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University Of Rochester President Resigns After Sexual Harassment Accusations
14 January 2018, 09:42 | Opal Carroll
“Inappropriate, Unprofessional and Offensive”—But Not Breaking Any of University of Rochester's Rules
In a joint complaint, at least four Rochester students alleged that the university didn't do enough to protect them from Jaeger, noting that the professor was promoted in the midst of an investigation into his behavior. 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.
Joel Seligman, the president of the university, stepped down January. It said there was no retaliation by the university against the accusers.
"In hindsight, there were aspects of the initial university investigation that could have been done differently and better", former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White said in releasing the report after a 3 ½-month investigation.
Joel Seligman announces his resignation as president and CEO of the University of Rochester during a presentation for campus leaders.
The independent investigation was initiated last September to look into sexual misconduct allegations against Jaeger and to evaluate how the University of Rochester responded to them.
"The department is dead", founding department member Elissa Newport, now a professor of neurology at Georgetown University and a complainant in federal cases against Rochester, said during a news conference Thursday.
Florian Jaeger, a research professor at the upstate NY university's cognitive sciences department, made national headlines last year after allegations arose that he had for years harassed and engaged in sexual relationships with his students.
The university ordered the probe after a group of faculty members filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. "Some former female graduate students have had to endure behaviours and inappropriate remarks they should not have had to endure", White said.
She listed several recommendations, including prohibiting intimate relationships between faculty and students in the same department. Yet, she said, her firm's conclusions are legal, not "moral" ones. "Ever better is what the University of Rochester is all about". "Your investigation is structurally unable to get evidence from the main actors in the stories you are trying to reconstruct", the complainants' lawyer, Ann Olivarius, wrote to White in November. He also prompted campus protests for initially comparing the allegations against Jaeger to those of rape made against the University of Virginia and one of its fraternities in a now-discredited Rolling Stone article.
"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.
The board of trustees said it had "many serious decisions to make in the days ahead".
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