On Campus
May 30, 2008, 05:58AM

Dartmouth Christian Group Leader Accused Of Sexual Misconduct

The on-campus director for a Christian fellowship allegedly made female members uncomfortable with physical contact, showing that even in an Ivy League religious organization gender politics can still be divisive.

"Steven Spaulding, director of Dartmouth’s chapter of the Navigators Christian Fellowship, was accused of misconduct, allegedly involving female student members of the Navigators, and stepped down from his position Thursday. The six-week long investigation of Spaulding by the national Navigators was sparked by female students and a female administrator’s accusations that Spaulding made them feel uncomfortable by “touching shoulders or giving hugs,” according to Alex Mercado ‘11, a member of the Navigators. However, many of the organization’s members question the validity of the accusations, according to a student member who wished to remain anonymous.

The anonymous student said he was “furious” with the Navigators’ decision to ask Spaulding to step down and disappointed with those who took the claims into consideration.

“This outspoken minority unfortunately made a decision for an entire community and did not represent the beliefs or feelings of a majority,” the student said in an e-mail. “I believe that the arguments against Spaulding were very exaggerated and one sided.”

Dartmouth’s Navigators chapter, which has approximately 120 members, is a part of the Tucker Foundation’s United Campus Ministries, an umbrella organization for religious groups. College Chaplain Richard Crocker leads the group, which meets monthly to discuss shared concerns and events, according to Kurt Nelson, the multi-faith program adviser for the Tucker Foundation.



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