Combatting Sexual Assault

To Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff,

Over the past few weeks, I have heard powerful stories from members of our community about the anger and pain evoked by allegations in a lawsuit brought against Dartmouth by seven current and former students in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS).

I admire the courage the students showed in bringing forward their complaints last year. I deeply regret that an environment existed on our campus that was so at odds with our values.

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. 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.

We unequivocally share the goal of the women who brought the lawsuit that we must pursue "meaningful reforms that will permit women to engage in rigorous scientific study without fear of being sexually harassed and sexually assaulted."

When students and faculty return to campus in January, we will announce a sweeping plan that will build on the wide-ranging steps to combat sexual assault that were launched as part of Moving Dartmouth Forward in 2015, as well as steps to increase inclusivity through Inclusive Excellence, begun in 2016.

With their signatures below, Dartmouth's senior leaders join me in making a commitment to take the steps necessary to succeed and lead in this vital endeavor.

Regarding the lawsuit, we will soon file our initial response in court. 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 about three senior PBS faculty members. Those actions included external investigations that confirmed wholly unacceptable behavior on the part of the three individuals and to the unacceptable environment they had created.

We took steps to revoke their tenure and terminate their employment, and the individuals are gone from our community.

There is much work ahead for Dartmouth. As I stressed when we launched the Moving Dartmouth Forward Plan in 2015, Dartmouth will take the lead in saying "no more."


Philip J. Hanlon '77, President
Joseph Helble, Provost
Duane Compton, Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine
F. Jon Kull '88, Dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies
Kathryn Lively, Interim Dean of the College
Rick Mills, Executive Vice President
Laura Ray, Interim Dean of Thayer School of Engineering
Matthew Slaughter, Dean of the Tuck School of Business
Elizabeth Smith, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences