Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Discipline Report 2015-2016

Princeton University is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming educational and working environment for all members of its community.  Consistent with these values and applicable law, including Title IX, the Clery Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the University maintains a comprehensive program designed to protect members of the University community from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, which includes sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment and sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence.

Prevention Efforts

As part of this program, the University offers multiple education and prevention initiatives for the campus community.  For additional information regarding current and planned initiatives, see Prevention Efforts

Resources[1] and Reporting

In addition, the University offers many options to individuals who have experienced or witnessed an alleged incident of sex discrimination or sexual misconduct, including (a) consultation with confidential resources or other support organization and/or (b) filing an internal and/or criminal complaint.  For additional information regarding these options, see Resources & Reporting.

Investigations and Disciplinary Procedures

The University is committed to providing a prompt and impartial investigation of all alleged violations of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy.  Allegations of sexual misconduct are investigated and adjudicated according to the policies set forth in section 1.3 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.  During the disciplinary process, both parties (complainant and respondent) have equivalent rights, including the opportunity to present evidence, to review and respond to evidence collected during an investigation, to be accompanied by an adviser of their choice, and to appeal.  The University concurrently provides both parties with written notification of the outcome of the process and any appeal.

2015-2016 Academic Year

This report presents information about reports of sexual misconduct that were adjudicated under the University’s Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016 (“2015-2016 academic year”).  While intended to be informative, this report has inherent limitations, in that the privacy of the individuals involved must be protected, which necessarily limits the detail that can be provided regarding each particular case.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, fifteen cases were adjudicated through this process.  There were ten cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, and five cases in which respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct. [2]

The data in this section[3] refer to violations of University policy for which respondents were formally found responsible following an investigation and adjudication, as described in section 1.3 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities; they do not refer to crimes.[4]  For this and other reasons, it should not be expected that the data in this report aligns with the Clery data provided by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for reported crimes.

In addition, the University recognizes that the majority of incidents of sexual misconduct are not reported to non-confidential University resources.[5]  Thus, the data contained in this report is not intended to reflect all incidents of sexual misconduct.  In addition, this report is not intended to reflect matters that were reported to the University’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources, and Education (SHARE) office, which is a confidential resource that offers support and advocacy services, and provides information about the roles and reporting obligations of other offices at the University in order to empower persons to make informed decisions about their options.

Undergraduate/Graduate Student Respondents

Of the fifteen cases adjudicated through this process during the 2015-2016 academic year, ten cases involved undergraduate and graduate student (or alumni) respondents.[6]  There were six cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, and four cases in which respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct.[7]  Penalties, which can include a dean’s warning, disciplinary probation, suspension (with or without conditions), withholding of a degree, expulsion, or issuance of a Persona Non Grata (“PNG”),[8] are determined based on the seriousness of the misconduct and the respondent’s previous disciplinary history (if any).  In addition, student 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 SHARE clinician.  It serves to assist individuals in exploring attitudes and behaviors reflective of interpersonal violence, with an aim to empower individuals to actively contribute to a healthier and safer campus community.

Faculty/Staff Respondents

Of the fifteen cases adjudicated through this process during the 2015-2016 academic year, five cases involved faculty or staff respondents.[9]  There were four cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, and one case in which the respondent was found not responsible for sexual misconduct.  Penalties, which can include letters of concern, warning letter, suspension, demotion, or termination, are determined based on the seriousness of the misconduct and the respondent’s previous disciplinary history (if any).[10] 

Findings of Violation of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (commonly referred to as rape) is defined as, “Any act of vaginal or anal penetration by a person’s penis, finger, other body part, or an object, or oral penetration by a penis, without consent.”

Two student respondents were found responsible for Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration:  both respondents were expelled.[11] 

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (commonly referred to as sexual assault) is defined as “Any sexual touching other than non-consensual sexual penetration without consent. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact may include: genital-genital or oral-genital contact not involving penetration; contact with breasts, buttocks, or genital area, including over clothing; removing the clothing of another person; and kissing.”

One alumni respondent was found responsible for Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:  the respondent was issued a long-term PNG.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is defined as, “Unwelcome verbal or physical behavior which is directed at a person based on sex, gender identity or gender expression, when these behaviors are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational experience, working conditions, or living conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.  Examples of conduct that can constitute sexual harassment if based on an individual’s sex, gender identity or gender expression include but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome jokes or comments (e.g., sexist jokes);
  • Disparaging remarks about sex, gender identity, or gender expression (e.g., negative or offensive remarks or jokes about a person’s self-presentation)
  • Displaying negative or offensive posters or pictures about sex, gender, or gender expression;
  • Electronic communications, such as e-mail, text messaging, and Internet use, that violate this policy.

Sexual Harassment is deemed especially serious when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any University activity or benefit; or submission to or rejection of these behaviors by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions.”

