Dear President Eisgruber, Dean Kulkarni, Dean Crittenden, Dean Carter, and Chairwoman Gmachl:

As proud students, alumni, faculty and staff of Princeton University, we the undersigned write to express our deep concerns regarding the University’s handling of the recent sexual harassment case against electrical engineering professor Sergio Verdú. We ask that the University elevate its disciplinary actions against Professor Verdú and firmly establish that sexual harassment will not be tolerated in our community. 

It is our understanding that while Professor Verdú  was found unequivocally to be in violation of Princeton University’s policy on Sex Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct, he has remained a salaried employee of the University, maintaining his prestigious position as Eugene Higgins Professor of Electrical Engineering and continuing in his teaching and research advising roles without interruption. 

Given the nature of the sexual harassment for which Professor Verdú was found responsible, his flagrant abuse of power, and the irreparable emotional and professional damage he has inflicted upon his student, we find the punishment determined by the University in his case to be grossly inadequate, and the process by which this punishment was determined to be intentionally opaque. 

Our peer institutions have taken two approaches to penalizing faculty found guilty of sexual misconduct. In some cases, faculty members have been punished severely with suspension or termination — significantly, one of these instances corresponds to the suspension of a Princeton faculty member in 1989. In other cases, faculty members — more accurately described as sex offenders — are gently reprimanded and allowed to continue on in their esteemed positions. It is clear that in this case, Princeton has chosen the latter path. We trust our alma mater to act in accordance with the highest ethical standards and to unwaveringly support and defend survivors of sexual misconduct. The University’s decision in Professor Verdú’s case, combined with the knowledge that as recently as 2014, the U.S. Department of Education concluded that Princeton “failed to provide a[n]...equitable response to complaints of sexual harassment,” profoundly erodes this trust. 

In addition to reevaluation of the penalties in Professor Verdú’s misconduct case, increased transparency regarding the Title IX disciplinary process is essential to restoring confidence in the University’s handling of sexual misconduct cases. In particular, we note that Title IX infractions committed by faculty members are particularly egregious, as the influence that faculty wield over students and their future careers — particularly students within their own departments — further discourages reporting of violations, and makes sexual advances more challenging to combat. Disciplinary actions resulting from Title IX investigations must account for this extreme power imbalance. 

There has never been a more important time for Princeton to categorically condemn sexual harassment and abuse, particularly when these acts are committed by exceptionally powerful men. We strongly urge you to reconsider the University’s decision in this matter, and to deliver a punishment that is proportionate to the damage Professor Verdú’s victim has endured. 

This is an active petition. Princeton affiliates, please sign the online petition. As of the time of publishing, there are over 750 signees.  

Respectfully, 

Yasin Kaya 2019

Sara Kacmoli 2022

Abhi Raj 2020

Yan Li 2016

Munji Choi 2020

J. Alexander Bae 2020

Alexandra Werth 2019

Michelle Zhang 2021

Bolong (Harvey) Cheng GS '17

Daniel Jiang 2016

Alice Yoon 2020

Heejae Jang 2017

Jeewon Yoo 2022

Stephan Kim 2022

Yeon Soon Shin 2019

YunHui Lisa Lin 2018

Ju Young Lee 2019

Yasmin Afsar 2017

Paul Jackson 2021 (G3)

Jimin Hong 2016

Yoolim Lee 2017

Laura Leal 2020

DoWon Kim 2019

Mei Chai Zheng GS 2017

Chi Suk Kang 2017

Ki-Soon Choi 2016

Maximilian Goer 2015

Ivy Fortmeyer *16

jonathan choi 2017

Genevieve Plant *16

Sonika Johri 2014

Angela Jiang 2013

Sara Chuang 2018

Wentao Fan 2021

A former graduate student 2014

Nana Park 2018

Ryan O’Shea 2016

Caitlin Charos 2019

Ching-Yu Chen 2018

Sunil Pandey 2017

Yuzhen Yan 2018

Huilian Qiu 2017

Ye Yu 2019

Lu Yang 2019

Zhen Liu 2018

Tracy Tsai 2012

Gyoonho 2024

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Mengya hu 2020

Ding Huang 2020

Gerasimos Angelatos 2020, ELE PhD

Saeed-Uz-Zaman Khan 2021

Qi Li 2016

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corry short 2019

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Mengjie Wang 2011

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Jorge Nathan Matias Post-doc, Psychology,

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Abyssinia Lissanu 2021

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