University of Rochester President Joel Seligman resigned from his post Thursday afternoon, just hours after an independent investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct of a university professor ended.
A report compiled by law firm Debevoise & Plimpton published Thursday largely exonerated Seligman, who had been accused of covering up sexual harassment complaints first made against Professor Florian Jaeger in 2016. While the report conceded that Jaeger’s behavior was at times “insensitive, unprofessional, and cruel,” it concluded that neither he nor Seligman violated university policy.
Faculty members accused Seligman of not appropriately responding to the accusations made against Jaeger, and of fostering a hostile work environment. In his statement, Seligman alluded to the current political and social climate, telling the university it could only heal under new leadership.
Seligman wrote: “In everything that I have done, I have been animated by a single overriding criterion: What is the best interest of our University? I do so again today.
“From that perspective, it is clear to me: The felt needs of our university and our nation have changed. The university today needs a new president. I say this with no bitterness, no regret, but seeing facts for what they are. The university today most needs a period of healing. I fully support this process.”
Seligman told The New York Times he made the decision to retire before the report was published this afternoon, and that the school’s Board of Trustees did not push him to do so.