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Dartmouth graduate student announces end to hunger strike

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2020 4:46:29 PM
Modified: 8/7/2020 9:47:27 PM

HANOVER — A Dartmouth College graduate student says she ended a 24-day hunger strike on Friday, saying she will work with an outside attorney the college appointed to investigate her allegations of sexual harassment.

“You have likely seen the news that Dartmouth has named an external investigator and she has provided me with documents setting forth the process of the external investigation of my allegations. Although I still do not have answers to all my questions, at this point, I am ending my hunger strike and look forward to working, in good faith, with the independent investigator to ensure that my allegations are investigated fully and fairly,” Maha Hasan Alshawi wrote on her Facebook page on Friday.

Her announcement came after Dartmouth on Thursday evening said it had hired Maureen Holland, a Philadelphia-based lawyer who works with institutions dealing with allegations of sexual harassment and abuse and other misconduct, to investigate the case.

Alshawi stopped eating on July 14, she said, in an effort to draw attention to a low grade she says she received in retaliation for reporting sexual harassment claims against a professor in the computer science department, and to pressure Dartmouth to launch a formal investigation into her harassment claims.

She has not made a public appearance since that time, but protestors have rallied on her behalf on several occasions.

Dartmouth officials had said the school did “carefully review” Alshawi’s complaint but did not substantiate her claims of harassment, but ultimately agreed to bring in the external investigator as her hunger strike continued. Dartmouth officials had repeatedly urged her to end the hunger strike, as did some of her supporters once the college announced the external investigation.

“We are pleased that Maha Alshawi has ended her hunger strike. We hope she seeks medical attention and receives any treatment she may need,” Dartmouth spokeswoman Diana Lawrence said via email on Friday.

In her Facebook post, Alshawi wrote, “Keeping all my supporters updated with all the next steps will stay my first priority as usual,” and, “I remain committed to working to ensure that Title IX investigations at Dartmouth are conducted fairly and that all parties, including complainants, are treated with dignity and fairness.”

John Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com.

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