Published: Sun, January 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Amid Criticism, University of Rochester President Steps Down

Amid Criticism, University of Rochester President Steps Down

A special committee has found that the University of Rochester properly dealt with sexual misconduct allegations against a professor and did not retaliate against faculty who brought the complaints.

Rochester's highly anticipated report, released Thursday by a Manhattan legal firm, largely exonerates university administrators who have been accused, legally and otherwise, of siding with an alleged faculty harasser.

White's report examined how the University handled a set of complaints filed by current and former members of the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences about the behavior of Florian Jaeger, a professor in the department.

Complainant Celeste Kidd criticized White for including private messages and emails which Kidd said were taken out of context and said White misstated some of her claims.

Science reports that Seligman made a decision to resign before he learned the conclusion of the report. "It is important to look beyond the specifics and details of this matter and turn toward the future".

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.

She listed several recommendations, including prohibiting intimate relationships between faculty and students in the same department.

Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White concluded that university officials generally acted appropriately, although she stressed that "a number of bold steps" need to be taken by the administration.

. Joel Seligman, the president of the university, stepped down January 11, 2018, just hours before an outside investigation cleared him and his administration Ð including JaegerÐ of charges that they had covered up sexual harassment by a prominent professor and punished those who spoke out against him. "So far there is no evidence that the university would do things differently".

Now, he said, "It is clear to me that the best interests of the university are best served with new leadership, and a fresh perspective to focus on healing our campus and moving us forward in a spirit of cooperation and unity".

"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", a statement said.

"Jaeger did this in order to make her uncomfortable and humiliate her, for example, once telling Kidd that the medication that one of his graduate student sex partners was taking made her vagina taste bad", the complaint states. Students, outraged at the comparison, promptly organized protests including a hunger strike, and more than 400 academics in Jaeger's field signed a letter urging students and colleagues to boycott UR.

"We can not in good conscience encourage our students to pursue educational or employment opportunities at the University of Rochester", the November letter stated.

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