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Dartmouth had a "Predators' Club"


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Apparently there had been a "Predators's Club" at Dartmouth University and the school looked the other way.


In 2017, Vassiki Chauhan was in her third year of graduate school at Dartmouth, working as a teaching assistant for Paul Whalen, a tenured professor who had worked in the university’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences. One night in April, she says, Whalen pressured her into grabbing a drink, which turned into several drinks — and then into going back to his home. Once there, she claims he “attempted to initiate sexual contact,” and she forcefully rejected his advances. When she tried to escape the second floor of his house, she says he blocked her from leaving. Once she realized what would inevitably transpire, she says she told him to use protection. After laughing, Whalen allegedly said, “That is one thing I am not going to do.”

Twenty days earlier, around eight female students had contacted the university’s Title IX office about Whalen, as well as two other tenured professors in his department: Todd Heatherton and William Kelley. Their overarching concern, according to a class-action lawsuit filed by Chauhan and six other current and former graduate students on Thursday, was these three men had turned the university’s behavioral science department into a “21st century Animal House,” creating a hostile environment for female students by, among other things, hosting raucous “hot-tub parties,” drinking with underage prospective students, and repeated instances of sexual assault.

The suit, which seeks $70 million in damages, claims that Whalen, Heatherton, and Kelley formed what amounted to a private “predators club,” using their power to pressure female students participating in a bacchanalian party culture rife with drinking and inappropriate sexual overtures. Their alleged disturbing behavior extends back over 15 years — and the complainants say Dartmouth administrators looked the other way the entire time.

Between the end of June and mid July, while the Title IX investigation was still ongoing, and as Dartmouth began what the Times calls “the seldom-used process required to fire tenured professors, Whalen and Kelly resigned, and Heatherton retired. (Dartmouth also barred them from campus events and property.) For half a year, Dartmouth didn’t publicly disclose the investigation, and only did so in October, after media caught wind of it. Then, on October 31, the New Hampshire attorney general Gordon MacDonald opened a criminal investigation into the sexual-misconduct allegations.


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