President Hanlon Attends Conference at the White House

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President Phil Hanlon ’77 is one of nine college and university presidents demonstrating leadership in the effort to combat sexual assault who were invited to the White House for an hour-long meeting on February 26 with Vice President Joe Biden and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services.

President Phil Hanlon

Vice President Joe Biden, center, leads the February 26 session about sexual assault prevention with President Phil Hanlon ’77, second from left, and other college and university presidents. Also attending were Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebilius, seated beside Biden, and members of the Cabinet. (Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo)

Biden led the session, attended also by members of the Cabinet, as part of the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault. The wide-ranging and frank discussion, which the White House termed a “listening session,” went on for twice the scheduled time.

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“I am proud that Dartmouth’s efforts to address sexual assault were recognized by the White House as exceptional,” says President Hanlon. “Our conversation was productive and as open as it was frank and wide-ranging. I look forward to continuing the dialogue with the White House and the other college and university presidents, who are every bit as committed as I am to taking on this national problem that affects all of our campuses, and in fact our entire society.”

Earlier in February, Hanlon and Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson attended a much-anticipated conference at the University of Virginia, where Hanlon and five other college presidents discussed sexual misconduct on campuses.

Johnson was invited to the White House on February 18 for a listening session about sexual violence on college campuses as part of President Obama’s push to address this important issue. She was part of a group that included college officials, legal experts, and advocacy groups.

“The chance to meet with members of the White House Task Force and other invitees was an exceptional opportunity to share information and learn from others present,” says Johnson. “It was gratifying to know that every person in the room cared so deeply about eliminating sexual violence on college campuses.”

The group’s conversation focused on a wide range of topics, including campus relationships with local law enforcement, the best practices around investigating and adjudicating reports of sexual misconduct, and prevention methods. Dartmouth was praised for its efforts, and Johnson had an opportunity to tell the participants about a conference being held at Dartmouth this summer.

On July 13 through 17, Dartmouth will host a national conference of colleges and universities addressing sexual assault on campus and supporting survivors of assault. Experts on sexual assault prevention and related topics will be among the participants.