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University of Rochester President Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Report

14 January 2018

Rich Feldman will take over from Joel Seligman, who announced he would step down to give the university a fresh start.

University of Rochester president Joel Seligman show in 2014.

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.

Numerous accusers have challenged Mary's conclusion that the university did not harass or undermine any of the accusing students. "Shame on you", she said.

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.

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The western NY university's board of trustees appointed White and her committee after a group of faculty members and a graduate student filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying the university had mishandled its investigation of Jaeger and retaliated against them for reporting his behavior in 2016. "It is not acceptable to say people have behaved offensively and inappropriately to our students, but nobody did anything wrong". It says that he's received enthusiastic support from many of his students, especially in recent years.

Science reports that Seligman made a decision to resign before he learned the conclusion of the report.

The university has been in turmoil since an 111-page complaint filed with the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was filed against the school.

White's report says the university and its officials committed a series of "missteps" in trying to deal with the complaints against Jaeger. The professors argue that this is a fatal flaw.

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. "We don't think there's a claim there under those laws", she said.

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

But the behavior did not violate university policy, which has since changed, nor was there forced sex, groping or "quid pro quo" sexual harassment, the committee concluded.

Richard N. Aslin, a fellow complainant and former professor in the department who now works at Haskins Laboratories, said that the report criticizes him and his colleagues for taking things "into our own hands" while simultaneously admitting that Rochester's internal investigation was incomplete. Because of the pending legal case, they declined to participate in interviews with White's investigators.

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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University of Rochester President Resigns Amid Sexual Misconduct Report