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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.
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