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Dartmouth Settles Sexual Abuse Lawsuit for $14 Million

Nine current and former psychology students who sued Dartmouth College for allowing sexual abuse and harassment have reached a settlement with the school, according to a CNN report.

The university will pay $14 million to the plaintiffs as a part of settling the Title IX class action lawsuit, according to a joint statement issued by both the parties. The deal is not pending for the court’s approval.

Last November, the plaintiffs stunned the nation with their stories of sexual abuse by professors in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. They alleged professors Todd Heatherton, William Kelley and Paul Whalen of promoting a drinking culture among students, often forcing students to attend lab meetings at bars, making inappropriate advances towards women and often threatening them with retaliation if they didn’t comply.

The school was accused of allowing a culture of “sexual assault, harassment and discrimination” by three professors at the school.

“We are satisfied to have reached an agreement with Dartmouth College, and are encouraged by our humble contribution to bringing restorative justice to a body of Dartmouth students beyond the named plaintiffs,” all the plaintiffs said in the joint statement.

“We remain committed to bringing survivor perspectives and community voices to the forefront of the conversation surrounding campus climate.”

In October 2017, the college launched an internal investigation into the conduct of three tenured professors, forcing two professors to resign and one to retire.

As a part of the settlement, the college has agreed to launch various programs under the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative to identify and rectify current issues and prevent problems in the future.

“Through this process, we have learned lessons that we believe will enable us to root out this behavior immediately if it ever threatens our campus community again,” Dartmouth President Philip J. Hanlon said.

The college launched a new Campus Climate and Culture Initiative in January and made an online sexual violence prevention program compulsory for all faculty, staff, post-doctoral scholars, and graduate and professional students. It also implemented the sexual and gender-based misconduct policy and made Title IX training mandatory for faculty and staff, in addition to starting two academic department climate reviews in a campus-wide program.

Dartmouth Colleges Adopts New Sexual Misconduct Policy

 

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