Facing Dismissal, Todd Heatherton Retires From Faculty

News subtitle

The former professor had been investigated following allegations of sexual misconduct.

aerial shot of campus
(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

Todd Heatherton, one of three professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who have been investigated for alleged sexual misconduct, has retired after it was recommended that he lose tenure and be dismissed.

His decision to leave the College is effective immediately.

In an email sent today, President Phil Hanlon ’77 notified the Dartmouth community of Heatherton’s retirement. In addition, he said that faculty members William Kelley and Paul Whalen, who have also been investigated for alleged sexual misconduct, “remain on paid leave with restricted access to Dartmouth property” pending conclusion of College disciplinary proceedings in their cases.

Heatherton’s decision came after Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith recommended that his tenure be revoked and that his employment be terminated. However, according to College policy, Heatherton was able to retire, given his age and length of employment.

Heatherton will continue to be prohibited from entering Dartmouth property or attending any Dartmouth-sponsored events, no matter where they are held. The College has not entered into separation or non-disclosure agreements with Heatherton and has made no severance payment to him, President Hanlon wrote.

“This has been a challenging set of circumstances for the Dartmouth community. We have much work ahead of us as we continue to strengthen our campus culture. I am confident we are up to the task and I look forward to partnering with each of you as we make Dartmouth the best community it can be,” wrote Hanlon.

Hanlon wrote that “out of respect for the ongoing process” he would not disclose the recommendations Smith has made regarding Kelley and Whalen.

In October, Hanlon announced that Dartmouth had hired an independent investigator to conduct separate internal investigations of the allegations against Heatherton, Kelley, and Whalen. At the time, Heatherton was on sabbatical leave and Kelley and Whalen were on paid leave. Also at the time, New Hampshire state and local law enforcement officials said that they were launching an investigation into the allegations. The College continues to cooperate with law enforcement officials on their investigation.

The cases of the three men have followed Dartmouth institutional policy, as set forth in the Organization of the Faculty of Dartmouth College. Smith’s recommendations for each man was assessed and upheld by the faculty-elected Review Committee, which is part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Her recommendations regarding Kelley and Whalen are currently under review by a second faculty-elected committee, the Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, which draws its membership from faculty in arts and sciences and from Dartmouth’s professional schools.

The disciplinary process, Hanlon wrote in the June 14 email, “is multi-layered, rigorous, and designed to safeguard the rights of the participants—all parties were given ample opportunity to present information to the investigator, who conducted numerous in-person interviews with the parties as well as with witnesses.”

Susan Boutwell can be reached at susan.j.boutwell@dartmouth.edu.

Susan J. Boutwell