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Princeton Students Are Sitting In for Title IX Reform

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Since May 7, hundreds of student protestors have staged a sit-in in front of Nassau Hall—the nation’s former capital and now home to the offices of Princeton University’s top administrators —to demand reforms to Princeton’s Title IX process for survivors of sexual harassment and assault.

Now in its fourth day, the sit-in—referred to on social media as “Princeton IX Now”—comes after months-long discussions primarily among survivors and their allies on the shortcomings of Princeton’s Title IX system, which has been described by protestors in their list of demands as “opaque, victim-blaming and traumatizing.” A 2014 investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights found that Princeton’s procedures “failed to comply with the requirements of Title IX.”

A crowdsourced list of demands that has been shared with administrators called for 11 changes to the university’s current system, including increased transparency and consistency in the Title IX process; an “opt-in” alternative restorative justice track; the hiring of staff to assist survivors in navigating Title IX procedures; and the immediate creation of a Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies, among others. (Princeton University is currently the only Ivy League university where Gender and Sexuality Studies is not offered as a major.)

Camille, a junior who filed a Title IX complaint last fall and who asked to be referred to by her first name to avoid media attention, said she remembers feeling “misled” while undergoing the process within the university’s system. “It turned my world upside down,” she said. “I felt I was lied to. Everything I said was completely misconstrued—like my words were turned against me.”

The movement joins a nationwide trend of college students protesting Title IX processes. In late April, students at Swarthmore College staged a sit-in inside a fraternity house and ultimately precipitated the “disbanding” of the two fraternity chapters at the college. Soon after, Liz Braun, the Swarthmore Dean of Students, resigned. At Virginia Tech, students walked out of class and marched across campus on April 30 to express discontent with their campus’ Title IX office.





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