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12/07/2014 09:05 pm ET Updated Dec 07, 2014

Princeton Has A Shadow Fraternity System Nobody Controls

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When Princeton University officials learned that a student had mass-e-mailed a photo of a woman performing oral sex at one of its 11 eating clubs (social clubs that resemble fraternities), it quietly began investigating the matter. Despite the fact that passing around a photo of a sex act without the consent of those pictured is a crime in New Jersey, the university did not inform local police. The school’s squeamish approach to the incident raises questions about how it can discipline its students—and abide by stricter government guidelines for handling sexual assault—when so much social life at the institution lives outside campus confines.

On Oct. 12, Adam Krop, a vice president at the Tiger Inn, one of Princeton's oldest eating clubs, sent an e-mail to all members that included a "crude joke" and a description of an "Asian chick," along with the photo, according to the New York Times. “Our investigation began as soon as we received a report, just days after the alleged incident,” says Martin Mbugua, a University spokesman.

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