4 things to know about sexual violence at Stanford

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Provost Drell and Senior Associate Vice Provost of Institutional Equity & Access Lauren Schoenthaler recently released a 27-page PDF with responses to over 90 questions submitted by undergraduate and graduate students during the Sexual Violence Town Hall in December. Compiled below are four key takeaways. 

Resources for survivors of sexual violence and relationship abuse can be found here and here. 

  1. Stanford’s Confidential Support Team (CST) provides counseling to both survivors and perpetrators at the Kingscote Gardens, a few minutes’ walk from Tresidder. As Vaden’s website explains, CST “offers free and confidential support to Stanford students impacted by sexual assault and relationship violence.” Given that CST is not always aware of each party’s identity, nothing prevents a survivor from encountering their perpetrator while attempting to access CST, nor does anything guarantee that both parties will not share the same counselor. The University currently has no plans to address this situation. 
  2. Stanford’s record of expelling only one student for committing sexual assault in its entire 135-year history remains undisputed. After the University stated that it had expelled a grand total of three students for either sexual misconduct or relationship violence (aggregating two policy violations into one figure), neither Drell nor Schoenthaler indicated any intention to improve the effectiveness of the penal code.
  3. Stanford currently does not provide access to an attorney for students who report harassment by a faculty member. In contrast, a student receives up to nine hours of free legal aid when they bring a complaint against a fellow student. Furthermore, the hearings that are viable in cases of student-on-student harassment are not available to students who report harassment by faculty — the provost cited this lack of a hearing as justification for the absence of legal support in the status quo.  
  4. The installation of Chanel Miller’s plaque should be finished within the next two weeks, arriving nearly four years after Stanford initially agreed to install it in 2016. Drell and Schoenthaler committed to keeping the ASSU abreast of the plaque’s progress. 

Last October, the provost publicly committed to “end[ing] sexual violence on our campus” on behalf of the University. Her statement runs contradictory to the current conditions, where survivors cannot request legal representation when bringing a complaint against a faculty member and are forced to receive treatment in the same facilities as their perpetrator. As students and survivors, we look forward to seeing the University put an end to the archaic practices that silence and re-victimize us.

An external review team will be visiting campus from March 9-12, 2020, to conduct an in-depth review of the University’s “prevention, support and response efforts to sexual harassment and sexual violence.” They will be receiving student feedback through the ASSU.

Contact Elizabeth “Betsy” Kim at ebkim ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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