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Title IX report shows surge in reported incidents

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Stanford received 279 reports of sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the yearlong period before Aug. 31, according to the annual Title IX report released Monday by the University. Up from 221 in the previous year’s report, the number highlights continued difficulties the University administration faces in addressing these issues.

“It’s important to share this report with the Stanford community so that we can all be aware of the prevalence of sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination on our campus; understand the Title IX process, and determine how we will continue to address this very serious issue,” Provost Persis Drell told Stanford News. 

Of the 279 incidents reported in the timeframe covered by the review, 135 were cases of sexual harassment, with 20 of nonconsensual intercourse and another 20 of nonconsensual touching. Unlike the previous report, this review also included cases of gender discrimination, of which 16 were reported. 

The report drew criticism from community members who have been outspoken on issues of sexual misconduct. Some accused the administration of not sufficiently punishing those found guilty of violations.  

“It is time to admit that Stanford’s Title IX process is a failure,” wrote Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber in a statement she posted to Twitter.

The report also outlined prevention efforts by the University, including by the Sexual Harassment Policy Office (SHPO) and the Office of Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response (SARA), while acknowledging that “prevention efforts and programs alone cannot stop sexual harassment.” 

The report described “expulsion” of only one student, for relationship violence. While the student may not complete coursework or enroll in future degree-granting programs, the report said, he received a degree for work already completed. That fact has become a flashpoint of criticism. 

“Some truly wild stuff in today’s Title IX Report released by the Provost including pretending that @Stanford expelled someone who had their degree conferred,” former student body president Shanta Katipamula ’19 M.S. ’20 tweeted. “Last time I checked, telling someone not to come back to campus is a campus ban, not expulsion.”

“Another year has passed and Stanford has yet again failed to expel any student for sexual assault, despite the fact that a student was found responsible for sexual assault by a panel following a hearing,” Dauber wrote in her statement, referring to another incident in which a student was found responsible for sexual assault. 

The report indicated that the case involved conduct from 2015, stating that the “matter pre-dated expected expulsion standard implemented in 2016.” 

Expulsion was a possible sanction even without that standard, Dauber said, arguing that the University’s decision not to expel the student was a “failure of will.”

Interim Title IX Coordinator Catherine Glaze said the report was connected to University efforts to mitigate sexual misconduct. 

“While no one can be happy with the number of incidents, especially since there is undoubtedly underreporting, we issue the report to foster accountability and transparency about the steps that we are taking to reduce sexual violence and sexual harassment on campus,” Glaze said. 

She encouraged “students, faculty and staff who have experienced prohibited conduct to come forward with their concerns. We will respond by offering support through our partner offices (SARA, CST, ResEd) and walking through options for redressing the concern.”

Contact Ella Booker at ebooker ‘at’ stanford.edu and Emma Talley at emmat332 ‘at’ stanford.edu.