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UR professor accused of sexual harassment placed on leave, investigation launched

UR professor accused of sexual harassment placed on leave, investigation launched

September 19, 2017 06:36 PM

The University of Rochester professor accused of sexual harassment in an EEOC complaint has been placed on administrative leave.

In a news release Tuesday afternoon, the university's Board of Trustees says it has launched an independent investigation into the matter. In a statement, the board says a special committee will oversee the investigation lead by former U.S. Attorney of the Southern District Mary Jo White.

Chairman Danny Wegman wrote in a release, “This is a matter of utmost importance to the entire University community, and the Special Committee will conduct its investigation with complete independence, with access to all relevant information, and receive total cooperation from the University.”

President Joel Seligman added: “I welcome this independent investigation by the Board and assure the complete cooperation of the University and its staff. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public deserve a full and transparent accounting on this matter.”

Earlier this month, a group of professors accused Professor Florian Jaeger of using his position of power to have sexual relationships with students.

In the EEOC complaint, former UR professors Dr. Richard Aslin and Dr. Elissa Newport claim that Dr. Jaeger "engaged in sexual harassment and has created a hostile environment for graduate students, and for retaliating against those of us who filed and pursued a complaint through university procedures."

Last week, in a statement, the university said it was reviewing the complaint, but said it had already investigated the sexual harassment complaints and could not substantiate the claims.

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University officials wrote in a statement: "We believe that the 100-plus page complaint document represents a narrative that is largely based on hearsay that was not substantiated in our investigations or in the subsequent appeals, and ignores factual evidence."

The story, which has made national headlines, has outraged members of the student base. Last week, students held a rally, calling for Dr. Jaeger to be fired. One student, Lindsay Wrobel, even went on a hunger strike to put pressure on university administrators.

Tuesday afternoon, Wrobel tweeted she is ending her hunger strike, but says, "We're not done fighting!"

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