Students haven’t forgotten the controversy over UR’s handling of sexual misconduct reports against Professor T. Florian Jaeger — and some graduate students are planning to unionize.

All that was the message delivered at a demonstration outside Wilson Commons Jan. 19 aimed at holding UR accountable after it was cleared of policy violations by a special investigation this month.

“Justice cannot just be meted out by the higher-ups, especially when they have demonstrated questionable ethics,” said Yuliya Muradova, a third-year graduate student. “We need to seize justice with our own hands. We are here today to announce our intent to unionize the graduate student body.”

The demonstration — which drew dozens of students, alumni, and faculty —  found gatherers expecting more from the University and hoping for change as Richard Feldman transitions into the school’s presidency next month.

“Even if the administration is not really being supportive of the kind of environment that we want to be in, we are still trying really hard to protect each other and keep progressing and making it what we want it to be,” said first-year Sang Pak.

Some in attendance felt the investigation report was inadequate.

“Oh gosh, reading that thing, there [were] several times of just victim-blaming,” senior Jonavelle Cuerdo said. “It was just upsetting to read. I spent a good amount of time just scrolling through my phone to figure out what her conclusion was. I don’t think it did any justice. It pointed out that yes, he did all these things, but he still kind of gets away with it.”

The report’s recommendations were read aloud by senior Lindsay Wrobel, who is on medical leave, Jenna Register ‘16, and graduate student Marissa Adams. They were joined by Joseph Irrera ‘14, who is currently engaged in a sexual misconduct lawsuit of his own against the University.

Wrobel and Register encouraged students to reach out to SA Government to uphold the policy changes that were made after the investigation. They wanted the student body to pressure UR to ensure that the recommendations that were put forward would be maintained.

University President Joel Seligman’s resignation this month drew out opposing views.

A few students felt Seligman’s resignation was a step in the right direction.

“I think it was a smart and mature move for [Seligman] to resign because he recognized that students and faculty want change, so he’s willing to let that happen,” said first-year Emily Corbett-Valade. “I hope that the new president can step up.”

Most, however, felt his resignation should have come sooner.

“Seligman’s resignation should have come sooner because he had opposed student’s interests too much already,” said fifth-year graduate student Mehrun Nisa.

In regards to the soon-to-be interim president, former Dean of the College Richard Feldman, many welcomed his apparent proactiveness and willingness to reach out to the student body.

“I like the communication that […] Feldman has had so far,” said first-year Shannon Lue Chee Lip. “I think it is better than what President Seligman did with all the different emails that he has been sending out.”

Correction (1/29/18): The original version of this article misquoted Muradova. Muradova said “meted out,” not “kneaded out.”



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