Three psychology professors at Dartmouth College have been put on paid leave as the school and the State Attorney General begin a probe into allegations of sexual misconduct. Professors Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen are tenured members of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences whose research included studies of sexual desire and attractiveness. While details of the allegations have not been released, New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald characterized them as "serious misconduct.
The Tuesday announcement by the Attorney General follows a report by the college newspaper, the Dartmouth, about the professors being put on paid leave. After students noticed the absent professors, posters began circulating around campus asking, “Where is Prof. Paul Whalen?” and, “Where is Prof. Bill Kelley?” School spokesperson Diana Lawrence responded to the students, informing them the professors' access to the campus had been restricted pending the investigation.
We are engaged in a thorough and impartial process that protects the rights of all parties and promotes the safety of our campus community. From the outset of our investigations, we have encouraged the reporting of possible crimes to law enforcement and have offered resources to support that reporting.
The Dartmouth attempted to reach out to Professor Heartherton by email and received an automated reply saying, “I am on sabbatical and not monitoring this email account until September 2018.”
It is important to remember that investigations are ongoing, with no official findings yet produced. However, we take these allegations very seriously and are pursuing our own independent investigations in coordination with law enforcement officials.
I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that sexual misconduct and harassment are unacceptable and have no place at Dartmouth. Such acts harm us as individuals and as members of the community.