Dartmouth Creates Campus Climate and Culture Initiative

The plan seeks to create a campus free from sexual harassment and the abuse of power. 

Dartmouth today announced the creation of the Campus Climate and Culture Initiative (C3I), a comprehensive set of actions aimed at creating a learning environment free from sexual harassment and the abuse of power.

In an email, President Philip J. Hanlon ’77 and eight senior leaders informed the Dartmouth community about the plan, the third pillar in a set of initiatives established to create a welcoming, inclusive, and equitable environment for all students, faculty, and staff. C3I follows Moving Dartmouth Forward (MDF), which was launched in 2015, and Inclusive Excellence (IE), which was launched in 2016.

“These three interlocking initiatives form a broad-based program to ensure that behaviors and relationships in all contexts on campus are consistent with our values,” the email says.

Signing the email with President Hanlon were Provost Joseph Helble; Duane Compton, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine; F. Jon Kull ’88, dean of the Guarini School of Graduate and Advanced Studies; Kathryn Lively, interim dean of the College; Rick Mills, executive vice president; Laura Ray, interim dean of Thayer School of Engineering; Matthew Slaughter, dean of the Tuck School of Business; and Elizabeth Smith, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“All of us are deeply committed to creating and maintaining a safe, inclusive climate where our community members can fulfill their academic and professional aspirations. At the start of the College’s 250th anniversary year, we want to set a higher standard for ourselves in creating a more respectful culture across our campus,” says the email.

C3I has as its foundation a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), called Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report is the first evidence-based exploration of the damaging toll of sexual harassment on both research integrity and retaining talented students and faculty.

“Institutions can take concrete steps to reduce sexual harassment by making system-wide changes that demonstrate how seriously they take this issue and that reflect that they are listening to those who courageously speak up to report their sexual harassment experiences,” says the report.

C3I is made up of measurable actions that address recommendations from the report. It also addresses the types of sexual harassment that the report identifies—gender harassment, unwanted sexual attention, and sexual coercion. Dartmouth has committed to adopt all of the higher-education-specific recommendations in the report.

An independent external advisory committee will evaluate Dartmouth’s progress on C3I programs in the same way that external committees review MDF and IE. The C3I committee will be chaired by Gilda Barabino, dean of the Grove School of Engineering at the City College of New York. Barabino is a member of the task force that wrote the National Academies report. Also on the committee are Joanne Conroy ’77, a physician and president and CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health; and Susan Finegan ’85, a partner in the litigation section and chair of the pro bono committee at the Mintz Levin law firm. Finegan has been active in Dartmouth alumni groups, including as a member of the Alumni Council and the MDF presidential steering committee. Additional members may be appointed to the C3I committee, which will report annually to the Dartmouth trustees. The report will be publicly available. 

An on-campus director will be named to manage implementation of the initiative.

C3I is made up of new programs and a number of initiatives that have been in the works for some time. The project is organized into five categories—campus climate, academic and professional development, recruitment, resources, and mandatory reporting.

The campus climate initiatives, to be led by University of Michigan Professor Abigail Stewart, include a review of all academic departments. Stewart, a national expert in creating inclusive academic environments, will work with Dartmouth Professor of Engineering Vicki May, who is already engaged in the review process at Dartmouth.

The C3I work involves creating a single policy to address sexual misconduct for faculty, staff, and students, with appropriate processes for adjudicating potential violations; establishing a mandatory online sexual violence prevention training program for all faculty, staff, professional and graduate students, and postdoctoral scholars; and creating research advisory committees for all graduate programs to ensure that graduate students have access to multiple advisers. 

The initiative also calls for expanding capacity in the Title IX office and increasing mental health resources; providing additional resources for the hiring of faculty who are underrepresented in their fields; and collaborating with institutions committed to sharing ideas and best practices related to implementation of the NASEM report recommendations.

The email asks members of the extended Dartmouth community to provide input on the C3I initiative, at [email protected], and to support implementation of its programs.

Further detail about C3I can be found on the initiative’s website

Susan J. Boutwell can be reached at [email protected].