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Stanford task force recommends expulsion as 'expected' sanction for sexual assault

Original post made on Apr 8, 2015

A Stanford University task force charged with reviewing and issuing recommendations on sexual-assault policies and procedures is recommending a policy change still seen as radical for many colleges — that any student found responsible for sexual assault be expelled.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, April 8, 2015, 9:44 AM

Comments (29)

Posted by Stanford Grad
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:01 am

If they expel students based on hearsay, they can expect to be sued. A lot.

Harvard law professors already wrote a letter to their school, pointing out that these policies are basically illegal and will inevitably lead to crippling lawsuits.

[Portion removed.]

Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:17 am

'Sexual-Assault' is a legal issue and not for kangaroo courts. The University's first role in a sexual assault accusation that comes to their attention is to notify the police as it is a criminal offense. Further, no matter how politically correct the atmosphere is our laws state that a person is innocent, yes innocent, until proven guilty. The University does not have either the power nor the means to render a true guilty verdict. If the person is found guilty in a court of law then the University can expell that person. Until then, the person is innocent.

Posted by almunday
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

explusion should be mandatory for a sex crime...are colleges/univesity's that hard up where they are afraid of loosing tutition money?

Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 11:37 am

Expulsion should be mandatory for sexual assaults. This conduct is clearly unbecoming and unacceptable in our future leaders of society. They destroy a woman's life permanently. Losing their ability to remain in school is but a small price they pay in comparison to what their victim's suffer.

Posted by Joe
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 8, 2015 at 11:40 am

With the Duke and UVA cases offering more clear examples of how rape allegations can easily take on a life of their own--only to be shown to be false after a complete invetigation--universities should be very careful taking action against students who have not been found guilty in a court of law.

There also need to be sanctions against anyone who makes charges, or gives evidence, which turn out to be false.

Posted by Garden Gnome
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Due process so old fashioned.

Sexual assault is very serious, and should be dealt with by the criminal justice system.

Too bad Stanford is joining the hysteria.

Posted by DOA
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 8, 2015 at 12:21 pm

“People who *felt* that they had been sexually assaulted found it very confusing about where to go and who to get advice [from],” Etchemendy said. “They felt that they were sent from office to office.”
“It’s a terrible way to treat someone who has just gone through *probably* a very traumatic experience,” he added.

Ya think? You think it was "probably" traumatic for the people who "felt" that they had been sexually assaulted?

The Provost DOES NOT GET IT.

The recommendation on expulsion is DOA. That's why he does not say he accepts or agrees with it.


Thank you for wasting a year on this so that everyone graduated who could have made trouble over it. Well played everyone.

Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:18 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

Expulsion should be the penalty for proven sexual assault but not an accusation of sexual assault. I don't intend this in any way to cast an aspersion on the victims for whom I have enormous sympathy. But our judicial system is based on innocent until proven guilty and Stanford should not override that under circumstances. Perhaps suspension is a compromise. Nevertheless innocent until proven guilty is the law of the land.

Posted by Judy
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Michele Dauber, who seems to be a radical judge and jury on this issue, leaves out one important factor: Should women who give un-proven accounts be expelled? Should Jackie be expelled from UVA? Should she be criminally charged? Should university judgement councils be liable to civil suits for unjust judgements?

If rape is alleged, it should be judged by our courts, not a highly prejudiced and ideological Stanford tribunal [portion removed.]

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

This is absurd. I hope Stanford is sued into the Stone Age.

Expulsion makes sense for serious, proven accusations, not he-said/she-said or hurt feelings.

Posted by EmmaB
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:21 pm

EmmaB is a registered user.

Is there ANY good reason in the WORLD not to expel rapists and sexual assaulters??? Any good reason at all? Why would a school WANT someone like that on their campus???

I think that the burden of proof should be on the man to prove that she said yes, rather than on the woman to prove she said no. That way, guys will stop manipulating and forcing women into uncomfortable "ambiguous rape" situations. I mean, that's basically what Kobe Bryant is doing now - if he has sex with someone, she signs a contract first saying she agreed.

There's a great article about sex at Stanford on a blog I follow. It talks about a new club called the Kardinal Kink Klub - and how, even though they have the most extreme sex on campus, they take consent very, very seriously. It's a great read: The Stanford Kink Club has the Healthiest Sex On Campus. [Portion removed.]

