Princeton University Ombuds Office – Responding to Racial and Ethnic Harassment – Recognizing Incidents of Racial or Ethnic Harassment

August 28, 2013

Here are some incidents that may constitute racial or ethnic harassment and may result in disciplinary sanctions under University policy. (In order to make an accurate judgment as to whether these incidents constitute racial or ethnic harassment, the full context in which these actions were taken or statements made must be considered.)
• Several Asian-American students are called names that are racially and ethnically vilifying as they cross the campus.
• An adviser tells an African-American student not to take a certain course because the adviser says that other African-American students have had difficulty in the course and are therefore not suited for this particular course.
• A University official requests that a group of Latino students display their student ID’s as they enter their dormitory, while white students are not required to display their ID’s. The official cannot explain why the Latino students were stopped and asked to display ID’s.
• A male student approaches an Asian Pacific-American woman student on several occasions and makes statements implying that certain sexual practices are common within her ethnic group.
• A supervisor assigns only menial tasks to an Hispanic staff member and writes on an evaluation that the staff member could not expect to be promoted because he was an ‘affirmative action’ appointment. Several women students of color receive anonymous phone calls in which the caller uses language that is both obscene and racist.