University of Rochester president resigns after controversial handling of sexual harassment complaint

University of Rochester president Joel Seligman. Photo: Univ. of Rochester

The president of the University of Rochester is resigning. Joel Seligman announced his resignation on the same day a report was released from an outside law firm asked to look into the way the university handled allegations of sexual harassment a professor.

The report largely cleared the university and the professor of outright violations of the policy, but it did call for more robust procedures for investigating claims of sexual harassment against faculty members.

Elissa Newport is the chair of the Brain and Cognitive Sciences department, where the professor who is under fire had been working. She is not satisfied.

“It is not acceptable to say that people have behaved offensively and inappropriately to our students, but nobody did anything wrong. That is not acceptable; it is not an acceptable conclusion to arrive at. Shame on you,” she said.

Anger over the initial handling of the complaint also resulted in an open letter by more than 400 professors around the country condemning the University of Rochester.