Three professors in Dartmouth College’s department of psychological and brain sciences have been put on paid leave while a criminal investigation of alleged badual misconduct is carried out, the authorities said Tuesday.
Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald of New Hampshire said his office was part of a joint criminal investigation by five law enforcement agencies into allegations of “serious misconduct.” The professors’ access to the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, N.H., has been restricted.
Details of the allegations were not released, but Mr. MacDonald’s statement said the criminal investigation arose after an inquiry to college officials by the college newspaper, The Dartmouth, which reported last week that the professors had disappeared from their campus posts.
At that time, the college announced that it was conducting its own investigation.
In a separate statement on Tuesday, the president of Dartmouth, Philip J. Hanlon, said the university was cooperating with the criminal investigations of the three professors, identified by the newspaper as Todd Heatherton, Bill Kelley and Paul Whalen.
Dr. Heatherton leads a center for social brain sciences and, according to the college’s website, conducts research in social behavior focusing on self-regulation, self-esteem and self-referential processing. Dr. Whalen runs the Whalen Lab, which conducts research on a part of the brain known as the amygdala. Dr. Kelley’s work focuses on memory and self-regulation, according to the website.
None of the professors could be reached immediately for comment.
“I want to say in the most emphatic way possible that badual misconduct and harbadment are unacceptable and have no place at Dartmouth,” Mr. Hanlon said. “Such acts harm us as individuals and as members of the community.”