Faced with a Title IX class action lawsuit involving sexual assault and harassment by three former psychology professors, Dartmouth College has agreed to pay the victims $14 million dollars and to take steps to prevent and address similar offenses in the future. The lawsuit, which referred to the professors as the “Predators Club” and which claims the school was aware of the problem for years, was filed by multiple female students who claimed to have been victimized.
The school has indicated that the professors who perpetrated the sexual assaults have been “banished,” and representatives for the nine victims issued a press release indicating that they are satisfied with the agreement that was reached, both for their own sake and for students who could have become victims in the future. “Together with Dartmouth, we plan to continue addressing the systemic roots of power-based personal violence and gender-based discrimination across all levels of severity so that our experiences — and those of the class we represent — are never repeated,” they said.
Sexual Assault Lawsuit Called Psychology Department a “21st-century Animal House”
Though the sexual assault lawsuit was filed in November of 2018, the situation had first been reported to the school as long ago as 2002, yet no action was taken to stop the three professors from linking mentorship and support of female students to harassment, attendance at “alcohol-saturated” hot tub parties in their personal hoes, use of cocaine in the classroom, and more. In 2017 the women raised the issue with the school’s Title IX office more than 27 times, yet no action was taken, and the professors continued their inappropriate and aggressive behavior.
In one instance just three weeks after complaints were filed, one of the professors sexually assaulted a student after pressuring her to go out drinking with him. He also laughed at her when she requested that he use protection and texted her after he learned that she had sought medical treatment, indicating that they should go out again. After word of the sexual assault complaints became public, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office opened a criminal investigation and in July of 2018 the men were allowed to retire or resign. The school claimed that the investigation was delayed due to the women’s request for anonymity.