Dartmouth Gives Updates One Year After Launching Effort to Improve Campus Climate | New Hampshire Public Radio

Dartmouth Gives Updates One Year After Launching Effort to Improve Campus Climate

Jan 8, 2020

Credit NHPR Staff

About 100 people attended a town hall meeting put on by Dartmouth College on Wednesday to update community members on a plan to improve campus climate.

The Campus Climate and Culture Initiative has been in place for a year and focuses on eliminating sexual misconduct and abuse of power on campus.

The initiative, which had been in the works since 2018, was rolled out last January after seven women filed a federal lawsuit alleging Dartmouth failed to protect them from sexual harassment and abuse.

Joe Helble is Dartmouth's provost. He says positive steps were taken in 2019, including mandatory sexual violence prevention training, a uniform sexual misconduct policy and beginning reviews of academic departments.

"The goal is to build an environment and community that is supportive for every single member, every single individual,” he said.

The plan did receive pushback last year from advocates. They said the initiative doesn’t go far enough.

Helble convened a working group last year to look at issues of professional interactions among faculty, staff and students.

"So are senior faculty truly giving junior faculty a voice? Do junior faculty truly have an appropriate say in the kind of responsibility they're undertaking in the department or institution? "   

Helble says he plans to start implementing recommendations from the working group later this year.

Faculty and staff can also apply to become "C3I Ambassadors," who would lead “change in their respective departments to reduce the harm of gender bias.”

Ambassadors would facilitate a gender bias training with their department and work with the director of the Campus, Climate and Culture initiative to create a change management plan focused on reducing gender bias in their department.

In August, Dartmouth and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit reached a $14 million settlement. As part of the proposed settlement, Dartmouth and the plaintiffs would work together on some initiatives to improve campus climate.

That settlement is still pending a judge's approval.

The college plans to establish performance indicators for this initiative later this year, after it meets with its external advisory committee in April.