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As University investigates, student reflects on incident of lewdness in Frist Campus Center

<h5>Frist Campus Center</h5>
<h6>Ans Nawaz / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Frist Campus Center
Ans Nawaz / The Daily Princetonian

Content Warning: The following article contains mention of sexual harassment.

On Thursday, Feb. 3, a TigerAlert was sent out to students regarding an incident of lewdness that occurred in Frist Campus Center. 

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The TigerAlert detailed “a report of an individual masturbating in a room on the second floor of Frist Campus Center.” 

One student told the The Daily Princetonian that she witnessed the incident the TigerAlert referenced. (The student has been granted anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the event, and will be referred to in this story as Irene, a first-name pseudonym.)

In a recounting of the incident, Irene told the ‘Prince’ that she witnessed what she believed to be a man engaging in masturbation in a student lounge on the second floor of Frist at around 10 a.m. on Feb. 3.

Deputy University Spokesperson Michael Hotchkiss stated in an email to the ‘Prince’ that “the University is investigating the issue and taking action through appropriate channels.” 

“We do not believe this will be an ongoing issue for the community,” Hotchkiss wrote, adding that “those who were impacted by this situation have received support and resources information from the University.”

University Spokesperson Ayana Gibbs-Okoya also told the ‘Prince’ in an email that “the University continues to address this matter in accordance with its policies.”

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Irene told the ‘Prince’ that she believed this individual to be an employee of the University; the ‘Prince’ could not independently verify that allegation. (The paper reached out to the University regarding the employment status of the alleged perpetrator and the Office of Communications did not comment on that claim.)

Irene said that she did not initially report the incident, but said she believed that through word-of-mouth the incident reached the Department of Public Safety. A Title IX administrator for the University inquired with her if she wanted to press charges, according to Irene, but she declined. 

“I didn’t want to press criminal charges, so it’s out of my hands,” she noted. “[The University] is doing their own internal process.”  

Irene also noted that she believes the University has identified the individual in question. She said that a Title IX administrator told her personally that “[t]he individual in question is no longer on campus.”

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The ‘Prince’ reached out to this Title IX administrator in an attempt to verify this claim; the administrator referred the paper to the University Office of Communications, which declined to comment beyond their previous statement.

“I appreciate the action they took, that they sent out the Tiger Alert and how serious they are taking it,” Irene said. But in at least one way, Irene expressed that in her view, the University’s response may have been lacking.

“Another thing that came up when I was talking about it with my friends was that they were trying to hide something by not mentioning in the Tiger Alert that it was an employee,” she said. 

In addition to the Title IX office reaching out to her, Irene said that her Director of Student Life (DSL) also reached out with a list of resources that she could access, including Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE), Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS), and chaplains from the Office of Religious Life. 

Gibbs-Okoya also told the ‘Prince’ that individuals who may have been impacted by sexual misconduct are provided with supportive measures, such as academic support, housing changes, and No Contact/No Communication Orders.

The University inclusion website outlines that “all forms of prohibited conduct under this policy are regarded as serious University offenses, and violations may result in discipline, including the possibility of separation from the University.”

Princeton utilizes two inter-related policies that address misconduct: The University Sexual Misconduct Policy which deals with situations that do not fall under Title IX, and the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy. 

Lia Opperman is an Assistant News Editor who often covers University affairs, student life, and local news. She can be reached at liaopperman@princeton.edu, on Instagram @liamariaaaa, or on Twitter @oppermanlia. 

Sidney Singer is an Assistant News Editor who has covered a variety of news on and around campus. She can be reached at sidneysinger@princeton.edu, on Twitter @sidneylsinger, or on Instagram @sidneysinger. 

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