I am writing to acknowledge and express thanks for the petition regarding sexual misconduct published in The Daily Princetonian and forwarded to President Eisgruber and other University administrators on Nov. 20, 2017. I am responding on behalf of all the recipients. Like the signatories to the petition, the University recognizes the power imbalance inherent in the relationship between faculty and students, and is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination of any type, including sexual harassment or other violations of our sexual misconduct policy.
While I am not at liberty to discuss specific cases, the sexual misconduct policy is designed to ensure fairness, provide due process, and safeguard the interests of all participants in sexual misconduct proceedings, including witnesses, complainants, and respondents. We investigate complaints thoroughly, and we act promptly to stop misconduct and support victims. When a faculty member is found responsible for violating our sexual misconduct policy, penalties (including but not limited to warning, probation, loss of leave or other privileges, suspension and/or dismissal) are imposed based on the facts of the case and the totality of the circumstances, and in recent years each of them has been applied when appropriate. Under our policy, once cases have been adjudicated and penalties have been assigned, reconsideration of outcomes or penalties is not possible outside of the formal appeal process.
I appreciate that events on our campus and elsewhere have raised concerns about the University’s sexual misconduct policy and processes, including questions about their transparency. We have begun a review of our policy and processes, and are considering whether changes are necessary in order to ensure that they are as transparent and fair as possible to all members of our community. To that end, the Faculty-Student Advisory Committee on Sexual Misconduct, which advises the President and Provost on policies, procedures, and other matters, is hosting a series of open meetings this week to answer questions and hear suggestions. I encourage all members of our community to attend one of those meetings and to provide input; suggestions and recommendations can also be provided to the Committee via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). We also are reviewing our training programs, and we hope you will share your suggestions and recommendations about those programs as well.
The petition has been shared with the Faculty-Student Advisory Committee. I appreciate your concern for the well-being of our campus community.
Vice Provost for Institutional Equity and Diversity