Dear Members of the UNH Community,
Late last year we shared with you that we called for a comprehensive external review into issues related to the 2015 hiring of former faculty member Dan Howard and the handling of subsequent reports that he engaged in inappropriate behavior toward students and a junior colleague while he was employed at our university. That review is complete, and we are writing to share the external reviewer’s recommendations and the progress we are making as an institution on each one of them. We are sharing all the reviewer’s recommendations on the Civil Rights & Equity Office website along with information on how we are addressing them.
The recommendations encompass four general areas—the faculty hiring process, training, leadership and faculty accountability, and review of our policies and procedures. While there is still a lot of work to be done, we are making good progress.
Some of the progress includes an updated faculty search handbook that clearly defines hiring protocols; the creation of a more rigorous process in hiring new faculty to uncover harassment and misconduct complaints, investigations and findings at prior institutions; new procedures and communications to advise reporting parties of their rights under UNH’s sexual harassment policy; and enhanced protocols for addressing complaints about conduct that is inappropriate but does not fall under UNH’s sexual harassment policy.
Later this fall, sexual harassment training required by state legislation will be implemented for our faculty, staff and students. When the email arrives with a link to the training, please open it immediately and act. In addition, we are in the process of launching a new fieldwork safety training and monitoring program. We hope you will watch for them and other important initiatives on the Civil Rights and Equity Office website.
We will continue to educate our community about the USNH Amorous Relationship Policy. Everyone at UNH has a shared responsibility to prevent harassment and abuse of power dynamics in our community—in particular, we will not tolerate faculty or staff who violate university policies in pursuing amorous relationships with any undergraduate students or with graduate students over whom they have authority or influence. The well-being of our students is and always will be our top priority as an institution.
James W. Dean Jr.
Chief Diversity Officer