When a Dartmouth College professor was named in a sexual misconduct lawsuit filed by female students, the school’s administration instructed him not to publicly defend himself. But ensuring the academic’s continued silence will no longer be a problem for the powers that be in Hanover, because The College Fix is reporting that the embattled academic has taken his own life.
David Bucci was a memory researcher who took over the psychological and sciences department at the Ivy League institution five years ago. In 2018, the school was hit with a class-action lawsuit alleging sexual assault and pervasive harassment, as well as a failure to protect students.
The New York Times ran a piece on the story a week ago in which it noted that, despite being named 31 times in the complaint, Bucci himself was never personally accused of harassment or assault.
“Much of the bad behavior took place after hours, off campus, and before Dr. Bucci became chairman,” the paper confirmed.
What’s more, it notes that college records show that Bucci and Thalia Wheatley, Dartmouth’s director of graduate services who was also named in the suit, “immediately went to the Title IX office” to register complaints once the allegations became known.
However, that didn’t stop his name from being tied to a viral news story that contained “graphic accounts of rape and harassment.”
“I don’t know why he took his life that day, and I’ll never know,” Bucci’s widow was quoted as saying. “But I know that he wouldn’t have gotten to that point had he not gone through that experience with this lawsuit.”
Leaving a legacy
The Times article indicated that Bucci was deeply worried about the lawsuit’s outcome and was disturbed by what he felt was a false depiction of what had occurred, particularly after he was told by his superiors not to speak about the allegations.
“How does this end in terms of our names being cleared from the wrongful accusations?” Bucci wanted to know after the lawsuit emerged.
He further inquired: “If Dartmouth settles, can we somehow insist that part of the settlement is that the plaintiffs, in some way, undo what they did to us?”
Dartmouth’s statement on Bucci’s death describes the professor as someone who “nurtured and inspired generations of scholars.”
The school did not, however, mention the fact that Bucci died by suicide or make any reference to the shameful treatment he received from Dartmouth administrators over the course of the sexual misconduct litigation.