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Stanford releases Title IX report as university navigates concerns around new federal regulations

Students raise worries about difficulty in following complex procedures

On Nov. 23, Stanford University released its annual Title IX report with data on sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination during the 2019-20 academic year. Embarcadero Media file photo by Sinead Chang.

Stanford University received 92 fewer reports of sexual misconduct in 2019-20 than the prior school year, though the drop is attributed to the fact that the campus was closed for nearly half of the reporting period due to the pandemic.

The university released on Monday its annual Title IX report, which details data on sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Before the campus closed in March, Stanford was headed toward previous levels of reports, "indicating that we have much work to do to eradicate sexual harassment/assault from campus," the report states. The report also acknowledges that the data are incomplete because many instances of sexual violence and harassment as well as gender discrimination are not reported to the university.

The document includes reports of prohibited sexual conduct involving students, faculty and staff from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 13, 2020. The largest number of reports were of workplace sexual harassment (45); followed by "uncategorizable," or unverified reports that lack sufficient detail to categorize, including concerns of "sexual assault," "Title IX incident" and incapacitated individuals possibly engaging in sexual activity (36); student sexual harassment (19); and nonconsensual touching (19). The people who reported workplace sexual harassment were largely female staff, graduate and undergraduate students and the accused, male staff, faculty, and graduate students.

Of 20 formal investigations into workplace sexual harassment in 2019-20, there were eight findings of a policy violation that resulted in one male faculty member and five male staff members being permanently separated from the university. (Separation can include expulsion, termination, resignation or retirement in lieu of termination, or nonrenewal of an appointment.)

Fifteen workplace sexual harassment cases, meanwhile, were addressed with "university interventions," or actions taken to address an allegation of an act that occurred but that didn't rise to the level of a formal policy violation or when a victim didn't want the university to conduct a full investigation.

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There were two formal investigations into student sexual harassment reports which resulted in a single "non-hearing resolution," or when the university proposes an outcome that's accepted by both parties and becomes a university "directive" instead of moving forward to a formal hearing. This required one male graduate student to stop contact with the other student, lose privileges and undergo sexual citizenship counseling and alcohol counseling, according to the report.

There were 19 reports of nonconsensual intercourse in 2019-20, three of which Stanford formally investigated. One of those cases resulted in a policy violation for a male staff member who was separated from the university. There were also three university interventions.

One male undergraduate student who attempted "videotaping of showering without permission" was separated from Stanford through a non-hearing resolution, according to the report.

Other consequences for students found guilty of nonconsensual touching, stalking and relationship violence included quarters away from Stanford, counseling and "loss of privileges."

"While we've made structural and policy changes this year, we know that we have much more work to do to create a campus culture free of prohibited sexual behavior. These annual reports show us that sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination are prevalent on our campus," said Provost Persis Drell, whose office oversees the Office of Institutional Equity and Access. "We all must work together to address this critical issue."

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Though the 2019-20 data was reported before President Donald Trump administration's new Title IX regulations took effect in August, the controversial changes in federal requirements for colleges and universities hang over Stanford's response to sexual violence and harassment. Stanford students have expressed concern about the new Title IX procedures, including a more limited scope of jurisdiction — if someone accused of sexual misconduct leaves the university community and the incident is reported after he or she left, the Title IX procedures no longer apply, for example — and whether the Title IX policies apply while most students are off campus this year. The new federal regulations do not require colleges and universities to apply Title IX procedures to off-campus activities and programs, such as study abroad programs, but Stanford has expanded its scope for student misconduct to include "all sexual harassment-related conduct where there is any reason to believe that the incident could contribute to a hostile educational environment or otherwise interfere with a student's access to education," Lauren Schoenthaler, senior associate vice provost for institutional equity and access, said in an announcement.

Students Julia Paris, Maia Brockbank and Krithika Iyer, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) co-directors of sexual violence prevention, said in a statement that the new policies are difficult to understand and navigate. There are now three new procedures by which Stanford reviews sexual harassment and violence allegations: a procedure for all respondents, or those accused of misconduct, when the conduct is subject to Title IX jurisdiction; a hearing procedure for faculty and student respondents; and an investigation procedure for staff and postdoctoral scholar respondents when a student is making an allegation.

"When deciding whether or not to file a complaint, survivors may face extreme difficulty in even determining which of the three procedures applies to their case," the students said. "The applicability of the policies is determined by everything from the location, nature and timing of the incident, as well as the specific job category of the perpetrator. These distinctions are not intuitive; the same assault would fall under different procedures if it was committed by a full professor, compared to a lecturer. How are survivors supposed to understand these convoluted distinctions without support?" (Stanford's announcement notes that attorneys are made available to students during the investigation process.)

To help explain the new Title IX processes and support services for survivors, the ASSU created infographics that can be viewed here and here.

