Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Discipline Report 2016-2017

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.

2016-2017 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, 2016 and June 30, 2017 (“2016-2017 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 2016-2017 academic year, 18 cases were adjudicated through this process.  There were 13 cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, and five cases in which respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct.[2]  Appeals were submitted in four cases; all four decisions were upheld by the appellate body.

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 18 cases adjudicated through this process during the 2016-2017 academic year, 15 cases involved undergraduate and/or graduate student respondents.  Of these 15 cases, there were 12 cases in which student respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, and three cases in which student respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct.[6]  Penalties imposed for violations of this policy will be 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).[7]  Penalties can include a dean’s warning, disciplinary probation, suspension (with or without conditions), withholding of a degree, or expulsion.  In addition, 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. 

Faculty/Staff Respondents

Of the 18 cases adjudicated through this process during the 2016-2017 academic year, three cases involved faculty or staff respondents.[8]  There was one case in which a faculty respondent was found responsible for sexual misconduct, and two cases in which staff respondents were found not responsible for sexual misconduct.  Penalties, which can include letters of concern, warning letters, probation, suspension, demotion, or termination, are determined based on the seriousness of the misconduct and the respondent’s previous disciplinary history (if any).  In addition, respondents found responsible for violations may be required to complete CIP.

 

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 suspended for two years. 

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.”

Three student respondents were found responsible for Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:  one respondent was suspended for one year and two respondents were placed on disciplinary probation.[9]

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.”

One employee was found responsible for Sexual Harassment and was placed on probation.

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.”

Two student respondents were found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression:  both respondents were placed on disciplinary probation.

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.”

Three student respondents were found responsible for Intimate Relationship Violence:  one respondent was expelled and two respondents were placed on disciplinary probation.

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.”

Two student respondents were found responsible for Stalking:  both respondents were placed on disciplinary probation.[10]

 

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 2016-2017 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)

3

Sexual Exploitation

0

Sexual Harassment

1

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

3

Intimate Relationship Violence

3

Domestic Violence in the Context of Intimate Relationships

0

Stalking

2

Retaliation

0

Total Violations

14[11]

 

Footnotes


[1] In addition to the investigations described herein, during the 2016-2017 academic year, the Title IX Office provided support and resources—including referrals to confidential resources, information regarding interim measures (see http://www.princeton.edu/pub/rrr/part1/index.xml#comp139 for additional information regarding interim measures), and information regarding the disciplinary process and regarding law enforcement—to 111 undergraduate and graduate students and to 26 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 http://www.princeton.edu/pub/rrr/part1/index.xml#comp1310 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 and 2015-2016 academic years can be found at http://sexualmisconduct.princeton.edu/reports. 

[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 2016 We Speak:  Attitudes on Sexual Misconduct at Princeton Survey at http://sexualmisconduct.princeton.edu/sites/sexualmisconduct/files/wespe....

[6] 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. 

[7] 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.

[8] 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; and one of the cases involved a staff member complainant and a staff member respondent.

[9] One respondent was also found responsible for violating Respect for Others; one respondent was also found responsible for Inappropriate Conduct Related to Sex, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression.

[10] One respondent was also found responsible for violating a No Contact Order.

[11] While there were 13 cases in which respondents were found responsible for sexual misconduct, one respondent was found responsible for multiple violations of the Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policy.