Letter trying to discourage students from attending UR gets more attention

Nov 22, 2017

The petition urging researchers around the world to discourage students from attending the University of Rochester is gaining more attention.

The controversy over allegations of harassment made against Professor Florian Jaeger was picked up in a story by the Washington Post on Wednesday.

It says that the boycott letter, which was recently posted online, has now been signed by more than 400 professors and instructors from around the world, and the authors of the letter reportedly delivered it to two board of trustees members at UR last Monday.

The letter says that the signatories are disappointed with the UR administration’s response to the allegations of misconduct by professor  Jaeger and ask the board to think "broadly and deeply about the kinds of changes they are committed to making."

The University of Rochester provided this response:

“The University of Rochester is deeply committed to a safe and respectful campus for everyone, free of harassment or discrimination of any kind. When complaints were brought to the attention of the administration, the University immediately launched an internal investigation, conducting more than 40 interviews and making every reasonable effort to contact anyone directly involved. Given new allegations in the complaint to the EEOC, we believe that the recently commissioned independent investigation sponsored by a Special Committee of the Board of Trustees is the best way to fully understand, address, and learn from this matter. 

The independent investigation is being led by Mary Jo White, a former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and SEC Chair with a long record of integrity. Ms. White has accepted the assignment on conditions of unconditional independence and unfettered access to all witnesses, documents, and information within the University’s control, and with the understanding that her report will be developed entirely independent of the University, its Board of Trustees, and its administration. 

The fact is that many students, faculty, and administrators at the University do not recognize the institution described in the letter circulating on the Internet. They are proud of our school and find it to be a welcoming and supportive learning environment. It is regrettable that the letter is signed by many people who do not have direct knowledge of the actual circumstances here. 

We welcome the independent investigation and look forward to its findings and recommendations in the best interests of our students and faculty.”