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OPINIONS

An administrative response on the judicial process

Dear editor,

The Office of Student Life and the Office of Community Standards have always welcomed discussion with students regarding the University’s student conduct process. In fact, the Student Judicial Charter of 1997 was created primarily by students for students and with students in mind. Student participation in the process is not only essential and valued, it is at the very heart of the process.

It is important to recognize that the Student Judicial Charter created a system that seeks the truth and stresses education. It is by design not adversarial. And, like any system, improvements can be considered, flaws corrected, and processes strengthened.

Unfortunately, the current discussion, reflected in The Daily’s story yesterday, has been poorly served by a “case study” based on an anomalous example. The case study was helpful in some limited respects, but is seriously flawed and inaccurate in many others. To extrapolate from a single anomalous case that an entire system is flawed is simply wrong. In fact, a recent and very thorough review of the system concluded that it is fundamentally sound.

The Daily article contains allegations that must be addressed. It is absolutely false that the charter or that any staff member involved in the process assumes guilt. It is absolutely false that staff members intimidate participants involved in the process, “go after” students to get “convictions” or are “willfully indifferent to rights.” And, it is false that panelists are untrained or biased.

As we have shared with the author of the “case study” and The Daily, both California employment laws and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prevent us from discussing the “case study” in terms of individual alleged actions.

Refinements can always be made. During the past six months, the University, based on a comprehensive internal review, has appointed a new director for the Office of Community Standards, reorganized the office, clarified roles and implemented systems to make the process more efficient.

We invite students to continue to engage in this process, which has a high degree of student involvement already. We welcome and look forward to the conversation and their participation.

Chris Griffith

Dean of Student Life

  • Concerned Student

    Ms. Griffith: I like you as a person and I think your intentions are good, but regardless of the determination of this so-called review of the Office of Community Standards, the system is absolutely atrocious. It is indeed draconian. Panelists are indeed poorly trained and are made biased through the process. (In the case of sexual assault cases, panelists are selected from a pool of students who are inherently interested in “seeking justice for victims” are are subsequently biased towards finding the accused responsible.) Staff members in the O.C.S are horrendous at their supposed jobs. I am specifically referencing Morris Graves and Rick Yuen. It is time to start anew: clean the house; make the processes more transparent; and create a system that actually adheres to the Charter.

  • Steven

    As a student, staffer, and member of the Stanford community, I think it would be wonderful if statements like ” In fact, a recent and very thorough review of the system concluded that it is fundamentally sound.” were supported with publicly-available data. Could you please provide a link so that critical readers could decide for themselves the true nature of these Offices on the basis of available evidence instead of taking your word for it?

    And I think to truly make your case, you would have to provide not an *internal* review, but a third-party review conducted by an organization or panel that both administrators and students agree will do a fair evaluation.

    I have tremendous trust and respect for the institution of Stanford and its myriad components, but I know it’s also possible that human institutions have flaws, some of which can be very egregious.

    I think the nature of the claims raised against the named Offices and the magnitude of the evidence presented for public review requires a similarly robust response from The Office of Student Life and the Office of Community Standards.

  • Err

    “To extrapolate from a single anomalous case that an entire system is flawed is simply wrong. In fact, a recent and very thorough review of the system concluded that it is fundamentally sound.

    … It is absolutely false that the charter or that any staff member involved in the process assumes guilt. It is absolutely false that staff members intimidate participants involved in the process, “go after” students to get “convictions” or are “willfully indifferent to rights.” And, it is false that panelists are untrained or biased.”

    If this was true in this one case then shouldn’t this read “It is usually false that…”?

  • Gabriel Casalduc

    “In fact, a recent and very thorough review of the system concluded that it is fundamentally sound.” Where is the citation?

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