a video posted by Michael Key, who was identified by his lawyer as a 20-year-old rising junior at Morehouse.
In the video, Mr. Key said that, starting in his first year as a student, Mr. Crews made sexual comments to him, hugged him, pinched his cheek and tried to “force me to come out about my sexuality.”
“It got to the point where I went into a really bad depression,” he said.
He said he reported the behavior to the college, but he said Morehouse did not take action. No lawsuit has been filed.
Morehouse is consistently ranked near the top of the list of more than 100 schools designated by the Department of Education as historically black colleges and universities, or H.B.C.U.s.
“This story has pierced the hearts of graduates of H.B.C.U.s,” his lawyer, Tiffany Simmons, said in a statement Friday. “It is a disgrace that a black institution of higher learning would allow this to happen and it be swept under a rug.”
A few hours after Mr. Key’s video was posted on Tuesday, a second student retweeted it with a video of his own. That student, who identified himself by name and as a first-year student at Morehouse, also accused Mr. Crews of inappropriate comments and behavior. He alleged that Mr. Crews falsely told another student that he had come out to him as gay.
The second student did not respond to messages seeking an interview on Friday.
The videos prompted a broader conversation online about the environment for those who experience or report sexual misconduct at Morehouse, a small community of about 2,200 students.
The conversation follows a reckoning at other college campuses across the country, where issues surrounding Title IX, the federal law that protects against sex discrimination, have become central.
Morehouse is facing a Title IX lawsuit filed on behalf of a former student who accused a faculty chaperone of ordering alcoholic drinks for him and groping him on an airplane en route to a study abroad program in Brazil in 2015.
The suit argues that Morehouse failed to take action and properly support the student, who later had to leave the school. The student, who was identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, filed a Title IX complaint in 2017, according to the suit.
The faculty member in that case, Robert Peterson, is no longer with the college, according to Morehouse. No lawyer is listed for him in the case, and he could not be reached for comment Friday. In court documents, he denied the allegations.
Lindsay Cordes, a lawyer representing the student, said that the complaints that surfaced this week showed a pattern of inaction at Morehouse. “It was shockingly similar to what happened to our client,” she said.
Morehouse has said it has zero tolerance for campus sexual harassment and assault.
In 2018, the college’s president, David A. Thomas, said Morehouse had made progress on the issue in recent years, including hiring a Title IX coordinator. The position has since become vacant and is being filled on an interim basis by Morehouse’s vice president for human resources, Cassandra Tarver-Ross. She did not immediately respond to phone and email requests for comment.