Professors Question Rochester on Harassment

December 18, 2017

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee at the University of Rochester has published an open letter saying that the university has failed to adopt -- even on an interim basis -- policies to prevent harassment and protect those who report harassment. "This inaction has damaged the university’s climate and reputation," the letter says. "Therefore, we conclude that, going forward, the university policies to address harassment and sexual misconduct should not assign authority to the administration without broad-based oversight from faculty, staff and students."

The faculty statement is the latest development in a scandal over a widely publicized complaint from eight former and current Rochester brain and cognitive sciences professors and graduate students, filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission this summer. The complaint, forwarded to Rochester’s board by two former department chairs in particular, describes the department as once at the top of the research rankings and now broken, possibly irrevocably. It traces the dramatic shift to the hiring of Florian Jaeger, now an associate professor, in 2007. Many have accused him of inappropriate conduct, which he has denied.

The university released a statement that said in part, "The policies and practices in place at the University of Rochester are regularly benchmarked against those of peer institutions, and we believe they currently provide appropriate protections and support for both complainants and respondents."

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