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September 24, 2014

President: Policy and attention in place to address sexual misconduct

President Joel Seligman issued a statement in August responding to a story printed in the Democrat and Chronicle detailing a University student’s experience as the victim of a sexual assault that took place at a campus party. “I wish this event and the others like it that have occurred on our campus never did,” Seligman wrote. “While this is not a common occurrence on our campus, no student, faculty or staff ever should be mistreated this way.”

He went on to stress prevention as the goal. Students can be equipped to avoid victimization, and to intervene on behalf of friends in vulnerable situations, he said.

“When sexual misconduct does happen, please report it promptly. Help is available,” he said, encouraging students to read about their options at www.rochester.edu/sexualmisconduct/, and adding that six female officers in the Department of Public Safety are receiving special training to assist with sexual misconduct investigations.

But Seligman did not overlook the risk and dire consequences of accusations made in the absence of evidence.

“We recognize that all students, including those accused of misconduct, have rights on our campus,” he said. “The reason we diligently investigate complaints and require proof by a preponderance of the evidence is to ensure that we proceed in as fair and just a manner as possible."

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