JACKSON, Mississippi. According to the New York Times, 7 women are suing Dartmouth for $70 million in damages citing allegations of sexual harassment, assault, and rape. The women claim that the administration of the college failed to address these issues for 16 years. The lawsuit targets three professors in Dartmouth’s psychology and brain sciences department, where the victims reveal an environment where women were targeted, silenced, and forced into situations that made them feel uncomfortable and unsafe. The personal injury lawyers at Malouf & Malouf handle a range of claims brought forth by victims, ranging from car accident claims to worker’s compensation. As more cases of university injuries and damages reach the news cycle, our firm is closely watching this case and others, which could have implications for the rights of individuals who have been injured or hurt by professors that they entrusted.
University environments have recently made the news for posing real risks to student health. Not only are university suicides receiving greater scrutiny, but student mental health is being more closely considered. According to the Atlantic, graduate school can have adverse effects on mental health. In addition to the economic challenges that graduate students face due to low pay, the workloads are high and the hierarchal social structure opens the avenues for abuse. When researchers studied the mental health of graduate students, they found that 18 percent suffered from anxiety and depression. The Atlantic reports that these rates are three times the national average. Students may struggle economically, and because graduate school work takes up most of their time, they may not have time or money to socialize outside of their graduate school peer and professorial social and professional circles.
Academia is often described as a kind of “pressure cooker” environment. Students, particularly graduate students, often work long hours around a cohort of peers and teachers who become colleagues, friends, and associates. Students often rely heavily of professorial recommendations to secure future work in academia. Students who fall into a professor’s “bad graces” can end up with ruined career prospects. This can sometimes create a major balance of power between tenured professors and their graduate students. Some graduate students report that when tenured professors abuse their power it can lead to sexual assault and harassment. Students may often be frightened to speak up because they don’t want to ruin their future career prospects. In a way, working in academia can be worse than working for a manager. If you have a problem with one manager in your field, you can always move to another company or city and likely find a job. With academia, the circles are smaller. A professor’s recommendation—or lack thereof—can impact students’ ability to get a job in any college, anywhere.
One student in the Dartmouth lawsuit alleges that a professor raped her. Slate reports that another student was first hit by a professor’s vehicle in which the professor’s girlfriend may have been driving while drunk. Another student claimed that she needed to seek medical attention after an alleged rape. The reports suggest an ongoing abuse of power that appears to have remained unchecked by the university.
Malouf & Malouf, are personal injury lawyers in Jackson, Mississippi who work closely with families and victims who have had to seek medical attention due to an accident. Our firm also works closely with victims who have suffered from PTSD and emotional stress due to an accident or other adverse event due to the actions of another person or party.
Malouf & Malouf, PLLC
501 E Capitol St.
Jackson, MS 39201
Phone Number: (601) 522-2222