Professors urge boycott of University of Rochester over allegations of misconduct

University of Rochester boycott

In what may be an unprecedented move, more than 400 college professors from all over the world have written an open letter calling for a boycott of the University of Rochester, where a professor is accused of preying on female students.

The open letter expresses "disappointment" with the University of Rochester "in their response to allegations of misconduct " by brain and cognitive sciences professor Dr. Florian Jaeger.

It criticizes the university for "supporting the predator and intimidating the victims and advocates in this case."

University of Rochester Professor T. Florian Jaeger

And in bold print, the professors further state they will not "encourage students to pursue educational or employment opportunities" at the university.

Professor Elizabeth Bonawitz of New Jersey's Rutgers University was the 49th to sign.

"It's really horrifying," Bonawitz said. "It sends the message that the university is more interested in saving face than protecting its most vulnerable population."

In September, eight current and former Rochester researchers filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It claims that school officials were not protecting students. The 111-page complaint alleges Jaeger used overtly sexual language with his students, used his influence to sleep with female graduates and even pressured a student to live with him.

That student is Dr. Celeste Kidd, now a professor at the university.

"He made it clear, explicitly by telling me, that if I had a problem with him and I expressed that, there would be professional consequences," she said. 

University of Rochester. CBS News

In a statement to CBS News, university officials said "the fact is that many students, faculty, and administrators at the university do not recognize the institution described in the letter circulating on the internet."

"The sort of response we are seeing from the administration to suppress this to the point of actually putting those victims at risk -- I think was most troubling to me," Bonawitz said. 

Jaeger remains on paid administrative leave. He did not respond to our request for comment.  The university has launched an independent investigation since the EEOC complaint.