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University: Professor sexually harassed grad student on trip

November 18, 2017

BOSTON (AP) — Boston University says it has found evidence that a geology professor sexually harassed a graduate student on a research trip in Antarctica more than 10 years ago.

BU Provost Jean Morrison said in a letter sent Friday to faculty in the school’s Earth & Environment department that the findings follow a 13-month investigation into the former student’s allegations against David Marchant, which date back to 1999.

Morrison said interviews or statements from more than 30 witnesses and a review of over 1,000 pages of records led investigators to conclude the tenured professor engaged in sexual harassment in violation of the school’s policies.

Investigators found the harassment, which included derogatory sex-based slurs and sexual comments, created a hostile working and living environment for the woman at the camp in Antarctica, the letter said.

Morrison said the investigation didn’t find credible evidence to support claims that Marchant physically attacked the woman and inflicted other types of psychological and physical abuse.

Marchant’s attorney told The Boston Globe he plans to appeal the investigation’s finding. If unsuccessful, the school said Marchant could be terminated.

“Dr. Marchant is extremely disappointed in the findings and continues to maintain that he did not engage in any sexually harassing behavior in 1999 or at another time,” said attorney Jeffrey Sankey.

The newspaper reported that former students have defended Marchant since the allegations were made public, saying they never witnessed him treating woman inappropriately.

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