Sexual misconduct hullabaloo at Cambridge University?

Cambridge University, Trinity Hall College, has reinstated a professor who was previously accused of sexual misconduct. The statement read in part that the decision for firing him was not well informed and should not have happened.

Dr. Peter Hutchinson has been readmitted into his college, two years after he was removed after sexual assault allegations from 10 women. The move has been met angrily by students who have termed this move as a slap on their face.

The sexual victims have also been upset by this decision and have waivered their rights to anonymity in order to voice their concerns about what this means to them. Trinity Hall, the college where the professor was working as a teacher in modern and medieval languages, had fired him in 2017.

The statement of his firing read in part,

We can confirm Dr Hutchinson has withdrawn permanently from any further involvement with college affairs, including from his role on the finance committee. He will not be present in college at any time in the future.

Sexual misconduct controversies

Two years down the line and the statement sounds now sounds like a sarcastic masterpiece two years down the line. The college has announced that he has been reinstated as an emeritus upon his retirement.

The college released a statement confirming their decision by saying that the decision was based on consultation with their legal advisor and they believe it is the right thing to do. They also continued by saying his rights and privileges afforded to emeritus fellows of the college will be guaranteed in full such as attending university dinners and other events in the universities.

They, however, clarified that he will not be directly involved in students’ day-to-day activities. Direct contact with the student as part of his job would not be reinstated. This decision is believed to have been arrived at after consultations with the legal team determined that Hutchinson would have a case against the college which would be costly.

Sophie Newbery, 23, who graduated in German and Russian from Trinity Hall in 2018 and one of Hutchinson’s victim, termed the move as insane and a slap to the face of the victims. She said that the professor had in multiple instances made sexual advances, used inappropriate language towards her and at one time asked a group she was part of if some uncomfortable topics turned them on.

2005 charges of rape cleared in 2006

The first allegations of sexual misconduct were levelled against him in 2005 and he was cleared of any wrongdoing in 2006.

University has defended itself by saying they are for the victims of rape cases and they understand the frustration. The continued by saying,

We recognise we have more to do, and will continue to listen to and work with our students on how we can improve our approach to handling sexual misconduct.

They also stated that they will continue fighting for justice of the sexual harassment victims and they highlighted their anonymous sexual reporting system as a step in the right direction.

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