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The federal lawsuit against the University of Rochester filed by current and former faculty members and students in the brain and cognitive sciences department may proceed, U.S. District Judge Lawrence Vilardo said this week in a lengthy decision. The university had previously cleared T. Florian Jaeger, a professor in the department, of sexual harassment and asked the court to dismiss the related, ongoing legal case.

Beyond harassment, the lawsuit also alleges that the university retaliated against those involved in reporting Jaeger. Vilardo said the university failed to clearly establish that the lawsuit had no merit. "The alleged incidents are not isolated or one-off insults," he said. “And even if some of the actions alone might not be sufficient, in combination they plausibly amount to material adverse employment action.” The university said in a statement that it has strengthened its policies regarding sexual misconduct since the Jaeger case. It noted that Vilardo did dismiss some specific claims in the lawsuit and said it's "confident that it will prevail on the legal and factual merits of the remaining claims."