In recent weeks, the University has engaged members of the student body around their concerns relating to the investigation and adjudication of complaints of sex discrimination and sexual misconduct under our policy and the general administration of Title IX. The following questions and answers are intended to provide general information on our continuing work on these issues.
How does the University handle matters of sexual misconduct?
In 2014, the University made significant changes to its policies and practices for addressing issues related to sexual misconduct. In recent years, the University has made a number of important enhancements, including:
- Enhancing comprehensive required training for all faculty and staff on recognizing and reporting incidents of sexual harassment and misconduct.
- Enhancing mandatory trainings on sexual harassment and misconduct for all undergraduates and graduate students. Trainings are required when students enter the University and at different times during their Princeton careers. Students who are serving in certain leadership roles on campus, including residential college advisers (RCAs), are required to participate in additional trainings related to sexual misconduct.
- Adding 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.
- Making numerous changes to the Sexual Misconduct website and “Rights, Rules, Responsibilities” to clarify procedures and practices, and make it easier for students, faculty, and staff to access information and resources, including providing comprehensive FAQs.
- Providing transparency regarding sexual misconduct cases that are investigated and adjudicated by the University, including the number and types of cases handled on an annual basis, as well as their outcomes, including penalties.
- Establishing the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct in 2014 to serve as an advisory body to the 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. The Committee authors annual recommendations designed to reach the aforementioned goals.
- Expanding training for administrators who serve as advisers in Title IX investigations, in which capacity they provide general support to a complainant or respondent during a Title IX investigation. Approximately 25 administrators have received additional training to serve as Title IX advisers and FAQs and a list of trained advisers is provided to parties involved in Title IX investigations.
- Implementing a new policy prohibiting all faculty from initiating or engaging in romantic or sexual relationships with graduate students. (Previously, faculty were prohibited only from such relationships with graduate students over whom they had advising, instructional or supervisory responsibilities.) A similar ban on all romantic or sexual relationships between faculty and undergraduates has been in place for a number of years.
In May of 2019, in order to provide useful clarity and strengthen trust in the University’s Title IX process, Vice Provost Michele Minter and Director of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration Regan Crotty forwarded a letter to President Christopher L. Eisgruber requesting he authorize an external review of Princeton’s Title IX office. This request, granted by President Eisgruber, is an additional step the University has taken recently to strengthen its policies and procedures for investigating and addressing cases of sexual discrimination and sexual misconduct.
In addition, discussions between members of the University administration and student activists are ongoing during the summer and fall of 2019.
Who will participate in the ongoing discussions?
Members of the University Student Life Committee (USLC) and the Faculty-Student Committee on Sexual Misconduct (FSCSM), including undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff, met with representatives of the student activists on May 15, 2019. The combined USLC and FSCSM will continue to meet regularly over the summer; the co-chairs of this group are:
Abagail S. Novick, Graduate Student, Princeton Neuroscience Institute, Acting co-chair (FSCSM)
Nicole Shelton, Stuart Professor of Psychology, Co-chair (FSCSM)
Mai L. Nguyen, Graduate Student, Psychology (USLC)
Nicolas J. Gregory, Class of 2022 (USLC)
W. Rochelle Calhoun, Vice President for Campus Life (USLC)
What are the next steps?
Based on their ongoing discussions, the combined USLC and FSC anticipates producing a public report in the early fall.
In addition, the external review process described above will also begin over the summer.