Cambridge professor 'steps back' amid claims he mishandled sexual misconduct complaints

Elsa Tarring reports on the stepping down of Dr Jeremy Morris, head of Trinity Hall...

Elsa Tarring
2nd March 2020
Image: Wikimedia Commons
Dr Jeremy Morris, the head of Trinity Hall at Cambridge University, has stepped back following claims that he mishandled a series of complaints of sexual assault at the university.

The most concerning of these claims is how Dr Morris had handled 10 allegations of sexual assault in 2015 towards fellow Cambridge academic, Dr Peter Hutchinson.

While Dr Hutchinson stopped teaching when the assault claims were made, the professor was still able to attend college events, and he only resigned from the university in 2019 after pressure from staff and students. It also emerged last week that Dr Hutchinson published an erotic novel about students the same year that these sexual assault claims were made.

It has been argued that Dr Morris also acted in an improper way following a series of complaints of sexual assault against a male student at the university; as well as against another senior member of staff, who was allowed to remain in his job for five months after he was accused.

All of these sexual assault claims were reported to the university as part of an internal investigation, but a number of students and staff have complaints over how the reports were handled, given that many of the alleged perpetrators were allowed to continue at the university with little or no investigation. 

Over 500 Cambridge students and staff have signed a petition demanding that Dr Morris resign after revealing that they have “no faith” in the college’s processes regarding sexual assault complaints.

The mother of one of the students who made a complaint under the leadership of Dr Morris has expressed concern that the college “has failed many young men and women” in the way in which the cases have been handled.

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