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.
As part of this program, the University offers multiple education and prevention initiatives for the campus community.
Resources and Reporting
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.
In addition to the investigations described herein, during the 2019-2020 academic year, the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX Administration provided support and resources—including referrals to confidential resources, information regarding how to obtain interim measures (including academic accommodations, housing changes, No Contact and No Communication Orders), and information regarding the disciplinary process and regarding law enforcement—to approximately 75 undergraduate and graduate students and to approximately 10 faculty/staff members who may have experienced or witnessed sexual misconduct.
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.
2019-2020 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, 2019 and June 30, 2020 (“2019-2020 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 2019-2020 academic year, 19 cases were adjudicated through this process. There were 17 cases in which 14 respondents were found responsible for violating University policy, and two cases in which two respondents were found not responsible for violating University policy. Appeals were submitted in eight cases; outcomes were upheld by the appropriate appellate body in all eight cases.
In addition, one case was resolved via an informal resolution process.
The data in this section 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. For this and other reasons, it should not be expected that the data in this report align with the Clery Act 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. Thus, the data contained in this report are 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 individuals to make informed decisions about their options.
Undergraduate/Graduate Student Respondents
Of the 19 cases adjudicated through this process during the 2019-2020 academic year, nine cases involved undergraduate and/or graduate student respondents.
- There were seven cases in which six student respondents were found responsible for violating University policy.
- There were two cases in which two student respondents were found not responsible for violating University policy; one of these cases was a counterclaim in which the initial respondent brought charges against the initial complainant after the investigation was initiated.
Penalties imposed for violations of this 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. Additional information regarding penalties is available on the sexual misconduct investigations website. 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.
Employee (Faculty/Staff Member) Respondents
Of the 19 cases adjudicated through this process during the 2019-2020 academic year, ten cases involved employee (faculty or staff member) respondents.
- There were ten cases in which eight employee respondents were found responsible for violating University policy.
- There were no cases in which employee respondents were found not responsible for violating University policy.
Penalties, which for faculty can include an oral or written warning, probation, probation with conditions, suspension, suspension with conditions, or dismissal, and for staff members may include a letter of concern, warning letter, probation, suspension, or termination, are determined based on the seriousness of the misconduct and the respondent’s previous disciplinary history (if any). Additional information regarding penalties is available on the sexual misconduct investigations website. In addition, respondents found responsible for violations are required to complete CIP.
Findings of Violation of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy
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.”
Two student respondents were found responsible for Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: one respondent was suspended for one year and one respondent was placed on disciplinary probation.
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.”
Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression
Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression is defined as, “Unwelcome or inappropriate conduct that does not fall under other forms of sexual misconduct, but that is sexual and/or gender-based in nature. Examples may include public sex acts or flashing.”
One student respondent was found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression and was placed on disciplinary probation.
Five employee respondents were found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression: two employees are no longer employed by Princeton University, two employees were placed on disciplinary probation, and one employee was given a written warning.
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.”
One student respondent was found responsible for Intimate Relationship Violence and was expelled.
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 student was found responsible for Stalking in two separate cases; in one case, the respondent was placed on disciplinary probation and in the second case, the respondent was suspended for three semesters.
Non-Sexual Misconduct Policy Violations
In addition to the above cases, there were cases in which allegations were raised related to sexual misconduct and other related disciplinary violations. As a result of such investigations, though found not responsible for violating the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy, one student respondent was found responsible for another disciplinary violation and was placed on disciplinary probation.
In some cases, respondents were found responsible for multiple violations related to a single complainant, or were found responsible for violations relating to more than one complainant. Thus, the data in this section may not align with the total number of cases adjudicated during the 2019-2020 academic year or with the data provided in the descriptions of conduct and penalties provided above.
Number of Respondents Found Responsible for Violating University Policy: 14
Number of Cases Resulting in at Least One Violation: 17
|Category||Number of Violations|
|Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (commonly referred to as rape)||0|
|Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (commonly referred to as sexual assault)||2|
|Inappropriate conduct Relate to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression||7|
|Intimate Relationship Violence||1|
|Domestic Violence in the Contest of Intimate Relationship||0|
|Other Policy Violations||8|
Whenever a respondent was found responsible for violating University policy, the respondent received a disciplinary penalty. A total of 16 complainants’ cases resulted in findings of responsibility against 14 respondents. Fourteen respondents received the below penalties:
|Penalty||Number of penalties|
|3-semester Suspension||1 student|
|1-year Suspension||1 student|
|Disciplinary Probation||3 students|
|No longer employed by Princeton University||4 employees|
|Written Warning||1 employee|
1 Note that this report includes information regarding the policies and procedures that were in place during the 2019-2020 academic year. Princeton University policies related to sexual misconduct were revised in August of 2020 in accordance with new federal regulations.
2 In these situations, the potential complainants either opted not to pursue a disciplinary investigation, or not enough information was available for the University to conduct a disciplinary investigation. See section 1.3.10 for more information regarding the University’s responsibility to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
3 See here for information regarding the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years. Note that due to the coronavirus, part of the 2019-2020 academic year was conducted remotely.
4 For purposes of this report, we consider a “case” to be a matter brought by/on behalf of a complainant against a respondent. In some situations, multiple complainants raise allegations against a single respondent; in such situations, each matter is considered to be single “case.”
5 In cases in which respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct, the investigatory/adjudicatory panel, using the preponderance of the evidence standard, found insufficient information to substantiate the particular charge.
6 In two cases involving a single respondent, the penalty was upheld but certain findings of responsibility were modified on procedural grounds.
7 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.
8 For more information regarding the prevalence of sexual misconduct at Princeton University, see the results of the We Speak: Attitudes on Sexual Misconduct at Princeton Surveys.
9 Two of the seven cases involved a single respondent.
10 Five of these cases involved student complainants and faculty respondents; two of these cases involved student complainants and staff member respondents; two of these cases involved staff member complainants and a faculty respondent; and one of these cases involved a staff member complainant and a staff member respondent.
11 Two of the ten cases involved a single respondent, and two additional cases involved a second single respondent.
12 In some situations, respondents are found responsible for more than one type of violation; in such situations, the conduct/penalty is described in the infraction category that was considered the most significant in terms of penalty and is not counted more than once in this section.
13 One respondent was also found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression with respect to second complainant.
14 This respondent was also found responsible for another disciplinary violation.
15 Both respondents were also found responsible for other disciplinary violations.
16 Both respondents were also found responsible for other disciplinary violations, and one of these two respondents was also found responsible for a disciplinary violation with respect to a second complainant.
17 This respondent was also found responsible for another disciplinary violation.
18 No respondents were found responsible for Sex Discrimination, Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration, Domestic Violence in the Context of Intimate Relationships, or Retaliation.