Panel backs U of R misconduct probe; president resigns

University Of Rochester President Resigns After Sexual Harassment Accusations

“Inappropriate, Unprofessional and Offensive”—But Not Breaking Any of University of Rochester's Rules

"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.

WIKIMEDIA, TOMWSULCEROn the heels of an investigation into sexual harassment complaints against a University of Rochester professor, the college's president, Joel Seligman, has elected to leave his post. Or at least that's the conclusion of a report released on Thursday by a team of investigators led by Mary Jo White, the former USA attorney and SEC commissioner who was hired by a UR committee in September to investigate the allegations and the university's handling of them.

The university, some of its administrators, and the accused professor, T. Florian Jaeger, were the subjects of Equal Opportunity Employment Commission complaints last summer.

A University of Rochester professor's sexual relationships with students and other boundary-blurring behavior were unprofessional and offensive, but did not violate the school's policy or the law, according to a report Thursday that supported the university's decision to clear him of wrongdoing.

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"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. The investigator has stated that the accusations against Jaeger are wildly "exaggerated and misleading in many respects" as well as coming to the conclusion that the president did not sexually harass university students and that the accusations are false and misleading. Aslin himself had resigned from the university in protest.

Research professor Florian Jaeger made national headlines previous year after allegations arose that he had harassed and engaged in sexual relationships with his students.

While the report doesn't find Jaeger's actions illegal, it does condemn his behavior as a professor from the time he was hired in 2007 through 2013.

"The report admits students suffered from his actions".

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"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.

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.

But, in an at times contradictory report, former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White refuted those claims, concluding that university officials ultimately acted appropriately, although she stressed that "a number of bold steps" needs to be taken by the administration in order to fix the "wounds and distrust" inflicted by Jaeger. She said she changed her course of research because of it. "It is not acceptable to say that people have behaved offensively and inappropriately to our students, but nobody did anything wrong".

"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. It said there was no retaliation by the university against the accusers. 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.

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