University Professor Terminated After Harassment Allegations

Robert Brown, the president of the university, announced that Dr. David Marchant was terminated in an email sent to the university community on Saturday

A Boston University professor has been fired after allegations of harassment surfaced last year.

Robert Brown, the president of the university, announced that Dr. David Marchant was terminated in an email sent to the university community on Saturday.

According to Brown, the Equal Opportunity Office found that Marchant, who was a faculty member in the Department of Earth and Environment, violated the university's policies prohibiting sexual harassment during field expeditions in Antarctica in 1997 and 1999-2000.

Boston University students say they are glad the victims reported the incidents.

"I'm glad someone came forward, even if it was 20 years later," student Stephany Yipchoy said. "The only thing you can really do is hope that people come forward. So I'm glad that someone did, and that actions were taken."

"It makes me uncomfortable. I'm sure it makes a lot of especially female students uncomfortable," student Emily Cioch said. "He doesn't deserve to teach or be around those people."

According to a New York Times article from September, Jane Willenbring, then 22 years old, traveled to Antarctica to complete research with Marchant in 1999 and 2000. Willenbring alleges that Marchant immediately began harassing her. She says he shoved her down steep icy slopes, blew ash in her eyes and repeatedly made comments about her sexuality.

Willenbring filed a formal complaint in 2016 after she received tenure at the University of California, San Diego, The New York Times reported. The complaint included several letters of support from colleagues, and two other former graduate students wrote about similar experiences on expeditions with Marchant.

According to The New York Times, Marchant was a widely renowned geologist. A seven-mile-long glacier in Antarctica was named after him, but since the allegations surfaced and a name change proposal was filed, the United States Board on Geographic Names changed the name to Matataua Glacier.

Marchant appealed the findings when they were released last year, and he was placed on paid leave while his appeal was pending, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, Boston University Provost Jean Morrison upheld the EOO's findings, that Marchant had violated the university's policies, and determined that the violations justified the initiation of proceedings to terminate Marchant's faculty appointment.

Marchant requested and received a hearing before a five-member faculty panel tasked with recommending an appropriate sanction. According to Brown, the panel recommended Marchant be suspended without pay for three years, after which he could return to the university in good standing.

Brown says he was then tasked with accepting or rejecting the panel's recommendation, which was contrary to the provost's recommendation.

After reviewing all of the evidence, Brown says he decided the appropriate sanction would be termination.

According to Brown, the university's Board of Trustees announced Saturday that it agreed with his decision.

NBC10 reached out to Willenbring on Saturday.

"I often say no one 'wins' a sexual harrassment case, but I'm wrong: science, academia and BU are better today because of this announcement. I'm grateful to the many women and men who told the truth about his behavior," she wrote in an email.

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