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Questions about Title IX at Princeton? Find info on resources, policies, programs here

May 8, 2019 5:37 p.m.

Princeton University is committed to ensuring that all of its community members can learn, work, and thrive in a safe, supportive, and fair environment, free from sexual misconduct and all forms of discrimination. 

As part of this commitment, the University has engaged in ongoing and proactive efforts to enhance the effectiveness of our policies and procedures related to Title IX. We also continually seek to expand the scope of our resources, as well as our educational and programming initiatives. Related information appearing below provides context and details about the University's continuing work to address recent student concerns. 

In recent years, the University has taken a number of significant steps to bolster the support it offers under Title IX by:

  • Adding additional staff dedicated solely to Title IX issues, all of whom have extensive experience investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct allegations and who participate in regular internal and external training.
  • Expanding training to University administrators who choose to serve as Title IX advisers, in which capacity they provide general support to a complainant or respondent during a Title IX investigation.  A complainant or respondent may choose either an internal community member or an external individual to serve as their adviser in the Title IX process. 
  • Enhancing comprehensive required training for all faculty and staff regarding recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct.

Following is an overview of the University’s policies, procedures, and resources related to sex discrimination and sexual misconduct:

Policy

The University's sex discrimination and sexual misconduct policy provides information about types of prohibited conduct, how to access resources and/or make a complaint, and investigative and disciplinary procedures. The policy, which applies equally to all members of the community, was developed in 2014 with significant input from students, faculty, and staff and approved by the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education. It is compliant with Title IX, the Clery Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Substantive changes to the policy require review and approval by the faculty of the University and the CPUC.

Our fundamental commitment:

Princeton University does not tolerate sex or gender discrimination, including sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence. These behaviors are harmful to the well-being of our community members, the learning/working environment, and collegial relationships among our students, faculty, and staff. All forms of prohibited conduct under this policy are regarded as serious University offenses, and violations will result in discipline, including the possibility of separation from the University. State and federal laws also address conduct that may meet the University's definitions of prohibited conduct, and criminal prosecution may take place independently of any disciplinary action instituted by the University.

Frequently Asked Questions

This Frequently Asked Questions page provides general information on the reporting, handling and adjudication of reports and complaints of sexual discrimination and sexual misconduct for students. Among the questions answered there:

  • How can I learn about the University's policy for handling matters of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct and other related conduct?
  • What is sexual misconduct? What is sex discrimination? What other related conduct is prohibited by the University?

SHARE

The Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE) office is a survivor-centered, trauma-informed confidential resource on campus for the Princeton University community. SHARE provides crisis response, support, short-term counseling, advocacy, education, and referral services to those who are dealing with incidents of interpersonal violence and abuse including sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, and stalking. SHARE is independent and unaffiliated with the Title IX office.

Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct

The Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct serves as an advisory group to the University president and provost regarding Princeton's work to prevent sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, assure effective implementation of policies and procedures regarding sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, and support students in compliance with the University's obligations under Title IX.

Co-chaired by Professor of Psychology Nicole Shelton and Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity Michele Minter, and including student representation, the committee identifies and recommends strategies to ensure that students understand their rights under Title IX and the University's related policy and procedures, and understand how to report possible violations of Title IX and/or the policy. The committee also provides annual recommendations for improving the effectiveness of the University's procedures, support services and resources available to students; offers input regarding programming focused on the prevention of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, including outreach and educational activities; and provides consultative support for annual climate surveys. 

Prevention Efforts

Each year, there are multiple education and prevention initiatives that take place for the campus community aimed at preventing incidences of sexual misconduct from occurring in the first place. More information about prevention efforts can be found here.

UMatter is a comprehensive initiative aimed at empowering students, faculty and staff to promote a healthier and safer community. UMatter unites health, well-being and safety efforts across campus, allowing the University community to easily find resources and learn skills to better care for themselves and others. The initiative focuses on preventing and addressing health and safety issues common to college campuses, including high-risk drinking (limits matter); interpersonal violence (respect matters); and mental health distress (connecting matters).

The Respect Matter segment of the initiative helps students:

‘We Speak’ survey

Each year from 2015 to 2017, the University surveyed undergraduate and graduate students about their knowledge and experiences of inappropriate sexual behavior and about their awareness of University policies, procedures and resources. Upon recommendation of the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct, the survey will be administered again in 2020.

The results of the “We Speak: Attitudes on Sexual Misconduct at Princeton” surveys have helped inform University programming to address and prevent issues related to inappropriate sexual behavior and to provide a safe and supportive campus environment.

Over the three years, the survey found a marked improvement, to 87%, in the percentage of students who know where to go to make a report of sexual assault, as well as improvement in the percentage of undergraduate students who indicate that they understand what happens once a student reports a claim of sexual assault.

The survey also found an increase in the fraction of undergraduate students and graduate students who indicated that they are likely or very likely to consult a confidential resource (SHARE, Counseling and Psychological Services, Office of Religious Life) should the need arise.

Penalties

Penalties imposed for violations of the Policy are based on the particular facts and circumstances relating to the violation, including the nature of the violation, the seriousness of the violation, and the respondent’s previous disciplinary history (if any). Penalties for students can include a dean’s warning, disciplinary probation, suspension (with or without conditions), withholding of a degree, or expulsion. In addition to the penalty, respondents found responsible for violations are required to complete the Community Integrity Program (“CIP”). CIP is a time-limited, individualized psychoeducational curriculum administered by a clinical psychologist. It serves to assist individuals in exploring harmful attitudes and behaviors, with an aim to empower individuals to actively contribute to a healthier and safer campus community

Appeals Process

Both a complainant and a respondent have equal rights to an impartial appeal conducted by an appeals committee that is completely independent of the Title IX Office. The purpose of an appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact or a new determination of whether a violation of University rules has occurred. An appeal may be filed on the grounds that: (1) there is substantial relevant information that was not presented, and reasonably could not have been presented during the investigation; (2) the imposed penalty does not fall within the range of penalties imposed for similar misconduct, or (3) there was procedural unfairness during the disciplinary process.

Disciplinary Reports

Each academic year, the University publishes a report presenting information about reports of sexual misconduct that were adjudicated under the University’s Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy. Over a four-year period between the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2018, 50 student respondents were found responsible. Penalties over this time period for students found responsible for violating the policy (for example, Stalking; Intimate Relationship Violence; Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression; Sexual Harassment; Sexual Exploitation; Non-Consensual Sexual Contact; or Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration) included five expulsions, ten suspensions or withheld degrees, and three persona non gratas (barring non-community members from campus).