Stanford Agrees to Reform Sexual Assault Policies; Civil Rights Orgs Cautiously Optimistic
San Francisco Following a three-year investigation of the university’s response to reports of sexual assault on campus, Stanford University has agreed to reform its Title IX policies and procedures by June 1.
The agreement comes after a federal investigation found university officials failed to adequately respond to reports of sexual assault from two students. With the help of civil rights group Equal Rights Advocates, the students then filed Title IX complaints, which became part of a much larger investigation by the Office of Civil Rights.
“We are very pleased that after a thorough investigation, our clients’ voices were heard and believed,” said Jennifer Reisch, Legal Director at Equal Rights Advocates. “Because of our clients’ courage and perseverance, Stanford has agreed to changes that could have a significant positive impact on the lives of many students for years to come.”
Agreed upon reforms include:
- improving notice about how to report sexual misconduct, including sexual assault;
- ensuring consistency and promptness in responding to reports of sexual violence;
- strengthening retaliation protections for students who report sexual assault;
- developing a protocol for addressing violations of stay-away orders, including letting a student know if their harasser/assaulter enrolls in one of their classes; and
- training university personnel, including campus police, on the new policies and procedures.
“No student should be denied access to education because of sexual harassment or violence,” Reisch said. “This is an opportunity for Stanford to turn over a new leaf and create a campus environment that is safe and equitable for all.”
Read the resolution agreement here.
Equal Rights Advocates (www.equalrights.org ) is a national civil rights organization fighting gender discrimination in workplaces and education through litigation, public policy and advocacy, and partnerships with workers and students.