Based on feedback from an external review of the three offices involved in preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault — the Title IX Office, Sexual Harassment Policy Office (SHPO) and Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response Office (SARA) — Stanford merged them into one, now called the SHARE Title IX Office. The consolidated office will oversee the three Title IX procedures and the updated policy defining and prohibiting sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

The external reviewers — representatives from Princeton, Brown, Duke and Yale universities — wrote in a final report that they "heard deep concern regarding the need for cultural change" at Stanford as well as a perception that the university "seeks to minimize issues of sexual misconduct in order to perpetuate a positive image of Stanford."

"While it is the impression of the reviewers that the university is deeply committed to handling these matters in a manner that is transparent, equitable, and sensitive to all involved, it is apparent that there are members of the community who do not share this perspective. It is therefore critical that the university take strong and visible action to publicly demonstrate its commitment to these issues, as well as its willingness to make appropriate changes in order to improve the experience of students, faculty, and staff," they wrote.

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Stanford releases Title IX report as university navigates concerns around new federal regulations

Students raise worries about difficulty in following complex procedures

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Tue, Nov 24, 2020, 8:24 am

Stanford University received 92 fewer reports of sexual misconduct in 2019-20 than the prior school year, though the drop is attributed to the fact that the campus was closed for nearly half of the reporting period due to the pandemic.

The university released on Monday its annual Title IX report, which details data on sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Before the campus closed in March, Stanford was headed toward previous levels of reports, "indicating that we have much work to do to eradicate sexual harassment/assault from campus," the report states. The report also acknowledges that the data are incomplete because many instances of sexual violence and harassment as well as gender discrimination are not reported to the university.

The document includes reports of prohibited sexual conduct involving students, faculty and staff from Sept. 1, 2019, to Aug. 13, 2020. The largest number of reports were of workplace sexual harassment (45); followed by "uncategorizable," or unverified reports that lack sufficient detail to categorize, including concerns of "sexual assault," "Title IX incident" and incapacitated individuals possibly engaging in sexual activity (36); student sexual harassment (19); and nonconsensual touching (19). The people who reported workplace sexual harassment were largely female staff, graduate and undergraduate students and the accused, male staff, faculty, and graduate students.

Of 20 formal investigations into workplace sexual harassment in 2019-20, there were eight findings of a policy violation that resulted in one male faculty member and five male staff members being permanently separated from the university. (Separation can include expulsion, termination, resignation or retirement in lieu of termination, or nonrenewal of an appointment.)

Fifteen workplace sexual harassment cases, meanwhile, were addressed with "university interventions," or actions taken to address an allegation of an act that occurred but that didn't rise to the level of a formal policy violation or when a victim didn't want the university to conduct a full investigation.

There were two formal investigations into student sexual harassment reports which resulted in a single "non-hearing resolution," or when the university proposes an outcome that's accepted by both parties and becomes a university "directive" instead of moving forward to a formal hearing. This required one male graduate student to stop contact with the other student, lose privileges and undergo sexual citizenship counseling and alcohol counseling, according to the report.

There were 19 reports of nonconsensual intercourse in 2019-20, three of which Stanford formally investigated. One of those cases resulted in a policy violation for a male staff member who was separated from the university. There were also three university interventions.

One male undergraduate student who attempted "videotaping of showering without permission" was separated from Stanford through a non-hearing resolution, according to the report.

Other consequences for students found guilty of nonconsensual touching, stalking and relationship violence included quarters away from Stanford, counseling and "loss of privileges."

"While we've made structural and policy changes this year, we know that we have much more work to do to create a campus culture free of prohibited sexual behavior. These annual reports show us that sexual violence, sexual harassment and gender discrimination are prevalent on our campus," said Provost Persis Drell, whose office oversees the Office of Institutional Equity and Access. "We all must work together to address this critical issue."

Though the 2019-20 data was reported before President Donald Trump administration's new Title IX regulations took effect in August, the controversial changes in federal requirements for colleges and universities hang over Stanford's response to sexual violence and harassment. Stanford students have expressed concern about the new Title IX procedures, including a more limited scope of jurisdiction — if someone accused of sexual misconduct leaves the university community and the incident is reported after he or she left, the Title IX procedures no longer apply, for example — and whether the Title IX policies apply while most students are off campus this year. The new federal regulations do not require colleges and universities to apply Title IX procedures to off-campus activities and programs, such as study abroad programs, but Stanford has expanded its scope for student misconduct to include "all sexual harassment-related conduct where there is any reason to believe that the incident could contribute to a hostile educational environment or otherwise interfere with a student's access to education," Lauren Schoenthaler, senior associate vice provost for institutional equity and access, said in an announcement.

