Whalen resigns amidst review for alleged sexual misconduct

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 6/26/18 12:35pm

moore

Moore Hall houses the psychological and brain sciences department.

by Peter Charalambous / The Dartmouth Staff

Psychological and brain sciences professor Paul Whalen has resigned from the College effective immediately following an investigation into his behavior for allegations of sexual misconduct by a College-appointed external investigator. Professor Bill Kelley of the PBS department, who was also investigated for sexual misconduct, remains under review.

Whalen’s resignation follows a recommendation from Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Elizabeth Smith that his tenure be revoked and his employment terminated. Smith’s decision was upheld by the faculty-elected Review Committee. At the time of his resignation, Smith’s recommendations for Whalen were being reviewed by the Dartmouth-wide Council on Academic Freedom and Responsibility, an 18-member council elected by the faculty. Kelley has also received a recommendation from Smith, as of yet undisclosed, that was upheld by the Review Committee, and is currently undergoing CAFR review.

Earlier this month, PBS professor Todd Heatherton, who was also investigated for sexual misconduct, chose to retire after Smith recommended and the Review Committee upheld that his employment be terminated. According to an email statement from College spokesperson Diana Lawrence, Whalen was not yet eligible for retirement, which requires that the retiree be at least 55 and have served at Dartmouth for at least 10 years. While Heatherton will receive his vested retirement funds and retiree health coverage from the College, Whalen is not eligible for retiree health benefits.

Whalen remains barred from entering campus property or attending College events following his resignation, as does Heatherton following his retirement. Kelley is also restricted from entering College property.

Kelley will remain on paid leave until the CAFR reviews Smith’s recommendations, after which College President Phil Hanlon will deliver the CAFR report, as well as full transcripts of any relevant hearings, to the College’s Board of Trustees. The board is responsible for making a final decision on Kelley’s case. After Heatherton’s decision to retire, Lawrence wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that none of the external investigator’s reports or information from the CAFR will be made public for any of the professors.

The New Hampshire attorney general’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of the three professors since last October. A campus-wide email from Hanlon announcing Whalen’s resignation stated that the College is continuing to cooperate with law enforcement for their investigations. The Dartmouth left a voicemail with the attorney general’s office asking whether there have been any updates in the criminal investigations.

As of press time, Whalen had not responded to requests for comment. Lawrence previously told The Dartmouth she believed he was represented by the firm of Good Schneider Cormier & Fried. An employee of the firm told The Dartmouth over the phone that she could neither confirm nor deny that the firm represented Whalen.

The Dartmouth first reported on Oct. 25, 2017 that the three PBS professors were under investigation for misconduct and on paid leave. On Oct. 31, Hanlon wrote a campus-wide email explaining that the three professors were “alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct and are being investigated by law enforcement,” including the New Hampshire attorney general’s office, the Grafton County attorney, the New Hampshire State Police, the Grafton County Sheriff’s office and Hanover Police. On Nov. 10, the College announced that it had hired an external investigator look into the allegations.

On Nov. 18, The Dartmouth reported that 15 undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students and scholars in the PBS department signed a statement to The Dartmouth alleging that the three professors created a “hostile academic environment in which sexual harassment is normalized.” In addition, the student claimed that the professors had violated one or more of the College’s Employee Sexual Misconduct PolicyEmployee Sexual Harassment Policy and Policy on Instructor-Student Consensual Relationships. Four of those signees spoke directly to The Dartmouth about their experiences, and three more provided written statements about their time in the PBS department.

On Feb. 19, 2018, Hanlon announced that the external investigator was “close to concluding her work,” and that, after the investigations were completed, disciplinary action following procedures in the Organization of the Faculty of Dartmouth College would be pursued.

This article will be updated as more information becomes available.