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Princeton students protest the school's handling of sexual assault claims. (Instagram)
Princeton students protest the school's handling of sexual assault claims. (Instagram)

Campus assault

Princeton student fined for protest after accusing school of protecting her alleged rapist

By WITW Staff on May 20, 2019

A Princeton University student who alleged that she was raped by a fellow classmate has been fined nearly $3,000 by the school after she wrote the phrase “Princeton Protects Rapists” in graffiti around the school campus.

William Keise, a fellow student and friend of the victim, said the assault left his classmate devastated, and that she was shocked when the school ruled that her attacker wasn’t guilty of violating the sexual misconduct policy.

Following the ruling, the young woman protested the decision by using a sharpie to write “Princeton Protects Rapists” and “Title IX Protects Rapists” on walkways across the campus. The University responded by fining her $2,722,58 — the cost of cleaning up her graffiti — put her on four years of disciplinary probation, and ordered her to perform 50 hours of community service.

Speaking to HuffPost, a source with direct knowledge of the case said that the punishment was unusually harsh, given that normally the school punishes vandalism with just six months to a year of probation. Princeton University spokesman Ben Chang declined to speak on specifics on the case, but said that fines were normal in cases involving vandalism and were issued proportionately to the amount of damage caused.

In wake of the case, student activists at the school formed the organization PrincetonIXNow to lead protests and demand that the school implement reforms to how the school handles cases of sexual violence. As recently as 2014, the student activists noted, Princeton was found to be noncompliant with federal Title IX laws that mandate schools adequately investigate sexual assault cases. For 8 days, 150 student protesters occupied the school’s main lawn in front of President Christopher Eisgruber’s office to demand greater transparency and accountability from the school’s Title IX office.

While Princeton administrators have met with protesters and outwardly claimed interest in their concerns, they have thus far refused to make any actual changes in how they process Title IX claims.

Read the full story at HuffPost.

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