Trinity Hall, where Dr Hutchinson taught MML before his removal Louis Ashworth

Content Note: This article contains detailed discussion and description of sexual harassment and assault, rape and and legal proceedings concerning these issues.

Trinity Hall has described a decision to remove an academic who was found to have sexually harassed 10 students as “incorrect” and has readmitted the former MML fellow.

Dr Hutchinson was permanently removed from Trinity Hall in 2017 and banned from contacting students after an internal college investigation into his conduct. Almost a dozen students made complaints against Dr Hutchinson concerning “inappropriate” incidents in 2014 and 2015, the year he resigned from the college.

Trinity Hall have announced that the 2017 decision to remove him had “not been agreed with Dr Hutchinson and was incorrect” and that he automatically became an emeritus fellow upon his retirement. 

In a statement, Trinity Hall concluded after “extensive discussion and legal advice”  that Dr Hutchinson’s name had been “mistakenly removed” from its website.

"In line with the rights and privileges afforded to emeritus fellows of the college, Dr Hutchinson will continue to attend certain college events and to exercise his dining rights but will not attend events primarily aimed at students or alumni except by agreement with the college.” 

According to BBC news, Dr Hutchinson threatened legal action against Trinity Hall and the college was concerned about the impartiality of the process. 

Sexual misconduct allegations against Dr Hutchinson date from 2005 and Dr Hutchinson was cleared of criminal charges of sexual assault in 2006. 

Following later complaints and the investigation, Trinity Hall permanently removed Dr Hutchinson in 2017, saying “We can confirm Dr Hutchinson has withdrawn permanently from any involvement with college affairs, including from his role on the finance committee.” 

“He will not be present in college at any time in the future.” 

This decision was made after Dr Hutchinson breached sanctions that were imposed on him following the initial complaints. 

At the time, Dr Hutchinson told the BBC that there was “no legal finding of harassment” and that the matter was subject to an internal college investigation.

Ex-students who levelled complaints against Dr Hutchinson have spoken out about the decision to readmit him. 

Sophie Newbery, who made a complaint against Dr Hutchinson and graduated in 2018, stated that the college’s new position was a “slap in the face” after complainants “worked up the courage to speak out.” 

Newbery told the BBC that Dr Hutchinson also offered to give her a “big kiss” on her birthday, commented on her clothing and asked students if they would “sleep [their] way to the top” during a film night at his house. 

According to the BBC, in her original complaint, Newbery also detailed how Dr Hutchinson asked students in a seminar if they had “ever had any love bites?” and asked, while discussing the subject of a dominatrix in a book, asked a female student, “Does that turn you on?” 

The former student said that Trinity Hall “never took our complaint seriously and never cared as, one year after graduating, they’ve snuck him back in.” 

Neither Newbery nor another recent graduate spoken to by the BBC had been informed that Dr Hutchinson was being readmitted. 

According to the BBC, a letter to those who had filed complaints asked them not to discuss the matter "further within the student body" because of its "seriousness and sensitivity".

Ellie Pyemont, who graduated in 2003 said that "self-interest and protectionism appear to be the primary forces” at the centre of Trinity Hall’s decision. 

When contacted for comment by the BBC, Trinity Hall said “Given the extensive and confidential nature of the consultation, it would not be appropriate to comment further on that.” 


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"Trinity Hall takes all forms of harassment seriously, and the welfare of its students continues to be central to its work as an educational institution."

The University said that the personal safety of students is taken “very seriously” and said that it has “made a lot of changes” such as anonymous reporting and the appointment of a sexual assault and harassment advisor. 

"We recognise we have more to do, and will continue to listen to and work with our students on how we can improve our approach to handling sexual misconduct."

The University has faced much criticism over its handling of sexual harassment in recent months. In July, Varsity revealed that at least two formal complaints of sexual assault and rape have been dismissed. Both complaints were stopped because of a decision by one chair of the University’s Disciplinary Committee to exclude sexual misconduct from the official definition of harassment in disciplinary procedures. 

The disciplinary procedures have been branded by lawyers and women’s groups as “unlawful” and a Queens’ junior research fellow and barrister called for an “independent inquiry” into the change. 

Recent Cambridge graduate, Dani Bradford, announced in July that she is suing the University over its handling of her sexual misconduct complaint. 

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, the following organisations provide support and resources: