President Hanlon Announces Plan for Sexual Misconduct Policy

The policy would be the same for all members of the Dartmouth community.

President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 told members of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences that Dartmouth will work to adopt a unified policy on sexual misconduct applicable to all members of the community—faculty, staff, and students.

The president’s announcement came at the fall meeting of the arts and sciences faculty, which took place Monday in Alumni Hall.

“This is important work. Progress requires that as a community we are all fully engaged to move Dartmouth forward,” President Hanlon said.

Hanlon’s announcement reinforced the importance of ensuring the rights of all Dartmouth community members. Earlier this year, he said, “Sexual misconduct and harassment have no place at Dartmouth, and we will not tolerate such behavior.” 

The proposed change in policy emerges from the work of the Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which reviewed best practices at peer institutions, hosted listening sessions for members of the community, and identified parameters to inform Dartmouth’s development of proactive policies and training plans, Hanlon said. Currently there are different policies for faculty, students, and staff. A unified policy would provide clarity and consistency across the institution, harmonizing expectations for all three groups.

“One important aspect of the report was the recognition of the benefit of adopting a single policy for all community members,” Hanlon said.

The steering committee, which was chaired by Geisel School of Medicine Dean for Faculty Affairs Leslie Henderson, delivered its report to the president’s senior leadership team this past summer. The committee included representatives from each of Dartmouth’s schools.

The next step is for Dartmouth to solicit community input on a draft of a new policy and procedures for responding to allegations against students, faculty, and staff. The draft policy reflects input from national experts on sexual misconduct issues and insights from Dartmouth’s recent experiences with sexual misconduct allegations, Hanlon said.

Dartmouth is also initiating a review of the climate of academic departments across campus. This review will encompass the issue of sexual misconduct as well as broader themes of advancement and mentorship, power dynamics, diversity, and inclusion, Hanlon said.

Hanlon encouraged divisions and departments interested in learning more about resources related to sexual misconduct issues to contact Dartmouth’s Title IX coordinator, Kristi Clemens, a member of the steering committee.

In 2015, Hanlon launched the Moving Dartmouth Forward initiative, which includes creation of the Sexual Violence Prevention Project, a four-year education initiative for undergraduates. Dartmouth offers a range of support services to all, including those who have made reports of sexual assault and misconduct. The services can be found on Dartmouth’s sexual respect website.

The Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct reflected the breadth of Dartmouth’s academic programs and the operational divisions that deal most closely with sexual assault allegations. In addition to Henderson and Clemens, members are Elizabeth Agosto, senior associate dean of student affairs; Victoria Blodgett, assistant dean for postdoctoral affairs at the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; Evelynn Ellis, vice president for Institutional Diversity and Equity; Mark McPeek, professor of biological sciences; Brian Pogue, director of MS and PhD programs and professor at Thayer School of Engineering; Richard Sansing, associate dean for faculty and professor at the Tuck School of Business; and Lucas Swaine, associate professor of government. Dana Scaduto, associate general counsel, provided legal support.

Hannah Silverstein can be reached at [email protected].