If we have the opportunity to become a role model of an equitable student judicial process, why wouldn’t we?
Four percent of Stanford students reported having been raped, while seven percent reported having been sexually penetrated against their will and 15 percent reported engaging in intercourse under pressure, according to preliminary data from a survey of roughly 4,000 students conducted by Health Promotion and Services (HPS). Donnovan Yisrael ‘88, M.A. ‘89, HPS manager of relationship and sexual health programs, and Byrd Bannick ‘13 presented the results of the data to students at the Women’s Community Center Thursday evening.
Halfway through its first academic year, the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse (SARA) Education & Response has established an initiative to get more male students involved in issues of sexual assault and relationship abuse, collaborating with other parts of the University to set up workshops and training sessions. In the future, the office plans to establish campus protocols for dealing with sexual assault, according to Angela Exson, assistant dean of SARA.
Most people at Stanford would agree that that the issues of rape and sexual assault are serious matters; however, that doesn’t mean they are above becoming punch lines for jokes on campus. Similarly, jokes involving the Holocaust, dead babies and Helen Keller are made all the time; they are funny precisely because they are matters that should not be joked about.
Last week, on the advice on the U.S. Justice Department, President Hennessey’s office unilaterally lowered the standard of proof in Judicial Affairs cases involving sexual assault from “beyond a reasonable doubt” to “a preponderance of the evidence.” While some might be frustrated that he failed to consult the student body in making this change, it’s altogether understandable; President Hennessey is responsible for a large check from the federal government that’s contingent on complying with it’s edicts.