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Yale staffer reported Darnell relationship

Details in a semiannual report on sexual misconduct complaints released by the university yesterday suggest that it was a Yale staff member who filed a complaint over the alleged years-long sexual relationship between Egyptology professor John Darnell and one of his students.

In an e-mail to colleagues on January 8, Darnell admitted to having an intimate relationship with a student under his supervision and to participating in the review of a faculty member with whom he had an intimate relationship. He said he had agreed to step down as chair of the Near East languages and civilizations (NELC) department and to a one-year suspension.

The names of complainants and respondents are not included in the report released yesterday, but Graduate School associate dean Pamela Schirmeister ’80, ’88PhD, told the Yale Daily News that the complaint against Darnell was included in the report, and the details of one particular entry match those that are known or alleged in the Darnell case. The item, included among complaints made to the university's Title IX coordinators, reads: "A staff member reported that a male faculty member engaged in a sexual relationship with a female student whom he supervised while she was both an undergraduate and a Graduate & Professional student, in violation of the Policy on Teacher-Student Consensual Relations. The respondent admitted a violation of the consensual relations policy and accepted a one-year suspension without pay." In Yale parlance, a "staff member" is an employee who is not on the faculty.

The unnamed staff member's allegation echoes that of Darnell's wife, who accused him in divorce papers of beginning a sexual relationship with Colleen Manassa ’01, ’05PhD, when Manassa was an undergraduate majoring in NELC. Manassa went on to get her PhD in the department under Darnell's supervision and was then hired as an assistant professor. She is now an associate professor and the director of undergraduate studies in the department. Anonymous sources have told the Yale Daily News that the faculty member Darnell referred to in his e-mail as Manassa, but this has not been confirmed by Darnell, Manassa, or anyone in the Yale administration.

The report, which is the third issued by the provost's office as part of an increased focus on sexual misconduct issues after a Title IX complaint against the university in 2011, documents 43 new complaints and includes updates on 3 previous complaints. The complaints, which are in various stages of resolution, range from nonconsensual sex and physical assault to inappropriate comments. There were three complaints about personal relationships among staff and/or faculty that were said to have created a "hostile environment."

Filed under John Darnell, Colleen Manassa, Title IX
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