Hanlon provides updates on sexual misconduct investigations

by The Dartmouth Senior Staff | 11/10/17 10:32am

Updated: Nov. 10, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.

College President Phil Hanlon released additional information about the College’s investigation of three professors accused of sexual misconduct, which he said is being conducted by an external investigator, in a campus-wide email sent Friday morning.

He said that the investigation is not related to violations of legal requirements or ethical standards related to the professors’ research.

Hanlon noted that Dartmouth encourages parties reporting sexual misconduct to notify law enforcement, but if the party declines to file a report, the College honors their “wish for confidentiality unless we believe there is imminent danger to the community.”

The New Hampshire Attorney General announced on Oct. 31 that psychology and brain sciences professors Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen are being investigated by law enforcement for allegations of sexual misconduct. They are all on paid leave and their access to campus has been restricted.

College spokesperson Diana Lawrence wrote in an Nov. 5 email statement that though the professors worked in the same department and collaborated on papers, the allegations are separate.

Heatherton's attorneys wrote in a Nov. 1 statement that the College's investigation of Heatherton is related to an "out-of-state matter" and that Heatherton was on a yearlong sabbatical prior to learning of the investigation. Heatherton had served as an visiting scholar at New York University since July, but was dismissed on Oct. 26 after the investigation was announced, according to The New York Times.

Hanlon said that all parties are being given “ample opportunity” to respond to allegations and present information.

“We are determined to complete these investigations, wherever they may lead, and the entire process as quickly as possible,” Hanlon wrote. “But we will not sacrifice fairness or rigor for speed. For the sake of all of those involved, we are committed to doing this right.”

He said the College cannot comment on particular allegations to “preserve the integrity and procedural fairness … and respect the privacy of all parties involved.” The College is continuing to cooperate with the New Hampshire Attorney General’s investigation.

Emails were sent to all three professors seeking comment.