Cambridge don resigns from college after sexual harassment complaints

Trinity Hall announces review after hundreds of students raise concerns

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Thursday 07 November 2019 14:29 GMT
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Dr Peter Hutchinson apologised following an internal investigation in 2015
Dr Peter Hutchinson apologised following an internal investigation in 2015 (PA)

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A Cambridge don who was investigated for sexually harassing 10 students has resigned from his college after hundreds called for him to be permanently removed.

Dr Peter Hutchinson had been allowed to attend Trinity Hall college events as an emeritus fellow despite previous complaints of “inappropriate sexual and sexist” behaviour towards students.

The college’s decision to readmit the former modern languages lecturer less than two years after he was permanently excluded in 2017 prompted an outcry among students and graduates.

Trinity Hall has now accepted his resignation with immediate effect.

It comes after hundreds of students, alumni and staff signed a letter calling for the academic’s removal and a review of how the college handles complaints of sexual misconduct.

In 2017, Dr Hutchinson apologised after 10 students complained of “inappropriate sexual and sexist” behaviour towards them.

He stopped teaching in 2015 after a string of allegations against him sparked an investigation by the college into his conduct.

Trinity Hall said it would now undertake a review of its decision-making processes and will consider a “thorough external review examining how any claims of harassment are reported and handled.”

The University of Cambridge Graduate Union welcomed the resignation and review by the college.

“It's important that these reviews are serious and lead to real change. This was not an isolated incident, and there is a long way to go in tackling the culture which allows abuse to pass without consequence in our institutions,” it said in a statement.

Dr Jeremy Morris, the Master of Trinity Hall, said: “Dr Peter Hutchinson has resigned from his post as Emeritus Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge with immediate effect. The College has accepted his resignation.

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“We have listened carefully to concerns raised about how the situation with Dr Hutchinson was handled procedurally and how decisions made by the Governing Body were communicated.”

He added: “I take ultimate responsibility for the welfare of all staff and students and once again welcome you to make contact with me directly should you wish to discuss this issue.”

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