Settlement in Dartmouth sexual misconduct lawsuit gets final approval

Dartmouth College will pay $14 million to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

This story by the Valley News staff was published on July 16.

CONCORD, N.H. — A federal judge gave final approval Tuesday to a $14 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit against Dartmouth College relating to sexual misconduct in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

U.S. District Court Chief Judge Landya McCafferty in Concord issued her approval following a fairness hearing last week when she heard statements from three of the nine named plaintiffs in the case, which was initially filed in November 2018.

The women alleged that Dartmouth administrators turned a blind eye to the misconduct of three professors.

The professors, all men, left Dartmouth before the college could fire them, following investigations into their conduct. The college admits no fault in the settlement.

Of the $14 million, about $5.1 million will go to attorneys’ fees, litigation expenses and other administrative costs associated with the suit.

Each of the named plaintiffs, all current or former students in the department, will receive a $75,000 service award for their contributions.

The remainder of the settlement amount will be distributed to the members of the class, which in addition to the named plaintiffs includes another 65 women who worked with the professors or who say they were affected by the professors’ misconduct.

Amounts will be determined by an independent party and based on the harm the women endured.

Any remaining funds will go to the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Six women who qualified to be members of the class requested to be excluded, retaining their right to bring separate suits if they wish.

In addition to the monetary awards allocated through the settlement, Dartmouth also committed to pursuing several reforms including those outlined in its “campus climate and culture initiative” such as hiring more diverse faculty members and expanding the college’s partnership with the Lebanon-based nonprofit WISE, which offers support for survivors of gender-based violence and has an office on Dartmouth’s campus.

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