Dartmouth College is being sued by seven women who allege that the school covered up rampant sexual harassment, discrimination, assault, and rape involving three prominent tenured professors in the school’s psychology and brain sciences department. The professors, Todd Heatherton, William Kelley, and Paul Whalen, allegedly coerced, “leered at, groped, sexted, intoxicated, and even raped female students” for more than a decade, according to the suit. While all three professors have resigned during the past year after a private investigation from the university found them culpable of sexual misconduct, the results of the inquiry were kept from the public.
Speaking to CBS This Morning, six of the named complainants said that the administration had known about the professors’ misbehavior for nearly 15 years before pursuing action, and that the university had repeatedly ignored and covered-up disturbing incidents. After at least two sexual harassment complaints were made against Professor Heatherton in 2002, the women alleged, instead of “responding appropriately” Dartmouth instead chose to promote him.
“These men had all the power in the department,” explained Andrea Courtney, one of the plaintiffs in the case. “They controlled all the resources. Opting out of the boys’ club culture meant you were cut off from those resources.”
Another plaintiff, Kristina Rapuano, said that she was a grad student in 2015 when her academic advisor, Professor Kelley, raped her during the annual conference of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in San Francisco after convincing her to go out drinking. She woke up the next day with “no memory” of what had happened, but Kelley told her that the two had had sex. Kelley, she alleged, spent the rest of his time as her adviser trying to coerce her into sex and threatening her with professional retribution for refusing.
“I have no memory of this night. I didn’t even remember waking up. I had thought I had just been drinking heavily. Now I’m unsure,” she told CBS News.
Sasha Brietzke said that Heatherton routinely abused female students — herself included.
“I went to my first conference in March 2017,” she recalled. “I was at a karaoke bar with a bunch of other graduate students. Todd Heatherton came in, extremely intoxicated, grabbed my butt and set me on his lap. Now I had been sexualized in front of a room full of potential colleagues. I felt humiliated, and I felt extremely angry.”
Watch the plaintiffs’ interviews on CBS This Morning below.
Read the full story at The New York Times.