Students Julia Paris, Maia Brockbank and Krithika Iyer, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) co-directors of sexual violence prevention, said in a statement that the new policies are difficult to understand and navigate. There are now three new procedures by which Stanford reviews sexual harassment and violence allegations: a procedure for all respondents, or those accused of misconduct, when the conduct is subject to Title IX jurisdiction; a hearing procedure for faculty and student respondents; and an investigation procedure for staff and postdoctoral scholar respondents when a student is making an allegation.

"When deciding whether or not to file a complaint, survivors may face extreme difficulty in even determining which of the three procedures applies to their case," the students said. "The applicability of the policies is determined by everything from the location, nature and timing of the incident, as well as the specific job category of the perpetrator. These distinctions are not intuitive; the same assault would fall under different procedures if it was committed by a full professor, compared to a lecturer. How are survivors supposed to understand these convoluted distinctions without support?" (Stanford's announcement notes that attorneys are made available to students during the investigation process.)

To help explain the new Title IX processes and support services for survivors, the ASSU created infographics that can be viewed here and here.

Based on feedback from an external review of the three offices involved in preventing and responding to sexual harassment and assault — the Title IX Office, Sexual Harassment Policy Office (SHPO) and Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Education and Response Office (SARA) — Stanford merged them into one, now called the SHARE Title IX Office. The consolidated office will oversee the three Title IX procedures and the updated policy defining and prohibiting sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.

The external reviewers — representatives from Princeton, Brown, Duke and Yale universities — wrote in a final report that they "heard deep concern regarding the need for cultural change" at Stanford as well as a perception that the university "seeks to minimize issues of sexual misconduct in order to perpetuate a positive image of Stanford."

"While it is the impression of the reviewers that the university is deeply committed to handling these matters in a manner that is transparent, equitable, and sensitive to all involved, it is apparent that there are members of the community who do not share this perspective. It is therefore critical that the university take strong and visible action to publicly demonstrate its commitment to these issues, as well as its willingness to make appropriate changes in order to improve the experience of students, faculty, and staff," they wrote.

Comments

Squidsie
Registered user
another community
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:20 am
Squidsie, another community
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:20 am

However Stanford handles these matters should involve due process, and require substantial proof and the opportunity for the accused to confront his accuser. Giving an accuser the power to have someone fired or expelled merely upon an unproven accusation is wrong.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:44 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Nov 24, 2020 at 10:44 am

Well, if they've been closed for almost half of the reporting year, of course there will be less sexual assaults. Stanford has a problem here, and the campus having to be closed to reduce the number isn't the answer.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2020 at 7:46 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 7:46 am

From the PA Weekly...
>"Stanford received 92 fewer reports of sexual misconduct in 2019-20 than the prior school year, though the drop is attributed to the fact that the campus was closed for nearly half of the reporting period due to the pandemic.'

^ Well that explains that.

>"Stanford has a problem here, and the campus having to be closed to reduce the number isn't the answer."

^ Chances are...college campus closures due to the pandemic are not a viable means (nor intentional approach) towards curtailing this problem.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 25, 2020 at 8:47 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 8:47 am

SU is unique in that it is bordered by El Camino which is littered with RV's. This city has RV's sitting between the high school and university. That is unique to this city. WE do not know who are living in the RV's - any combination of people's who are using the SU bathrooms and showers - they are on the SU property.

In RWC the RV's are in a commercial area next to the freeway - they are not in a residential area. In MV they are moving the RV's out of the residential areas and they are now in the Google complex. But Google is closed anyway.

We have allowed a situation where RV people come here by word of mouth. It is called unintended consequences. At a time when the state is emptying it's local prisons due to overcrowding. Who ever though this all up had good intentions but good intentions do not control the situation at hand. If you are going to put SU in tighter control then remove the wild cards which you have no control over. All these RV's should be moved down to North San Jose where new building is going up - and new jobs. That is where the employment opportunities are. that is what you are suppose to be doing - moving people to opportunity zones where they can get work.


Lee Forrest
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Nov 25, 2020 at 9:32 am
Lee Forrest, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 9:32 am

>"WE do not know who are living in the RV's - any combination of people's who are using the SU bathrooms and showers - they are on the SU property."

^ Are you drawing a correlation between the RV dwellers & campus assaults?

Title X pertains to wrongful student/on campus activities.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Nov 25, 2020 at 4:42 pm
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Nov 25, 2020 at 4:42 pm

I have read a number of articles concerning the issues that occur on the campus. Some are student specific and others are unqualified as to who the perps are. This is the only location on the peninsula where RV's are parked between educational institutions. That in itself is poor planning. No other city does that. How many wild cards do you throw at a situation that is already sketchy - you have no control over the situation. If you have no control - or have given up control - then you have put an unfortunate situation into motion in a place where young people are specifically situated.
The churches did not want them in their parking lots. Wonder why.


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