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Celeste Kidd resigns from University of Rochester

Professor Celeste Kidd
University of Rochester
Professor Celeste Kidd

In a condemning letter to the University of Rochester, two professors announced their resignation this week in light of the university's handling ofsexual misconduct complaints against professor Florian Jaeger.

Celeste Kidd and her husband Steven Piantadosi have accepted positions at the University of California at Berkeley.

They are among six faculty members of the UR's brain and cognitive sciences department to resign in protest since professor Jaeger was not found guilty of violating university policy by in a series of reviews.

Piantadosi said he and Kidd pleaded with university leaders to hold Jaeger accountable and apologize to the 16 women who accused him of sexual misconduct, but the university refused to take action.

"That's sad not just for our case, but it's sad for all of the other students, both at U of R and other institutions who are watching and who can see, 'Wow, if I complain, maybe this will happen to me,'  he said. "That's what I think we're most sad about. They can see how U of R acts; they can see it's not ethical and that's going to discourage women from coming forward."

When asked to respond to Kidd and Piantadosi’s resignation, a spokesperson for the University of Rochester pointed to a series of new rules and policies that have been implemented, including restricting relationships between faculty and students, updated guides for sexual misconduct reporting, and a new, university-wide diversity and equity council.

An investigation commissioned by the university board of trustees earlier this year said Florian Jaeger was guilty of unprofessional behavior and poor judgement, but cleared him of violating school policy.

Celeste Kidd was named one of Time magazine's 2017 Persons of the Year for being a “silence breaker” against sexual misconduct.  She led the UR’s Baby Lab, which studied infant development and attention.

Piantadosi was the head of the university’s computation language lab, where researchers studied how children learn language and how language works. Both labs will be closed with the couple’s departure.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.