Stanford University revealed nearly 200 reports of sexual violence, unwanted contact or sexual harassment in a recently released report during the 2016-2017 academic year, including 29 allegations of sexual assault.
“The report we are issuing today shows that prohibited sexual conduct happens throughout our community at Stanford,” Provost Persis Drell wrote in a letter accompanying the report. “I believe the actual numbers of incidents of wrongful sexual conduct are probably larger than are being reported to us.”
Almost 60 of the incidents involved sexual harassment in the workplace or academic setting – mostly involving academic staff.
“We are encouraged to see Stanford releasing a report this like,” Jennifer Reisch, legal director at Equal Rights Advocates, a San Francisco-based civil rights organization that focuses on sexual harassment, said in an email. “However, the numbers of reported incidents, especially of sexual harassment and sexual assault, are alarmingly high for one school year.” –mercurynews.com
20 out of 30 formal investigations of sexual harassment in an academic setting were found to be in violation of policy – with five male staff members, one female staff member, and one male faculty member having been removed from the university.
33 reports of sexual harassment involving students resulted in two formal investigations, with one male graduate banned from campus for three years after graduation, and another male undergraduate told to stay away from the person who made the complaint.
The 29 reports of sexual assault, mostly involving students, led to 11 formal investigations, with one male undergraduate student being suspended for three academic quarters, which amounts to one school year. He was also ordered to stay away from the victim and to undergo counseling on alcohol use and respecting personal boundaries. Another male undergraduate received a similar punishment, and one visiting researcher was permanently banned from campus. The school did not immediately respond to a question about whether any of the cases were also prosecuted in court.
“The report is a great signal from the administration that they are taking our demands for transparency seriously,” said Stanford junior and student body candidate Shanta Katipamula, adding “This is one instance in a very, very large picture and I think there’s still a long ways to go.”
In a comment referencing the #MeToo movement of victims disclosing unwanted sexual harassment, Provost Persis Drell noted that “In recent months, there has been a moment of reckoning across our country and around the world — bringing to light new stories every day and reminding us of the deep impacts of sexual harassment and violence on the lives of countless people in our world. This movement further underscores that at Stanford, we must confront these issues as community issues, not simply as student issues; we must confront them as our issues, not someone else’s issues.”
Stanford has come under fire for several high-profile sexual assault cases, including that of a young woman by then-student Brock Turner in 2015. The Mercury News noted at the time that the university continued to promote the legacy of a well-known professor despite quietly having suspended him for sexual misconduct with a young graduate student.
Stanford will be introducing a program in the spring to help sophomores focus on “healthy relationships,” while another group of students will participate in a program to help students avoid sexual assault by acquaintances.
“Ultimately,” Drell said, “I hope the report helps encourage members of our community to come forward with their concerns and to have conversations about conduct and the expectations we have for one another.”If you enjoy the content at iBankCoin, please follow us on Twitter