William Kelley Resigns From Faculty

News subtitle

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

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(Photo by Eli Burakian ’00)

William Kelley, the last of three professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) who were investigated for alleged sexual misconduct, has resigned. His resignation followed a recommendation that Kelley lose tenure and be dismissed.

Kelley’s resignation is effective immediately, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 told the Dartmouth community in an email sent today. Kelley’s resignation follows the June 26 resignation of former PBS professor Paul Whalen and the June 13 retirement of former professor Todd Heatherton. (Heatherton was able to retire, given his age and length of employment, an option not available to Kelley and Whalen.)

“The past several months have been challenging for Dartmouth. We will now focus our attention on the work ahead to make this the best community it can be. I am encouraged by the progress we have made so far and know that together we can achieve this goal,” wrote President Hanlon.

Kelley’s decision to resign came after Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith recommended that his tenure be revoked and his employment terminated. She made the same recommendations concerning Whalen and Heatherton. All three former faculty members 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 the three men, Hanlon said.

In October 2017, Hanlon announced that Dartmouth had hired an independent investigator to conduct separate internal investigations of the allegations against the three. At the time, Heatherton was on sabbatical leave and Whalen and Kelley were on paid leave. Also at the time, New Hampshire state and local law enforcement officials said 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 recommendation for each man was assessed and upheld by the faculty-elected Review Committee, which is part of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. 

Hanlon wrote that “sexual misconduct and harassment have no place at Dartmouth. We will investigate all allegations fairly and impartially and hold accountable any community members found to have violated our policies or standards. Dartmouth’s sexual respect website offers assistance and resources to those in need. Please do not hesitate to seek help.”

The institution’s Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct, charged in January with reviewing revisions to institution-wide policies on sexual misconduct response, prevention, education, and accountability, has submitted its report for review by Dartmouth’s senior leadership. Following the review, Hanlon wrote that feedback on next steps would be sought from members of the Dartmouth community.

“We are committed to improving our culture as we seek a safe and inclusive environment for all members of our community,” Hanlon wrote. 

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

Susan J. Boutwell