On Tuesday morning, Provost Persis Drell released Stanford’s first Annual Title IX/Sexual Harassment Report. The 16-page document catalogues 190 reported incidents of sexual harassment, sexual violence and other unwanted sexual conduct involving students, staff and faculty over the previous academic year, including case outcomes but not revealing details.
Located between the Faculty Club and Harmony House, Kingscote underwent a year-long renovation effort geared toward opening more university offices — in particular, the offices under the Division of Institutional Equity & Access.
Emma Tsurkov J.S.M. ’15 is a XX-year Ph.D. student in the sociology department whose research interests encompass family, gender, race and ethnicity as well as social equality and stratification. For the past year, she has been working to raise awareness of campus domestic violence affecting the partners or spouses of graduate students who are not Stanford students do not receive the same University benefits and services as a result. Her goal is to formulate and implement a coherent and unified campus policy that makes medical and counseling services more accessible to these individuals.
The Daily sat down with Tsurkov to learn more about her initiative and some of the challenges she’s faced along the way.
I am the student who was subjected to “intimidating and retaliatory conduct” based on a “false belief that [I] had reported Title IX concerns” whose experience was cited by the University in its recent decision regarding SAE. My story is a story of sexual harassment and retaliation against a Title IX witness. And unfortunately, it is a story shared by many people on this campus and beyond.
On Wednesday, the Task Force on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices recommended making expulsion the expected sanction for students who have violated University policy on sexual assault and removing undergraduates from the panels that will adjudicate those cases.
While Stanford has a concrete definition of sexual assault, the SARA Office affirmed that before even consulting legal definitions, it is first up to the survivor to define what happened based on how they feel. I personally do not want to press charges; we both strayed blindly into grey areas that night. Luckily, I came out the other side without any traumatic emotional scarring or depression. However, not everyone may be so lucky if put in this situation. Never once have I called this woman my “attacker” or “assailant” because I didn’t emotionally respond as though it were an attack or an assault. To me, she’s just a student that made a mistake. However, she does deserve to know that what she did is defined as sexual assault. What she does not deserve is expulsion. We need to understand that we can’t solve these grey issues with black and white statements and punishments.
Sex education policy should not just focus on the worst-case scenarios, but also provide information for how students can grow into their sexuality. By providing sex positive programming to the freshmen class, we enable them to make responsible decisions as they grow into their adulthood.
This year’s New Student Orientation (NSO) will include a new program addressing sexual assault and relationship violence on campus. The 45-minute segment, which is called “Facing Reality: Cultivating a Community of Respect & Consent,” will be held immediately after NSO tradition “The Real World: Stanford” on Friday, Sept. 19.