Dartmouth College, student on hunger strike over harassment allegations said to be in talks

  • A Facebook page updates followers on Maha Hasan Alshawi's hunger strike. Alshawi is a computer science graduate student at Dartmouth College who says the college has not taken her allegation that she was sexually harassed by a professor seriously. Dartmouth has said it investigated the matter and that no other action is warranted.

Staff report
Published: 7/21/2020 9:35:40 PM
Modified: 7/21/2020 9:35:33 PM

HANOVER — A Dartmouth College graduate student and school officials declined to comment on the status of her hunger strike on Tuesday, the day after the college offered to assign her claims of sexual harassment and retaliation to an outside investigator if she halted the weeklong hunger strike.

Maha Hasan Alshawi, a first-year graduate student in the computer science department, began the strike on July 14 in an effort to get the college to change a low grade she alleges she received in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment claims against a professor in her department.

Her hunger strike has inspired protests on campus and an online petition, which by Tuesday evening had been signed by nearly 10,000 people, calls on the college to thoroughly investigate her claims.

Though the college has said it reviewed Alshawi’s complaint and was unable to substantiate her claims, officials on Monday offered to bring in an outside investigator in exchange for Alshawi halting the hunger strike and seeking medical care. But on Tuesday it remained unclear whether Alshawi had taken up the school on its offer.

“By mutual consent with Maha, we are going to refrain from commenting,” Diana Lawrence, a spokeswoman for the college, said in a Tuesday email.

Alshawi also declined to get into specifics Tuesday, saying she was working with a lawyer on the matter.

“We are still negotiating, which means nothing has changed,” she said.

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