Three Dartmouth College professors are currently under criminal investigation for sexual misconduct.
Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen, all of whom are male, tenured professors in the psychology and brain science department, have been put on paid administrative leave because of allegations of sexual misconduct, the Washington Post reported. The professors' access to campus has also been restricted.
On Tuesday, Oct. 31, Dartmouth President Philip Hanlon sent out an email informing students and staff members of the investigation.
“We take these allegations very seriously and are pursuing our own independent investigations in coordination with law enforcement officials,” Hanlon said in his email.
The ongoing criminal investigation into the possible misconduct by Dartmouth professors is being conducted by the New Hampshire attorney general's office, the Grafton County attorney, New Hampshire State Police, the Grafton County sheriff's office and Hanover police.
“I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable and have no place at Dartmouth,” Hanlon said. “Such acts harm us as individuals and as members of the community.”
The announcement from Dartmouth comes as a national conversation around sexual assault continues to grow. Following a decades-long investigation from the New York Times and the New Yorker into Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein's history of sexual harassment, various sexual assault victims have been stepping forward to identify their perpetrators.
This has brought renewed attention to the issue of sexual assault on college campuses. According to a 2015 survey by the American Association of Universities, Yale University, Dartmouth and Penn have the highest rates of sexual assault within the Ivy League. Close to one third of Penn undergraduate women, who were surveyed at Penn, said they had experienced nonconsensual penetration or sexual touching by force or incapacitation.
More recently, Penn's graduate students raised concerns over sexual harassment perpetrated by faculty. Last month, a group of graduate students started a petition, calling for the Graduate Student of Education Dean Pam Grossman to indicate her plan to clarify sexual harassment procedures.
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