Support independent, student-run journalism.

Your support helps give staff members from all backgrounds the opportunity to conduct meaningful reporting on important issues at Stanford. All contributions are tax-deductible.

It Crossed the Line

In their first quarter at Stanford, freshmen are required to come together in dorm lounges across campus to participate in a group event, unaware that they are about to be asked to reveal the most intimate details of their lives — deeply private things, embarrassing things, unfortunate things, regretted things and things they may not have shared with even their closest friends or family — to a room full of strangers. Freshmen have not been warned that they will have to do this. They have not been given a choice to participate. And they have not been provided a compelling reason why they should be required to make these details of their personal lives public to people they do not know nor trust. The event is called Crossing the Line (CTL) — a name that is appropriate because it crosses a line no university ever should.

Statement for delivery to President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Provost Persis Drell and Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole on Stanford’s leave of absence policy

It’s undeniable that mental illness is a pressing issue on college campuses, especially at Stanford, where students are constantly pressured to succeed. It’s undeniable, too, that stigma against mental illness is a form of ableism — something that blames individuals for their struggles instead of attending to structural issues like a lack of accessibility to mental health resources. Which is why it’s so frustrating to learn that Stanford has made it a matter of institutional policy to treat students struggling with mental illness as security risks to be disciplined, and not as people with disabilities, worthy of respect. Through a gross misapplication of its Dean’s Leave of Absence policy, Stanford has evicted students from on-campus housing and barred them from campus for either expressing suicidal ideas or acting on suicidal thoughts, without regard to the facts of each individual’s case and the possible long-term impact of its actions on students’ health and recovery.