Widgets Magazine

Stanford reverses campus ban on Joe Lonsdale

Courtesy of Joe Lonsdale, 2013.

Courtesy of Joe Lonsdale, 2013.

Stanford has reversed its order banning Joe Lonsdale ’04, co-founder of Palantir and founding partner of Foundation 8, from campus. The 10-year minimum ban had originally been instituted due to accusations of gender violence, sexual assault and sexual harassment, among other charges, by Elise Clougherty ’13.

In 2012, Lonsdale and Clougherty began a relationship while she was an undergraduate and he was a mentor for one of her classes. Clougherty later claimed that the relationship had been abusive and reported Lonsdale’s actions to the University in 2013. This led to the Title IX investigation that resulted in Lonsdale’s 10-year ban, and in January 2015, Clougherty filed a lawsuit against Lonsdale claiming that he had raped her several times during their relationship.

The lawsuit was dropped in court on Monday, Nov. 2, and Stanford has decided to lift the ban on Lonsdale.

“As a result of new evidence that came to light during litigation between Mr. Lonsdale and Ms. Clougherty, the investigator in a Stanford University Title IX matter involving both parties has determined that Mr. Lonsdale did not violate Stanford’s Title IX policy,” wrote Lisa Lapin, University spokeswoman, in an email to The Daily. “Accordingly, there is no basis to support a ban from the Stanford campus.”

However, Stanford has not dropped all accusations of misconduct against Lonsdale.

“Because Mr. Lonsdale and Ms. Clougherty engaged in a relationship and did not disclose it as per Stanford’s Consensual Relationships policy, Mr. Lonsdale has agreed that he will not challenge the temporary mentoring and teaching suspension that was imposed,” Lapin continued.

In response to the original lawsuit, Lonsdale had filed a countersuit against Clougherty on June 5. Lonsdale denied any wrongdoing and claimed that Clougherty’s accusations were false and represented an angry ex-girlfriend’s attempts at defamation.

“The lawsuit is a vile collection of lies and a transparent attempt to destroy the reputation and good name of Joe Lonsdale,” wrote Kristen Dumont, a lawyer for Lonsdale, to TechCrunch.

In his personal statement written after the original lawsuit, Lonsdale further claimed that Stanford was pressured into investigating and punishing him because of the atmosphere around sexual assault on campus.

“Stanford has been in the spotlight in connection with its prior mishandling of on-campus sexual assault claims,” Lonsdale said. “Her [Clougherty’s] team of lawyers exploited this political climate to their benefit. Under this pressure from my ex-girlfriend and her lawyers, Stanford initiated a second investigation, dispensing from the outset with any pretense of fairness.”

In response to the recent developments, John Clune, one of the Clougherty’s lawyers for the case, had no comment other than to say, “The case has resolved,” in an email to The Daily on Monday.


Contact Sarah Wishingrad at swishing ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Sarah Wishingrad

Sarah Wishingrad '18 is a former Desk Editor for the University/Local beat. She is a History major from Los Angeles, California who loves politics, the waffles at Coupa, and all things Jane Austen. Ask her about her dog, Hamilton, at swishing 'at' stanford.edu.
  • happywhitelab

    It’s not enough to lift the ban: Stanford needs to apologize to Lonsdale. Stanford’s assumption of guilt without due process is shameful and wrong.

  • tn

    “Guilty until proven innocent” seems to be Stanford’s new mantra, at least in all matters concerning the r-word. Someone in the Title IX office should be punished for this.
    -undergrad ’16

  • james

    All it takes is unfounded accusations to get someone banned for 10 years. It sounds like there was never any real evidence to begin with. I think an apology at least is needed.

  • MR

    As someone who knows and respects the young woman, it’s beyond disappointing to see
    Stanford cave on the ban which Lonsdale both earned and deserved. Another win for Tech Giants who wield so much power in the Stanford community and administration.

  • zapf

    Emily Bazelon comments on this in NYT mag and reading the attached lawsuit makes me totally question the sanity of this girl and of Stanford for its “guilty till proven innocent” stance. Bazelon: http://tinyurl.com/obgm3mn lawsuit papers: http://joelonsdalestatement.com/

    Sure Stanford kisses up to the Tek Giants, however in relationships between adults (which both were at the time, she was over 21) it is fairly clear this girl was at the least immature, controlled by her mother and more than a bit nuts, the guy was naive to not question her mother´s overinvolvement and her serious psychiatric history, which included involuntary commitment (not an easy status to get these days).

    Stanford´s attorney was offered extensive, very revealing e-mail evidence which it did not consider in the original decision. If you want to extort a tech guy, best to not leave so much e-mail evidence to work against you! ZP ´78

  • Robert Riversong

    Instead of punishment, the Stanford Title IX administrator (and former chief attorney at the DOE’s Office of Civil Rights, which is responsible for the national witch-hunt against sexual offenders on campus) stepped down after a year on the job (in which she recommended that all men found responsible be expelled), and moved on to the same role at the University of Virginia – the school that was the national focus of a salacious (and entirely fictitious) gang rape story.

  • Robert Riversong

    If you let go of your personal prejudice and actually examine all the facts and evidence of this case, you would realize that Joe Lonsdale was the victim of a concerted and malicious libel concocted by Ellie Clougherty’s mother (who also victimized her own daughter for many years). Even Ellie’s best female friend turned evidence against her after Ellie’s mother asked her to perjure herself and lie about the relationship.

  • Robert Riversong

    This reversal is one of the very few examples of justice in the swamp of Title IX findings, almost always against men and based on very flimsy evidence and overbroad definitions of sexual misconduct.

    It’s too little too late for Joe Lonsdale, who had to file a counter-suit against Ellie Clougherty to get his side of the story in the public record. But it’s one of the few rays of light in a very dark period of Puritan Witch Hunts in the 21st century.

    For the full story on this relationship, Google “Two Over-Privileged Millennials Engage in Sex and Get F-cked”.

    For the backstory on this national witch-hunt: Google: “New Puritanism – New Paternalism: The “Rape Culture” Narrative Demeans Women, Demonizes Men, and Turns Universities into Witch Hunt Tribunals”.

  • Fraga123

    It’s nice that feminist Klanswomen can always find employment in America.

  • Fraga123

    To get A MALE banned for 10 years. TIFIFY.