Posted by DOA
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm

If you are not intending to publish the last name of the UVA complainant, please delete the comment from Judy above.

Posted by EmmaB
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:22 pm

EmmaB is a registered user.

Joseph E Davis - I sure hope that when a woman say "no" or "stop" to you - or even uses body language to tell you to stop doing something - that you listen. Because that is what this article is about. And if you don't think that is a serious offense... you're scary.

Posted by John
a resident of Southgate
on Apr 8, 2015 at 2:57 pm

EmmaB, when a woman falsely accuses a man/men for rape, should she be expelled or charged criminally? Should she be liable to civil suits? Should the man's name be used in the public arena, before he is convicted?

Should a woman's words be trusted any more than a man's word in rape allegation cases?

Posted by Nora Charles
a resident of Stanford
on Apr 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm

Colleges are in no position to investigate or determine whether or not sexual assault has occurred. That is a matter for the police, not a university. Only when a student has been charged and convicted of this crime--or any serious crime--should he or she be expelled.

Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm

I agree with Nora Charles - exactly - however there are a couple more points:
1) The Obama administration has been pressuring colleges and universities to "deal" with accused male sex assaulters harshly - see the news -- and this in fact is not logical even if well-intended and 2) some women who say they have been sexually assaulted refuse to go to the police. Therefore, there is no rape kit, no record/report. I think these things are really important to note.
I completely understand that women who have been assaulted may be overwhelmed and reluctant for a host of reasons to go to the city police, but....I think it IS necessary. Otherwise, we are generally dealing with hearsay, he said/she said, in the absence of witnesses and/or evidence. It is awful and stressful when women are raped; it is also stressful afterwards, but we MUST have due process for the accused. That's the way it is in this country.
I realize colleges should be supportive of any student who says she has been victimized, I just don't think this is the place to START with the complaint. I think after a report is with the police, then the accuser should initiate a complaint process with the college sooner rather than later so that there is also a record in their system. I do NOT think the college - whether a student jury, administrators or some other conceited body should on their own have judicial powers. Unfortunately, we have cases where a female student is protesting a university's half-hearted reaction to an alleged off-campus/out of state rape; we have cases where females wait an over-long time to file their complaint, and etc. It seems harsh to say "innocent until proven guilty," but that's what I believe is the right way to handle this, like other criminal matters, rather than "what she says" or a "preponderance of evidence" IF that evidence is minimal.

Posted by Joseph E. Davis
a resident of Woodside
on Apr 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm

[Post removed.]

Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 8, 2015 at 4:29 pm

>Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, a staunch sexual-assault advocate deeply involved in the drafting of the university's current adjudication process, called the expectation of expulsion the "most important recommendation in the report."

Vigilante justice in its modern form. Not surprising, considering all the hysteria about rape on campus, which is less frequent than in non-campus environments.

Rape is too serious a charge to leave it up to people like Michele Dauber. It belongs in the hands of the local police, period. Once convicted, the perp should be expelled from Stanford, while he is in jail or beyond.

I agree with others that false accusers should be charged with a crime and prosecuted...not something likely to happen at Stanford, under current conditions. Stanford is skating on very thin ice....

Posted by OldAlum
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm

I'd just like to thank "Norman" for his clear thinking. That should cover it.

Posted by Alan D
a resident of another community
on Apr 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm

Attending Stanford while incarcerated would be extremely difficult. Expulsion should follow, not precede. The irony will be a slick Stanford Law grad worried about some one's right to a fair trial. She'll end up getting a perpetrator off on a technicality...

Posted by Stanford study
a resident of University South
on Apr 8, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Hey, I have a suggestion. Let's expel any FEMALE student who gets drunk. And let's make it possible for any male student to accuse a female student of getting drunk, without any proof, and get her expelled then.

Just think, if some guy has a crush on a girl, and she rejects him, then he can get even with her. He can have her expelled with no proof.

Hey, if women can use a Kangaroo court to get even with men, then men should be able to do it to women too? This should be an "equal opportunity" witch-hunt.

Posted by Midtowner
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 8, 2015 at 8:52 pm

Wow, just wow! [Portion removed.] Comment after comment about women crying rape when it didn't happen and what about the poor guy who will lose his ticket to the 1% economic club. A study showed that 8% of rape accusations are suspected to be false. So that means that 92% of women who say they were raped really were. But if you read the comments here, you'd think there was an epidemic of women at Stanford getting even with the male sex. I would certainly think that the possibility of being expelled might cause a few guys to think twice.

Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2015 at 8:44 am

@Midtowner: The link below from Slate is a firm discussion about the false accusation issue. It is a substantial issue, despite your denials.

Web Link

My issue is more about what to do about false accusers. Should they be prosecuted or sued or expelled? Given the damage that they cause, I would recommend all three. What would you recommend?

Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Apr 9, 2015 at 10:46 am

Clearly expulsion would be appropriate if found guilty by the courts...the same would be appropriate for other heinous crimes committed by students, faculty or staff...not just sexual assault. Stanford should not attempt to be the court/jury for crimes that belong in the courts. Let the legal system do its job.

Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

Students that are truly convicted or confess to sexual assault should be expelled. However, there are plenty of cases of "she said/he said" or even outright lies uttered out of a need for attention or even to get back at someone. Like others said, such cases should be handled by REAL courts and not any panel of judges.

Just take a look at the recent Rolling Stone debacle.

The magazine published a scathing expose about a gang rape that supposedly took place on campus at a University of Virginia frat house. The story was horrible to imagine. The only thing as bad as that sort of rape is a false accusation about it. The false accusation -- even if disproved in court or later admitted to have been a lie -- can cause lasting damage to the accused (and victims of the lie).

Consequently, the fraternity in question is about to sue Rolling Stone for every last dime they can get. While I have strong feelings against frivolous litigation, I feel that this suit is justified. Those young men were seen as monsters because of a tale that had too many holes in it from the beginning. Even now, there are probably people who see those men as having "gotten away with it."

Like others have said, Stanford and every university should expel students who have been convicted or legally confessed to rape or sexual assault. However, this is not something that any sort of scholastic tribunal should handle. There are just far too many things that a school investigation or hearing might not be privy to and a decision could have lasting negative repercussions to any and all parties involved.

Posted by priced-out
a resident of another community
on Apr 9, 2015 at 11:41 am

At Stanford in June 2014 it was an amazing thing to see the way people flocked to support Leah Francis. I was left out in the cold. All I could ever think was that I could not possibly know what happened and so could not take a position, or even work up much interest.
But look at Jackie/UVA/Ro Sto. The article got published for the same reason that Leah got support - an issue that people just so badly wanted to feel strongly about, and come together over.
Very fishy. Another aspect of our narcissism? Want to see ourselves supporting he cause of the day.

Posted by Sue
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 9, 2015 at 12:16 pm

Craig Laughton,

That is an excellent article from Slate. I must say that I previously thought the false accusation issue was drummed up to diminish women. However, given what has been going on lately, you have convinced me that it is a real issue and that men should not be damaged by false accusations. And yes, women should be punished for false accusations.

Thanks, Craig

Posted by Ethel
a resident of another community
on Jun 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

If anyone seriously expects Stanford to punish people for making false allegations, they're in for a big surprise. They won't be punished because doing so, it will be argued, will discourage others from reporting abuse. Drunkeness of the person making the allegations will be used as an excuse.

Posted by Nonsense and innocence
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 11, 2016 at 11:07 am

While I agree that sexual assault is a matter for police, and universities should improve reporting.

But I disagree with the "innocent until proven extreme" conjecture.

Let's put this in perspective- most organizations have rules they administrate for members. (Not judiciary!)

Example - business has a right to refuse service to unruly customers. The library can revoke my library card for not following their rules. I don't have to be found guilty by a judge and jury of drinking a soda in the reference section. The librarian can handle that - I lose privileges when I break rules. No judge needed.

Students who cheat on exams lose the privilege of going to that school - they are expelled. There is an administrative process to determine cheating, with accusations, and appeal (usually to a disciplinary board)

I see no reason why sexual assault isn't a rule on campus.

There could be an administrative process just like cheating. With review and with consequences (we aren't talking jail - just the loss of privilege of attending that specific college).

You lost your library card - now you gotta get your books elsewhere. No judge needed.

So I see no problem with a reasonable administrative process.

Now we can discuss what that process looks like: is the accuser required to file a police report? Is there a disciplinary board? Do the have written guidelines? Is there appeal? Is there a range of punishments ( suspension 1term, 2 term...permanent)

All good things to discuss. All legal.

And it can be a parallel process to the judicial case.

Judge decides if you go to jail.
School decides if you can attend their school.

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