Princeton has entered a resolution agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights after the office found the university in violation of the federal anti-sex discrimination law Title IX.
The agreement, announced by the Education Department Wednesday, follows a years-long investigation into Princeton’s Title IX compliance in response to complaints from three students filed between 2009 and 2011. The agreement requires that the university work with OCR to ensure future adherence to the law.
According to a letter from OCR to Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber detailing the office’s findings, OCR’s investigation determined that Princeton had not adequately responded to some sexual assault complaints and that the university “allowed for the continuation of a sexually hostile environment” for one student complainant.
Princeton’s previous policies governing sexual harassment, in particular, violated Title IX, according to the letter. Princeton implemented new sexual assault policies this summer in response to government pressure, according to The Daily Princetonian. Those policies updated the university’s standard of evidence for adjudicating sexual assault complaints from “clear and persuasive” to “preponderance of the evidence,” the OCR-preferred standard.
According to OCR’s letter, Princeton’s change in policy “corrects many of the deficiencies identified in the
University’s previous sexual harassment [policy], including sexual assault/violence, policies and procedures.”
OCR is currently investigating two Harvard schools—the College and the Law School—after receiving complaints alleging that their handling of sexual assault violates Title IX.
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.
Law School Challenged Under Title IXHarvard Law School is currently under investigation by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for alleged violations of Title IX—specifically, violations of part of Title IX that stipulate how a school should handle cases of sexual assault.
Law School Found in Violation of Title IX after Years-Long ProbeIn its investigation into the Law School’s Title IX compliance, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights found that the Law School “failed to comply with Title IX's requirements for prompt and equitable response” to complaints of alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault.
Activists, Law Profs Divided on Title IX DecisionStudent activists and the lawyer behind the original Law School complaint have praised the findings and expressed cautious hope for the future. Law School professors who previously denounced Harvard’s sexual harassment policy, meanwhile, criticized the decision.
Law School Still Awaits Government Sign-Off on Title IXMore than two months after having received initial feedback on its Title IX procedures from the federal Office for Civil Rights, the Law School has still not received final sign-off from OCR on its updated draft.
Civil Rights Office Interviews Students for Title IX ProbeAttorneys from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights are soliciting student input on sexual violence on Harvard’s campus this week as part of the government’s nearly year-long investigation into the College’s compliance with anti-sex discrimination law Title IX.