Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

University of Rochester President Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Report

University of Rochester President Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Report

(University of Rochester via The New York Times) - NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH NY UNIV PRESIDENT BY VIVIAN WANG FOR JAN. 11, 2018.

The nine complainants followed up with a federal lawsuit against the university, Seligman and the provost last month.

"I would have to say that President Seligman's resignation is some vindication that what we were doing (raising the complaints) is right", Richard Aslin, a University of Rochester researcher who sued Seligman and the institution for improperly investigating Jaeger and retaliating against those who complained, tells the Democrat & Chronicle. In identical filings, seven current and former professors and a graduate student in the university's prestigious brain and cognitive sciences department-including Time "Silence Breakers" Celeste Kidd and Jessica Cantlon-claimed that the university had mishandled a 2016 internal investigation into the the behavior of another one of its professors, Jaeger, and found him not responsible for violating university policy.

Seligman says he made his decision before seeing the committee's report on Thursday.

University of Rochester president Joel Seligman.

In a statement, Rochester's trustees praised Seligman and said he notified them of his resignation before they - or anyone else - had received the independent investigators' report. "Some former female graduate students have had to endure behaviours and inappropriate remarks they should not have had to endure", White said.

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White recommended a strict ban on sexual relationships between faculty and students, and urged the administration to facilitate extensive staff training on how to spot and prevent sexual harassment.

"As we as a community begin to consider this report, we trustees express our heartfelt apology to anyone who was hurt by the actions of any university employee, or who felt intimidated, excluded or harassed", they said.

"We can not in good conscience encourage our students to pursue educational or employment opportunities at the University of Rochester", the November letter stated. The report brought no closure or justice, she said.

Attorney Ann Olivarius, who represents the complainants, calls the report incomplete and inaccurate. He first came to campus in 1975 as an assistant professor of philosophy. But the report itself was unsatisfying, he said, as Jaeger was found not to have harassed women to a "pervasive" or "severe" degree, even though multiple women testified about harassment.

Of all White's recommendations for moving forward, Pollak said several stood out: having sexual harassment claims handled by an office and investigator apart from university counsel and providing claimants and the accused different advisers.

Nevertheless, he said, the divisiveness created by a semester-long independent investigation of the University's handling of allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation involving a faculty member has made him recognize the need for a new leader for Rochester.

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