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Rochester roiled by fallout from sexual harassment case

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Science  19 Jan 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6373, pp. 262-263
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6373.262

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Summary

The University of Rochester (U of R) in New York struggled last week to respond to its president's sudden departure even as a lengthy report was issued that largely approved of his administration's handling of explosive sexual harassment complaints against a noted linguist. President Joel Seligman said on 11 January that he will leave U of R on 28 February, an exit he declared to be "in the best interests of the University." The university and its highly esteemed Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) have been buffeted by protests since September 2017, when complaints about alleged sexual harassment by BCS professor T. Florian Jaeger, and the university's handling of them, became public. Last week's report, by former U.S. attorney Mary Jo White of the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm in New York City, concluded that Jaeger, who had multiple consensual relationships with current, former, or prospective students, did not sexually harass any woman or breach then-existing university policies on relationships with students. But the university, its president, and its provost, Robert Clark, must still contend with a lawsuit filed in federal court last month by seven current and former BCS professors, a former postdoc, and a former graduate student. They allege that university administrators permitted Jaeger to create a hostile environment based on sex and retaliated against them after they complained.