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Phil Announces What, Exactly?

I was not going to do a post about Phil’s utterly contentless update from the day before yesterday regarding the ongoing sexual harassment investigation of three members of the PBS department. After all, there was no news to announce, save for the limp fact that the sole investigator was soon going to be finishing her report. Ho, hum. However, a loyal reader wrote in with a pertinent comment:

Why make this announcement now and bring this issue back into the spotlight during the height of admissions season? With about a month to go before the Admissions Office mails out acceptances, why would the College want prospective students and their parents to associate Dartmouth with sexual misconduct? Someone should put a muzzle on Hanlon.

Beyond Phil’s missive, here is Dean of the College Rebecca Biron’s note from yesterday to all Dartmouth parents and families:

Biron on Hanlon re investigation.jpg

Great. A “criminal investigation.”

No word on whether Phil is going to start sending tweets out in the middle of the night.

Read Phil’s initial communication to the entire campus in the extended.

Addendum: The Valley News reported breathlessly on Phil’s announcement: Hanlon Says Internal Investigation Into 3 Dartmouth Professors Almost Finished.

Way back when, the New Republic characterized Flora Lewis’ NYT headline, Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, thusly:

These three words, which appeared over Flora Lewis’s column in the April 10 [1986] New York Times, strike many experts as possibly the most boring headline ever written. Each word taken alone is sleep-inducing. Taken together, they are virtually lethal.

The Valley News’ headline about Phil’s announcement comes close to equaling the NYT’s effort. Between you and me, I think that the editors in Lebanon knew exactly what they were doing. For a laugh, they even put the “news” on the front page — even though the piece contained no original reporting.

Addendum: An alumnus writes in:

Now that Hanlon is ready to announce the results of the College’s investigation of the Dartmouth 3, it will be interesting to see what happens next.

At the University of Rochester, the discontent with the sexual harassment investigation findings about brain science prof Florian Jaeger led to the resignation of the president, even though Jaeger was cleared of any direct violations of university rules by three different investigations.

I’m guessing that Hanlon realizes he must hand out some hefty punishments or his own job could be in jeopardy.

Addendum: The Office of Communications today put out the story of the “almost finished” report as a Dartmouth News release.


From: President Phil Hanlon ‘77
Sent: Monday, February 19, 2018 12:30 PM
Subject: Update on ongoing investigations

To the Dartmouth community,

As you know, Dartmouth is investigating allegations of sexual misconduct involving three faculty members in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. Each of the three separate investigations is being conducted by an experienced external investigator, who is close to concluding her work. We will, therefore, soon move from the investigative stage to consideration of any disciplinary action, where appropriate.

As College policy indicates for arts and sciences faculty, once each investigation is complete, any disciplinary process will follow the procedures set forth in the Organization of the Faculty of Dartmouth College (OFDC), the rules and regulations that govern all faculty at the institution. The OFDC can be found here:

As our consideration of these cases proceeds, I have confidence in the process that governs faculty at Dartmouth. Out of respect for that process, I anticipate that we will refrain from further comment until the cases are concluded.

The three faculty members have been on paid leave with restricted access to Dartmouth property during the investigations. While continuing to pursue timely, thorough, and equitable investigations, the College has been cooperating with ongoing criminal investigations of alleged misconduct, conducted by the New Hampshire attorney general’s office.

I want to emphasize what I’ve said throughout the course of these investigations—sexual misconduct and harassment have no place at Dartmouth and we will not tolerate such behavior. We are committed to ensuring the rights and protecting the safety of all members of our community. As we continue to safeguard the Dartmouth community, we recently announced the chair and members of the Presidential Steering Committee on Sexual Misconduct. We charged the committee with identifying areas where Dartmouth should consider improvements to policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct and consensual relationships, ensuring greater clarity, consistency, and coherence among these policies, and incorporating best practices for educational and training opportunities for all campus constituencies.

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 at Please do not hesitate to seek help.

In the cases before us, we remain committed to comprehensive and fair reviews.
In doing so, we will ultimately strengthen our community. I appreciate your patience as this process continues.

Phil Hanlon ‘77


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