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Kuster: Allegations Suggest More Action Needed at Dartmouth to Combat Abuse

Baker Tower at Dartmouth College.
NHPR Staff
Baker Tower at Dartmouth College.

New Hampshire Congresswoman Annie Kuster said Monday she’s been hearing from fellow Dartmouth College alumni concerned about new allegations that the school repeatedly mishandled sexual misconduct complaints in its Psychological and Brain Sciences Department.

Seven current and former psychology students who say they were harassed and assaulted by professors filed suit in federal court Thursday. Two said they were raped. They say Dartmouth administrators protected three specific faculty members for years, sacrificing the safety and careers of women in the department.

Kuster, who herself was assaulted while a student at Dartmouth in the 1970s, has been a prominent advocate for survivors on the national stage.

She said Dartmouth needs to have a strong reporting process in place, as well as policies that protect survivors. "If the allegations in this complaint are true, then that broke down in a very serious way,” she said. “And I hope that the college will take steps immediately to provide a safe learning environment for every person – including graduate students.”

Kuster spoke Monday at a roundtable discussion on new Title IX rules proposed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Joined by Senator Maggie Hassan and representatives of colleges and universities across New Hampshire, she said the regulations would interfere with efforts schools are making to improve student safety, making it more difficult to protect survivors and denying their access to education.

No one from Dartmouth was present at the discussion.

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