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Message from the Special Committee of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees

September 28, 2017

Today, the Special Committee overseeing the independent investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation at the University of Rochester (the “University”) announced a series of measures intended to confirm the rigor, fairness and transparency of the investigative process.

First, the Special Committee has received authorization from the Board of Trustees to add a faculty member and graduate student as full members of the Committee.  The Special Committee strongly believes that the addition of faculty and graduate student members will help ensure that the investigation proceeds independently in a fair and transparent manner, with representation from these critical University constituencies.  It is our intention to identify faculty and graduate student members who are objective, unbiased, well-respected, and completely independent of the issues under scrutiny.

Second, to further ensure that the investigation proceeds with integrity and independence, the Special Committee has assured Mary Jo White and her law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, of unfettered access to all witnesses, documents and information within the University’s control and has instructed Ms. White to investigate and make findings without influence from anyone, including the Special Committee.  The Special Committee will not, for example, receive any information on the Debevoise findings until their review and report is complete.  The final report of Debevoise’s findings and recommendations will be made available simultaneously to the Special Committee and Board of Trustees only when it is fully complete, and neither the Special Committee nor the Board of Trustees will be given an opportunity to recommend or make changes to the report.  Debevoise’s findings and recommendations (unedited) will then be released to the University community and the broader public later that same day.

“In a short period of time, the Special Committee has retained a world class Investigator with an un-impeachable reputation with no prior relationship to anyone on the University’s staff, is preparing to round out the Committee with qualified individuals representing important constituencies and has developed a plan that will ensure the findings are complete, untouched and transparent.  This has been accomplished because the University has empowered this Committee to be completely independent and allow the legal team to establish the truth in this important matter.  It is also a reflection of the strong belief by the entire Special Committee that the only way for the University to begin to heal and emerge healthier and stronger is for this process to have complete integrity and be beyond reproach.  We ask that anyone with information relevant to this investigation and review should contact Ms. White at (212) 909-6260 or or her partner, Mary Beth Hogan, at (212) 909-6996 or,” said Rich Handler, Chairman of the Special Committee on behalf of every member of the Committee.

As announced on September 19, 2017, the Special Committee has been tasked with investigating all matters involving the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) complaint filed by Dr. Richard Aslin, et al., as well as conducting a review of the University’s processes, policies and procedures concerning allegations of sexual abuse and harassment.


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Category: University News