Joel Seligman is resigning, and Richard Feldman is taking his place.
“It is clear to me that the best interests of the University are best served with new leadership,” the president said in a Thursday afternoon email to the UR community. “I have worked tirelessly on the University’s behalf, motivated by a single overriding criterion: What is in the best interest of the University of Rochester?”
Seligman’s last day will be Feb. 28, according to the email.
In an announcement Friday, UR appointed Richard Feldman — who had stepped down as dean of the college last year — interim president.
Calls for Seligman to step down had been loud and frequent from some students in response to the University’s alleged mishandling of sexual harassment complaints against Professor T. Florian Jaeger.
The announcement of Seligman’s resignation arrives on the same day as the long-awaited report about Jaeger’s conduct as well as the University’s response to it. The report, released by special investigator Mary Jo White and her team, concluded that the University handled the matter properly, with suggestions for improvement.
According to his email, Seligman informed Board of Trustees Chairman Danny Wegman of his intent to resign “before I or any member of the Board of Trustees received the Mary Jo White report or learned its contents.”
“The University today needs a new President,” he wrote to Wegman. “The University today most needs a period of healing. I fully support this process.”
In an email made public by Seligman, Wegman accepted his resignation, writing, “You have always put the University of Rochester first, and the fact that you are taking this step is a shining example of that commitment.”
The decision, wrote Wegman, would allow UR to “turn the page.”
Like his immediate predecessor, Thomas Jackson, Seligman holds a separate appointment as a political science professor. He announced his intent return to teaching “after a sabbatical year.”
Seligman has headed UR for over 12 years, longer than the roughly 10-year terms served by his three immediate predecessors. The last president to serve a longer term was William Allen Wallis, who held the post from 1962 to 1975.
He ended his email saying that “there will be more opportunities for me to express this sentiment in the coming weeks, but for now, let me simply say, once again, ‘Thank you.’”
Features Editor Lumi Schildkraut contributed reporting to this piece.