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To the Dartmouth community,
I am writing to let you know that a lawsuit was filed today against Dartmouth by former and current students. The suit follows the departures this past summer of three faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) whose misconduct I have communicated with you about previously.
I would like to reiterate that sexual misconduct and harassment have no place at Dartmouth. We applaud the courage displayed by members of our community within PBS who brought the misconduct allegations to Dartmouth's attention last year. And we remain open to a fair resolution of the students' claims through an alternative to the court process.
However, we respectfully, but strongly, disagree with the characterizations of Dartmouth's actions in the complaint and will respond through our own court filings. As a result of the misconduct we found earlier this year by the three PBS faculty members, we took unprecedented steps toward revoking their tenure and terminating their employment. They are no longer at Dartmouth and remain banned from our campus and from attending all Dartmouth-sponsored events, no matter where the events are held.
We conducted a rigorous, thorough, and fair review of the allegations, consisting of three separate investigations conducted by an experienced external investigator who interviewed more than 50 witnesses and reviewed extensive documentation. Throughout this disciplinary process, we took steps to protect the privacy and procedural rights of all the parties involved.
I know I speak for the board of trustees and Dartmouth's senior leadership when I say that we are dedicated to maintaining a safe and inclusive campus for all members of our community.
Dartmouth offers a range of support services to all, including those who have made reports of sexual assault and misconduct or would like to make reports. The services can be found on Dartmouth's sexual respect website at http://dartgo.org/sexualrespect. Please do not hesitate to seek help.
Early this year, we convened the Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct to review institution-wide policies and procedures on sexual misconduct response, prevention, education and accountability. As part of this ongoing process, we are now gathering campus-wide input on a new unified policy and mandatory comprehensive training plan.
At Dartmouth, we remain committed to improving our culture as we work to make our community the best it can be.
Philip J. Hanlon '77