By Sarina Deb
Despite the University’s November decision to install a plaque featuring a quote chosen by Chanel Miller, the plaque has not yet been placed due to a sizing error.
The plaque is to be installed at a contemplative garden near Lake Lagunita, the site where Miller was sexually assaulted by former Stanford swimmer and convicted felon Brock Turner.
The quote that will be on the plaque is from Miller’s victim statement, which was read millions of times online after it was published under the name Emily Doe: “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today.”
The University initially rejected the quote due to concerns it would “not be supportive in a healing space for survivors.” However, after campus-wide pushback, Provost Persis Drell announced to the community in November that due to “renewed interest among students in having a plaque at the garden with Ms. Miller’s words,” the University would move forward with the quote.
But, three months later, the current garden features only a small plaque engraved on a bench, which was placed there by a student last October. An additional plaque placed by a student in November with the quote no longer appears at the site.
At a Faculty Senate meeting on Jan. 23, Drell said the University was waiting on the plaque after a sizing error.
“I don’t have a date on the plaque because we ordered something and it came back a half-inch off, so we sent it back,” Drell said. “We’re still trying to get that right.”
On Tuesday, Stanford spokesperson E.J. Miranda said the University still has no timeline for the plaque’s installment.
Former ASSU President Shanta Katipamula ’19 M.S. ’20 called the sizing error “a pretty ridiculous mistake for the University to make.”
“It’s been over three years since the University first agreed to put in the plaque, and there is still no plaque in place despite a decision by the provost last November to move forward with the original plaque agreement,” Katipamula said. “For comparison, consider the EVGR high-rises which started construction in 2017 and are now nearing completion — Stanford built literal high rise buildings faster than it could put a single plaque in the ground.”
Stanford Law School professor Michele Dauber, a family friend of Miller’s who led the campaign to recall the judge who gave Turner a six-month sentence, told The Daily that “it is absurd that the greatest engineering school on earth cannot accomplish the simple fabrication of a small plaque in 4 years.”
In September of 2016, Dauber, with Miller’s support, proposed placing a plaque at the site of the assault. After the University agreed, Miller offered two options for a quote from her victim statement to be inscribed on a plaque for the site. Stanford rejected her quotes and suggested more tempered passages, causing Miller to disaffiliate from the process.
“I could have taken a class in metalwork and hand-hammered the plaque out of scrap metal fished out of the dumpster behind the mechanical engineering building in the time this has taken,” Dauber told The Daily. “It’s time to stop making excuses and do the job.”