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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Visiting professor Yascha Mounk accused of rape

Mounk has been accused by journalist Celeste Marcus.

Yascha Mounk, a visiting professor in the government department, has been accused of rape by journalist Celeste Marcus, who works as the managing editor of Liberties Journal, a nonprofit publication. Johns Hopkins University, where Mounk is a professor of international affairs, is currently investigating the allegation, according to a statement from spokeswoman Megan Christin.

On Feb. 4, Marcus posted a screenshot on X, formerly known as Twitter, of a Jan. 7 email she sent to Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of The Atlantic, in which she identified Mounk — a frequent contributor to the magazine — as the person who assaulted her. 

In the email, Marcus wrote that Mounk raped her in her apartment “after midnight on June 25th, 2021.” In a post on Feb. 7, Marcus wrote that the rape occurred after she had “thrown a birthday party for [Mounk] on the roof of my building.” 

“[Mounk] and a group of others came to help clean up,” she wrote. “I told them all to leave because I was tired. He walked them out and then would not leave.”

Marcus has not yet stated her intention to pursue legal action against Mounk and did not respond to a request for comment about whether she plans to in the future.

In the email exchange, Goldberg responded that The Atlantic is “taking this allegation very seriously.” In her Feb. 4 post, Marcus stated that she had not received any updates from The Atlantic since she sent the email. 

Six hours after Marcus’s post on X, Anna Bross, the Senior Vice President of Communications at The Atlantic, posted a statement on X on behalf of the magazine, which stated in part that The Atlantic “suspended our relationship with [Mounk] last month when we first learned of the accusation.” She also wrote that the magazine would be “following any potential new developments in this matter.”

In January, Marcus wrote an article for Liberties entitled “After Rape: A Guide For the Tormented,” in which she described her mental state following the rape but did not mention Mounk by name. 

In response to a request for comment, Marcus wrote in a statement to The Dartmouth that Goldberg “chose to withhold transparency about action taken — if any was indeed taken — after my allegation was made.”

Marcus also expressed surprise at the lack of investigation.

“I had prepared myself for the pain an investigation would surely yield, pain which would be mollified by the fact that I would have [the] opportunity to submit evidence and make my case,” Marcus wrote. “I had not prepared myself to be ignored.”

The Atlantic’s communications team did not respond to a request for comment. Marcus did not respond to a request for comment regarding The Atlantic’s decision to suspend Mounk.

According to a Washington Post article about the allegation, Mounk stated that he is “aware of the horrendous allegation against me” and that it is “categorically untrue.”

Mounk did not respond to a request for comment by The Dartmouth. 

According to his Johns Hopkins website, Mounk is a senior fellow at the German Marshall Fund, senior advisor at Project Democracy and a contributor and columnist at many major media outlets. 

According to a statement from Johns Hopkins, referenced in the Johns Hopkins News-Letter, “Johns Hopkins University learned of this allegation on Sunday, Feb. 4 via external media reports. Pursuant to our obligations under Title IX, the university has an established and rigorous process for addressing allegations of misconduct and has referred the information to our Office of Institutional Equity for careful review.”

Mounk has taught six government classes at Dartmouth, during the summer terms of 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023. He has also given two talks at Dartmouth through the Political Economy Project, including one during the summer of 2023 entitled “The Identity Trap.” 

When asked for comment, government department chair and professor Benjamin Valentino wrote in an email statement, “As far as I know, Professor Mounk is not employed by the College at this time, and the events in question did not happen during his employment here. As such, I have no comment on the allegations.”

According to the government department’s website, Mounk remains a visiting professor at Dartmouth.

Dartmouth spokeswoman Jana Barnello declined to comment on the allegation, citing the ongoing investigation at Johns Hopkins.

Correction Appended (April 7, 10:10 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated that Mounk taught four government classes at Dartmouth, during the summer terms of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Timetable records show that Mounk taught two additional courses in the summer of 2023. The article has been updated.