Federal Title IX Guidance

FAQs on Princeton’s Continuing Commitment to Protect Members of the University Community from Discrimination on the Basis of Sex or Gender, including Sexual Misconduct

September 26, 2017


The following FAQs are intended to reaffirm Princeton University’s commitment to address all matters of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct in ways that are fair, effective, and transparent; provide information regarding the University’s policies with respect to sex discrimination and sexual misconduct; and provide information regarding how recent federal actions impact Princeton University students and employees.

1. What is Princeton's policy regarding Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct?

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 of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“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.  Further information regarding the University’s Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy can be found at https://sexualmisconduct.princeton.edu/policy.

2. The federal government has recently withdrawn guidance regarding Title IX.  What does this mean?

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity.  In 2011, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a “Dear Colleague” letter, which reminded schools of their responsibilities to take immediate and effective steps to respond to sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.  In 2014, OCR issued “Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence,” which were designed to further clarify the guidance articulated in the “Dear Colleague” letter.

In September of 2017, OCR rescinded the 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter and the 2014 “Questions and Answers.”  In their place, OCR issued “Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct.”  This document is intended to provide interim information regarding schools’ Title IX compliance, until the Department of Education has completed a formal rulemaking process (a multi-month process leading to the creation of regulations, which will include soliciting input from stakeholders and the public on issues of sexual misconduct).

3. How does the change in federal guidance impact Princeton policy?

In 2014, Princeton reached a voluntary resolution agreement with OCR, which included the preponderance standard of evidence.  The September 2017 guidance specifically indicates that such voluntary resolution agreements remain binding.  Therefore the new guidance will not have an immediate effect on Princeton. We believe that our current policy and procedures, which apply to faculty, staff and students, are carefully thought out and fair to all parties.

The University will review and respond to new regulations when they are put in place.

4. How can I learn more about Princeton’s commitment to prevent and address sexual misconduct?

To learn more about Princeton’s commitment to prevent and address sexual misconduct, please see “Sexual Misconduct and Title IX at Princeton” (https://sexualmisconduct.princeton.edu/) and FAQs for Students (https://sexualmisconduct.princeton.edu/faqs-students).