Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is the latest politician to oppose Dartmouth College’s demand that students who are suing the institution over sexual harassment allegations be publicly named.
The Massachusetts Democrat signed onto a petition that calls on Dartmouth to drop its “attempt to intimidate victims of sexual assault,” by asking a court to require anonymous victims in the lawsuit to be named.
“Survivors of sexual assault and misconduct have a right to their privacy — and threatening their privacy to silence them is unacceptable,” Warren said in a statement.
The petition was launched by Dartmouth Against Gender Harassment and Sexual Violence, an alumni group that has been critical of the college’s response to these issues. So far, 525 people have signed the petition.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a 1988 Dartmouth College graduate who is also seeking the Democratic nomination for president, signed the petition earlier last week.
Several current and former Dartmouth students have alleged that the school allowed three former psychology professors to create an environment where women were groped in plain sight, forced into sexual relationships with the faculty members and openly called inappropriate names by men. The students, including three who are identified as “Jane Doe,” are seeking $70 million from Dartmouth.
In a statement Friday, Dartmouth said it does not object to the Jane Doe plaintiffs proceeding anonymously if they wish to assert individual claims, as opposed to as class representatives. But the college argues that the women wishing to be class representatives in a class action law suit cannot be anonymous.
Dartmouth and the students recently entered mediation in an effort to resolve the matter outside the courts. But mediation could fail, and it’s important to call out Dartmouth’s opposition to anonymity and its potential to silence other students from coming forward with allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, said Diana Whitney, a spokeswoman for the group leading the petition drive.