The University of Boston confirmed that David Marchant, geologist, was found to have sexually harassed a former student

Through an investigation, BU concluded that David Marchant was guilty of sexually harassing Jane Willenbring, a former student of his, between 1999 and 2000 during an expedition to Antarctica when the two were together in the field camp in the heavily isolated territory.

Willenbring, who was only 22 years old at the time Marchant harassed her, came forward in October of 2016 to file a complaint at the BU describing in graphic detail the harassment she was subject to during the Antarctica trip.

Willenbring, who currently works in the position of associate professor at an oceanography institution in California, stated within her complaint that Marchant had threatened that if she did not write a positive report of him for his promotion file, he would “ruin” any future career she may choose to pursue after graduation.

Among Willenbring’s accusations against Marchant are that he pushed her down a dangerously steep slope on several occasions, threw pebbles at her when she would urinate, and forcibly blew volcanic ash into her face and eyes.

University demands Marchant step forward to address investigation findings

The BU has a strong policy against sexual harassment, and after a thorough investigation into Willenbring’s claimed determined that enough evidence had been accumulated against Marchant to warrant a response and appeal from him.

Jeffrey Sankey, Marchant’s lawyer, stated that he planned to appeal against the results of the investigation and that Marchant maintains he never engaged in any form of sexually inappropriate or harassment-based behaviour during the 1999 expedition or at any time in his life.

The BU put Marchant on paid leave with the possible intent to terminate him from the university, a move that Willenbring stated was “warranted” based on Marchant’s actions.

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