Students’ Association President Jordan Smith and Vice President Becca Mooney asked Levy to step down Tuesday and she agreed, they told the Campus Times, one part of their response to the recent campus turbulence over how UR handles sexual misconduct. They are also forming an SA task force to re-evaluate and revise sexual misconduct and Title IX policies and procedures here.
“There’s been a lot of sentiment amongst many students that the policies […] need to be revisited,” Smith said. “Even if there are policies, we can still strengthen some of the resources for advocacy.”
Mooney added: “Clearly something isn’t working, and that needs to be looked at.”
The task force will have members of the River Campus SA, the SA at the Eastman School of Music, and the Graduate Students’ Association. Leaders from the Faculty Senate, reform-friendly administrators, and stakeholders from groups like College Feminists and Greek life will also be on the team, which will have around 30 seats.
Smith and Mooney said the task force could have a recommendation ready by early January. SA itself cannot change the policies, but the duo believes the heft of the group will pressure the administration into action.
“We think it’s important that this has as much legitimacy as possible,” Smith said. “It’s very powerful when an entire university community supports this.”
Smith pointed to the University’s discrimination policy — which requires harassment to be “sufficiently severe or pervasive” to be considered harassment — as an area for revision.
All this comes after revelations almost two weeks ago that a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint had been filed against UR by several current and former faculty members and a former grad student.
The complaint, first reported on by Mother Jones, details how UR left Professor T. Florian Jaeger untouched after he was accused by Celeste Kidd, another professor and former graduate student under Jaeger, of years of sexual harassment. According to the document, Kidd was one of 17 professors and students to complain about Jaeger’s behavior.
The complaint primarily argues that UR retaliated against the employees who had come forward about Jaeger’s alleged harassment. The federal commission will not rule on anything related directly to students or allegations of harassment.
Since the complaint and the subsequent outrage on campus it spurred, the Board of Trustees has appointed an investigator to examine “all matters involving the EEOC complaint,” according to a schoolwide email on Tuesday. Jaeger has been placed on administrative leave.
Managing Editor Jesse Bernstein contributed reporting to this piece.
Editor’s Note (12/22/19): A sentence saying that, according to the EEOC complaint, Kidd’s account of harassment was supported by seven professors and 11 students was changed to reflect that Kidd was one of those professors and one of those students. The sentence was also changed to reflect that, according to the complaint, not all of the individuals necessarily supported Kidd’s account of her own experience, but complained about Jaeger’s behavior as they experienced it.