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Letter on Historical Harassment Complaint Decision

Hampshire board addresses allegation

Dear Hampshire Community,

We are writing to you today with difficult and important news. An alumna shared with the administration allegations about inappropriate behavior in the 1970s by the late faculty member Lester Mazor. Following a directive last spring by then President Jonathan Lash, Hampshire conducted an investigation and concluded that more likely than not the inappropriate behavior occurred. During the investigation the College heard other allegations of inappropriate behavior, suggesting that this was not an isolated incident.

We recognize how difficult it is to revisit painful occurrences, and we respect our alumna’s courage in coming forward to share them.

The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees has met to review the findings of the investigation. On behalf of Hampshire College, they have issued a formal apology to the alumna involved. They also voted to remove Professor Mazor’s name from a room on campus and from an endowed fund, both created in his memory. These changes are effective today.

Some may call into question the College’s actions since Professor Mazor cannot defend himself and because these actions date from decades ago. This era has brought long-needed attention to issues of sexual harassment and we want there to be no confusion at Hampshire over what behaviors were and are inappropriate. We take our roles as educators, mentors, and role models very seriously and apologize that a member of our faculty apparently did not do so, regardless of the era.

The College reviewed and is currently in the process of updating its policies on sexual harassment and faculty, student, and staff engagement. Those policies can be found here and here. Our policies around historical complaints of sexual harassment can be found here.

To answer questions you might have, we have scheduled open office hours in the FPH Faculty Lounge during these times: today (Wednesday, November 28) from 2:15 – 3:15 pm and tomorrow from 9:00 – 10:00 am. On Friday we have our regularly scheduled staff/faculty meeting in the FPH Main Lecture Hall from 1:00 – 2:00 pm.

At Hampshire all allegations of sexual misconduct are given our utmost attention. Complaints should be directed to our Title IX Coordinator Dianna Williams: titleIX@hampshire.edu.

Sincerely,

Miriam Nelson
President

Eva Rueschmann
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty

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