Dartmouth today responded to a lawsuit brought by seven former and current students who are challenging how Dartmouth handled the response to the students’ complaints of sexual misconduct involving three former faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS).
The answer submitted to the court details the unprecedented action Dartmouth took in seeking to revoke the tenure and terminate the employment of all three faculty members after a careful investigation revealed conduct that was at odds with the College’s values and violated its policies. Dartmouth applauds those who alerted the College to the misconduct that was occurring.
Dartmouth had no knowledge of the misconduct that the students reported in April 2017 until they came forward with that report. Contrary to the allegations in the lawsuit, upon learning of the students’ concerns, Dartmouth promptly conducted a rigorous and objective review consisting of separate investigations of each of the former faculty members, led by an experienced external investigator who interviewed more than 50 witnesses and reviewed extensive documentation.
Based on those findings, the dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences recommended that the three faculty members lose tenure and their employment. Before this step could be taken, one of the faculty members retired and the other two resigned. Dartmouth has continued to ban all three from entering its property and from attending any Dartmouth-sponsored events, regardless of venue or location.
Also contrary to the allegations in the lawsuit, there is no evidence that Dartmouth knew about any serious misconduct in the department of the nature alleged in the complaint, before such conduct was reported in April 2017. Dartmouth did not condone any misconduct by the former faculty members, nor did it fail to address complaints brought to its attention.
Dartmouth will defend itself as an institution. Dartmouth will not defend the actions of these three former faculty members in court or elsewhere.
Earlier this month, Dartmouth launched the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I), a comprehensive program to create a learning environment free from sexual harassment and the abuse of power. It is the third pillar in a set of initiatives, building on Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF), which was launched in 2015, and Inclusive Excellence (IE), which was launched in 2016.
Dartmouth is working to ensure a learning and research environment that is safe, respectful, equitable, and inclusive for all students, faculty, and staff, and the College is taking timely and meaningful action to identify and eliminate any unacceptable practices or behaviors.