Plaintiffs respond to Florian Jaeger's return to University of Rochester

Florian Jaeger, who was found responsible for "unprofessional and inappropriate behavior" toward students, has returned to the University of Rochester to teach in the fall. This decision came after the University of Rochester Faculty Senate made the decision to censure Jaeger for his behavior toward students. 

Our clients responded: 

The University of Rochester is permitting Professor Florian Jaeger to return from his year-long paid leave to normal duties, affirming that he “did not violate any laws or University policies” despite demonstrably “unprofessional and inappropriate” behaviors.  In fact, its own paid investigator, Mary Jo White and the Debevoise team, described an extensive list of misbehaviors by Jaeger that were clearly contrary to University policy 106, and White even admitted that this conduct was "in the nature" of sexual harassment – yet the University now wants to act as if whatever happened has been dealt with properly. 

As the EEOC complainants who brought these behaviors to light, we are saddened by the University’s singular focus on enabling Jaeger to resume his professional life while saying nothing about the harm that his behaviors caused to 16 women whose careers were derailed by his misconduct.  We agree with the goals of seeking redemption and forgiveness.  But those goals require accountability.  The University has never personally apologized to Jaeger’s victims or suggested that it has any obligation to them -- indeed its legal filings deny that any victims exist, despite the findings of its own investigation.  The University’s systemic failures allowed Jaeger’s misconduct to continue.  Its administrators retaliated against those who complained about its inadequate response to that misconduct. 

Women enrolling in classes next Fall should not have to choose between their educational goals and their concern about a safe learning environment.  Forcing students to make this choice conveys to victims of sexual misconduct that they matter less than protecting the University’s reputation.  Pledging in the future to “address behaviors that cause members of our community to feel uncomfortable, excluded or disrespected” is an empty promise until the University takes responsibility for the damage it allowed in the past.  Jaeger gets forgiven while his victims get forgotten.