Dartmouth President Pledging More Aggressive Action Against Discrimination, Assault

Dec 12, 2018

Credit NHPR Staff

Dartmouth President Phil Hanlon is promising a “sweeping plan” to combat sexual assault following outcry from students, faculty and alumni over charges laid out in a recent federal lawsuit.

The complaint, filed Nov. 15, details years of alleged harassment and assault by tenured members of Dartmouth’s prestigious psychology faculty, claiming school administrators effectively ignored illegal behavior for years.

Hundreds of current students, alumni and faculty have recently signed open letters in response, in some cases demanding accountability from the school’s leaders and more aggressive action to prevent similar situations in the future.

Some are sharing their own stories of harassment and assault on campus, and calling for a withholding of donations during the school’s ongoing $3 billion capital campaign.

In an email to students, faculty and staff Wednesday co-signed by other senior administrators, Hanlon acknowledged “anger and pain” in the community, saying he'll announce details of a new strategy to prevent discrimination when students return to campus in January.

“Let there be no doubt: Dartmouth is redoubling its efforts to ensure that every member of our community can thrive in an environment that is safe, welcoming, respectful, and inclusive,” he wrote. “We owe it to the students who came forward in 2017, as well as to past generations of Dartmouth women and current and future students, faculty, and staff, to make our community the best it can be.”

Dartmouth will soon be filing a more detailed response to charges laid out in the lawsuit in federal district court in Concord.

“Over time, we will address each specific allegation openly and honestly and explain the careful and rigorous actions we took when students came to us with complaints,” Hanlon wrote.