Peter Hutchinson, subject of 10 sexual harassment complaints, resigns from Trinity Hall

Good riddance to bad rubbish


CN: This article contains mention of sexual harassment

Today, Trinity Hall's Governing Body accepted the resignation of Peter Hutchinson, and it will take place with immediate effect.

Hutchinson was readmitted to the college in October, a decision which sparked an outcry among students and in the national media, given the sexual harassment allegations made against him in 2015.

The Master of Trinity Hall, The Revd Canon Dr Jeremy Morris, has released a statement today in light of Hutchinson's resignation.

The college plans to "undertake a governance review of its decision-making processes. The aim of this review will be to consider necessary improvements to the executive processes of the College, including matters of transparency and representation."

Timeline

2005-6

The first sexual misconduct allegations were made against the Emeritus fellow nearly 15 years ago. He was cleared of all charges after admitting to patting his accuser on the bottom, telling police: "I cannot understand how something which seemed so trivial was so important to her."

2014-15

A decade later, he was accused by 10 female students of making inappropriate sexual comments while teaching. Following these allegations, he agreed to withdraw from any further undergraduate or postgraduate teaching, and was banned from all undergraduate contact.

2017

In November 2017, Hutchinson erroneously received an invite to a lecture with students present, which he attended. In light of this breach of the ban on contact with students, Trinity Hall announced that he had "withdrawn permanently from any further involvement with college affairs" and would not be present in the college at any time in the future.

2018

A formal independent review "of the matter as a whole" was completed the following year. It concluded that the college had "broadly handled the complaints well" and "resolved the matter appropriately."

2019

To provide some "clarity" following the misunderstanding around Hutchinson's invite to the lecture, an agreement was reached between him and the college, which set out which events he could attend.

Then, in October, Hutchinson was "readmitted" to Trinity Hall as an Emeritus Fellow, following a vote by the Governing Body. It was said that the 2017 decision to remove him was "incorrect" and had not been agreed with Hutchinson.

The decision was sharply criticised across Cambridge and beyond. An open letter was signed by over 900 current and former university members, calling for the removal of Hutchinson.