Two employee respondents were found responsible for Sexual Harassment:  both employees are no longer employed at Princeton University.[12]

Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression

Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression is defined as, “Unwelcome conduct that may not fall under sexual harassment or sexual exploitation, but that is sexual in nature.  Examples may include: obscene or sexually offensive gestures and comments; or lewdness.” 

One student respondent was found responsible for Sexually Inappropriate Conduct[13]:  the respondent was suspended for one year.  One employee respondent was found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression:  the respondent is no longer employed at Princeton University.[14]

Intimate Relationship Violence

Intimate Relationship Violence (also known as dating violence or intimate partner violence) is defined as, “Acts of violence, threat or intimidation that harm or injure a partner in a current or former intimate relationship (defined below).  These acts may be physical, emotional/ psychological, sexual, or economic in nature.  Intimate relationship violence can be a single act or pattern of behavior.”

Two student respondents were found responsible for Intimate Relationship Violence:  both respondents were placed on disciplinary probation.[15]

Stalking

Stalking is defined as, “A course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear, to experience emotional distress, or to fear for the safety of a third person.  Acts that together constitute stalking may be direct actions or may be communicated by a third party, and can include, but are not limited to:  threats of harm to self or others; pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication by any means; unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other types of observation.”

One employee respondent was found responsible for Stalking:  the respondent is no longer employed at Princeton University.[16]

Total Violations

Respondents may be found responsible for more than one type of violation.  Thus, it should not be expected that the data in this section aligns with the total number of cases adjudicated during the 2015-2016 academic year or with the data provided in the descriptions of conduct and penalties provided above.

 

Category

Respondents Found Responsible

Sex Discrimination

0

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (commonly referred to as rape)

2

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (commonly referred to as sexual assault)

2

Sexual Exploitation

0

Sexual Harassment

3

Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression

2

Intimate Relationship Violence

3

Domestic Violence in the Context of Intimate Relationships

0

Stalking

1

Retaliation

0

Total Violations

13[17]

 

 

Footnotes


[1] In addition to the investigations described herein, during the 2015-2016 academic year, the Title IX Office provided support and resources—including referrals to confidential resources, information regarding interim measures (see section 1.3.9 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities for additional information regarding interim measures), and information regarding the disciplinary process and regarding law enforcement—to 76 undergraduate and graduate students and 21 faculty/staff members who may have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct.  In these situations, the complainants either opted not to pursue a disciplinary investigation (see section 1.3.10 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities for more information regarding the University’s responsibility to investigate), or not enough information was available for the University to conduct a disciplinary investigation.

[2] Information regarding the 2014-2015 academic year can be found in this report.  During that time frame, 25 cases involving students were adjudicated (that report did not reflect matters involving faculty and staff members).  It should be noted that nine of the cases included in that report related to a single incident.

[3] In cases in which respondents were found responsible for more than one type of violation, the conduct/penalty is described in the infraction category that was considered the most significant by the adjudicatory panel. 

[4] 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. 

[5] For more information regarding the prevalence of sexual misconduct at Princeton University, see the results of the 2015 We Speak:  Attitudes on Sexual Misconduct at Princeton Survey.

[6] One of these cases involved student complainants and an alumni respondent; one of the cases involved a community member complainant and a student respondent.

[7] In cases in which respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct, the panel, using the preponderance of the evidence standard, found insufficient information to substantiate the particular charge. 

[8] Pursuant to section 1.3.16(4) of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, “[f]or violations of this policy by non-members of the University community, disciplinary penalties may include being temporarily or permanently barred from the University or subject to other restrictions.”  See also Rights, Rules, Responsibilities section 3.3.

[9] One of these cases involved a student complainant and a faculty respondent; one of the cases involved a student complainant and a staff member respondent; three of the cases involved staff member complainants and staff member respondents.

[10] If a respondent resigns or withdraws from the University while the disciplinary process is pending, the University typically completes the disciplinary process and continues to provide support and resources to the complainant.  The respondent’s record will be updated to include the outcome of that process, including, where applicable, the notation on a student’s transcript of a separation (i.e., suspension or expulsion) or the withholding of the degree.  Further disclosure of such outcomes is governed according to the rules and procedures concerning the confidential nature of student and employee records.

[11] One respondent was also found responsible for Non-Consensual Sexual Contact and for violating section 2.2 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.  A second respondent was also found responsible for Intimate Relationship Violence.

[12] One respondent was also found responsible for violating section 1.1.5 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities and the Rules and Procedures of the Faculty of Princeton University.

[13] In the 2014-2015 version of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities, this category of conduct was referred to as “Sexually Inappropriate Conduct.”

[14] Respondent was also found responsible for misuse of University resources.

[15] Both respondents were also found responsible for violating section 2.2 of Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

[16] Respondent was also found responsible for Sexual Harassment.

[17] While there were ten cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, three respondents were found responsible for multiple violations of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy.