A Cambridge lecturer who sexually harassed ten students has been readmitted into his former college.
Students have been left baffled by the decision to allow Dr Peter Hutchinson back into Trinity Hall, less than two years after it was announced he had been banned both from entering the college and contacting students.
Former students told the BBC that the news had felt like a “slap in the face” after complainants had plucked up the courage to speak out.
Allegations against Hutchinson first came to light in 2015, Cambridgeshire Live reported, after he was reported to authorities at Trinity Hall following allegations from a number of students.
It is believed that the allegations dated back to 2005, though he was cleared of sexual assault charges in 2006.
He quit teaching modern and medieval languages in 2015 after an internal college investigation, and faced complaints of nearly a dozen “inappropriate” incidents in 2014 and 2015.
In the wake of the investigation Hutchinson was banned from directly contacting students, although retained an advisory role at the college, however in 2017 was found to have breached those conditions.
In December of the same year the college released a statement saying Hutchinson would no longer be permitted inside the college.
However, it was revealed on Saturday that the decision had apparently been overturned – with Trinity Hall releasing a statement on its website which clarified that the 2017 decision “had not been agreed with Dr Hutchinson and was incorrect”.
The college said he had been “mistakenly removed” from a list of Emeritus Fellows in 2017, however confirmed that Hutchinson did in fact have the privileges associated with becoming a fellow.
As well as making it clear that Hutchinson’s association with the college had apparently been severed in error, the statement read: “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.”
A Trinity Hall spokesperson said: “Following the announcement in December 2017 that Dr Hutchinson would be withdrawing permanently from further involvement in college affairs and would not be present in college at any time in the future, there has been an extensive internal process of review.
“This has involved an external review panel and the obtaining of confidential legal advice. The agreed conditions under which Dr Hutchinson will exercise his entitlement as Emeritus Fellow are a consequence of that process.
“Given the extensive and confidential nature of the consultation, it would not be appropriate to comment further on that. 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.”