Feds launch probe into sexual violence case at Princeton University

0
168

The federal government announced in November 2014 that Princeton University had violated the federal Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination by failing to “promptly and equitably respond to complaints of sexual violence” and for failing to stop a “sexually hostile environment for one student.”

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The federal Department of Education’s office of civil rights began an investigation two weeks ago into a sexual violence case at Princeton University, with little information released about the alleged incident or who is involved.
A department spokesman said Wednesday that details of the open case cannot be disclosed, in an investigation that began Aug.11 based on a complaint.
University spokesman John Cramer said Tuesday that Princeton was aware of the investigation. He had no further comment.
Overall, the government said there are 268 sexual violence investigations going on at 207 post-secondary schools around the country, including at four schools in New Jersey: Rider, Monmouth, Seton Hall and Princeton universities. There is one investigation each at Rider, Monmouth and Seton Hall and two probes at Princeton, the government said in its weekly totals for such incidents as of Aug. 24.
This is but the latest investigation at Princeton, which the federal government announced in November 2014 had violated the federal Title IX prohibiting sex discrimination by failing to “promptly and equitably respond to complaints of sexual violence” and for failing to stop a “sexually hostile environment for one student.” The conclusion was based on an investigation brought on by complaints filed on “behalf of” students, the department said at the time.
In response, the university worked out a deal with the government to take corrective steps. Those included lowering the burden of proof for accusations of sexual misconduct and allowing alleged victims to appeal decisions exonerating their attackers. Other universities have taken similar measures to satisfy the government, with some critics arguing that schools went too far in stripping rights away of the accused.
Two years ago, Princeton had four reported rapes on campus, not including those reported to confidential counselors, according to the annual Clery Report the university publishes.
But a survey of 52 percent of the roughly 8,000 Princeton students in the 2014-15 school year showed the problem of sexual misconduct at Princeton is greater than what crime statistics show. Thirteen percent of them said they had been sexually assaulted, while four percent said they had been raped.
“As is the case at other universities that recently released the results of similar surveys, the findings at Princeton are heartbreaking,” university President Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a Sept.29 letter to the university community.
He said that, among other things, the school must ensure that its “disciplinary processes are fair, effective and compassionate.”