A message from Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, sent on 7 January 2021 to the student, faculty and staff communities of the institution.
Dear Members of the Sciences Po community,
I am addressing you directly because I know that many of you, having read the article published yesterday evening in Le Monde, are rightly questioning the extent and nature of my knowledge of the events widely reported in recent days. I owe you complete clarity.
At the end of 2019, Aurélie Filipetti, associate professor at Sciences Po, made me aware of a rumour circulating about Olivier Duhamel.
With neither tangible evidence nor any further or precise knowledge of the situation, I had difficulty believing that the rumours could be founded.
Nonetheless, I attempted to learn more about the veracity of the rumour, which involved behaviour as ignoble as it was uncertain to me at the time. I hope you can imagine the difficulty of being faced with such a situation – with the imperative to respect both the law and the dignity and wishes of people involved – in particular those of the survivors.
I sought out the counsel of a person close to Olivier Duhamel. This person firmly and clearly indicated to me that the rumour was baseless. In parallel, I also made certain that there were no reports of sexualized violence filed internally against Olivier Duhamel during the years in which he taught at our institution.
On the evening of Sunday, January 3, Olivier Duhamel informed me that a book accusing him of sexualized violence would be published during the same week.
It was only the following day that I learned, through the press reports, the full picture of the crime of which Olivier Duhamel is accused. These revelations were a shock for our institution as a whole, just as they were a shock to me personally. My astonishment was in no way feigned.
My first reaction was to address a message to our students, faculty, and staff. It was important to me that our community at large understood the extent to which I personally - and always – stand in support of survivors, and to which Sciences Po is resolutely committed to fighting all forms of sexualized violence.
Should I, or could I, have acted differently in light of the accusations against Olivier Duhamel contained within the book? The question can rightly be asked, and I am ready to have that discussion. At absolutely no moment did I condone, nor contribute to dispelling, the events which have come to light. At no moment did I encourage or promote silence on the matter. My guiding principle was, and always will be, the protection and the support of survivors of sexualized violence as well as the general interest and well-being of our entire Sciences Po community.