Widgets Magazine

New York Times article criticizes Stanford’s sexual assault review process

Three out of five panelists reviewing a sexual assault case in 2015 determined that a football player sexually assaulted a female student. However, under the Alternate Review Process that mandated a supermajority of 4-to-1, the accused was not found guilty. The New York Times published an article today which argues that the University has now “changed its procedure in a way that victims rights advocates say favors the accused.”

The University implemented a new policy for investigating and adjudicating sexual assault cases, the Student Title IX Process, in February 2016. A Title IX Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices consisting of three professors and two students has been meeting for a year and will come out with an evaluation at the end of the pilot period in August 2018.

The old Alternate Review Process was piloted from 2010 to 2013 and then adopted through 2015. The Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices, composed of 18 faculty, staff, students and alumni, made the recommendation that expulsion should be the expected sanction for incidents of sexual assault, among other suggestions intended to guide the formation of a new policy.

Whereas the previous policy required a supermajority from a panel of five to determine guilt, the Student Title IX Process has a smaller panel of three and requires a unanimous finding of responsibility. The Times says this “stringent requirement” makes Stanford “an outlier among prestigious universities.”

The Times reports that the University has seen a nearly 86 percent increase in the number reported sexual assaults on or around campus from 2010 to 2015; that just 22 cases have reached the adjudication process and of those only panels for 13 have found the accused guilty to some extent; and that just one student has been expelled on the grounds of sexual assault since 2014.

The University released a statement disputing information in the Times article this afternoon, saying, “The story is based on one side of a single case, provides an incomplete assessment of our efforts and contains many inaccuracies.”

The statement continues, “Stanford holds students accountable. We have worked since 2010 to refine and strengthen the university’s judicial process for these cases, in consultation with faculty and students. Stanford has expelled four students for sexual assault since 2014. In 2016 alone, Stanford had 16 Title IX cases that were charged, including for sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment, and found 13 people responsible — 81 percent — including one who was expelled.”

Stephanie Pham ’18, co-founder of Stanford Association of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) spoke with The Daily, following up on her quote in the Times article.

“Despite faculty and students highlighting major flaws such as the supermajority requirement in Stanford’s current policy, the University has once again chosen to ignore those opinions and silence survivors,” Pham said. “Our current policy does not effectively hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.”

Likewise, law professor Michele Dauber said she could not comment on the specifics of the case that appeared in the Times, but she also criticized the University’s supermajority rule.

“The main point is that Stanford could definitely have (and should have) a rule that if the victim receives 2/3 votes she can have a no contact directive,” Dauber wrote to The Daily. “Regardless of whether or not he is suspended or expelled, to say that the accused student can just come in her dorm and basically hang out outside her door if he wants after she receives a majority of votes makes no sense. The idea that the accused student could somehow sue the university over that is pure nonsense.”

Fellow ASAP co-founder Matthew Baiza ’18 added that he was troubled particularly by Provost John Etchemendy’s comments in the article: “Imagine a senior, who has paid four years of Stanford tuition,” Etchemendy told the Times. “Being expelled is really a life-changing punishment. I think we as an institution have a duty to take that very seriously.”.

“I think it’s clear-cut evidence that our University has the wrong priorities,” Baiza said. “A survivor’s well-being and mental health is absolutely and always worth more than a Stanford education, as much as it is glorified to be.”

Baiza also took issue with the sexual assault adjudication process, which he believes requires too high a standard of evidence. Baiza argued that the unanimous 3-0 decision required for a finding of responsibility makes it too difficult to hold most perpetrators accountable apart from “the most blatant and obvious incidence of assault.”

Professor David Palumbo-Liu, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Comparative Literature and one of the professors who released a letter outlining concerns with the Student Title IX Process, expanded on his comment to the Times regarding the faculty’s role in reforming sexual assault review policies.

“Faculty can step up and press to change the culture of violence by way of education, and I do not mean ancillary efforts,” he said. “I have long been an advocate for having us use our incredible educational resources to highlight how sexual violence, and other forms of violence, are engendered and sustained, consciously or no. I think it should be part of every student’s educational experience to be exposed to these ideas in a serious way.”

The Advisory Committee on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices is reviewing suggestions and comments on the pilot Student Title IX Process for the investigation and adjudication of Title IX cases through this form.


Contact Rebecca Aydin at raydin ‘at’ stanford.edu.

About Rebecca Aydin

Rebecca Aydin, a writer for the University/Local beat and a senior hailing from NYC, is pursuing a major in English and a minor in Psychology. She has written for the Chicago Tribune and Worldcrunch, a digital news magazine based in Paris. On campus, she is the editor-in-chief of MINT style and culture magazine. This is her fourth year writing for The Stanford Daily. Contact her at raydin ‘at’ stanford.edu.
  • jason

    So what IS considered sufficient by ASAP and associates? A court of law requires a unanimous decision before conviction because the justice system operates on the premise of “innocent until proven guilty.” We already make it easier to convict then that, so what more do they want? They never specify their specific goal which I find particularly concerning–they seem very attached to ideology that not enough is being done, rather than actually trying to find the optimal solution. Though maybe that is driving towards the solution: crucifying any and all who have charges brought against them. I see no problems with that…

  • Mercy G

    Just because you are not familiar with the specific goals of those working to prevent campus sexual assault and to bring perps to some semblance of justice, does not mean that the work has not already been done several times over.

  • Joe Citizen

    Let’s be honest, the advocates who are repeatedly quoted in these articles will not be satisfied with anything less than ending all due process for accused men.
    In the recent past, they’ve been very successful at getting precisely that – they took away all meaningful due process rights – but now there is a big backlash against that, AND the abused male students are going to courts to get justice.

    There is a very simple solution to this which would ensure both due process and get the schools mostly out of the impossible task of policing sex on campus –
    For alleged misconduct which would not rise to the level of a felony, but would rise above minor discipline, the action should be a lawsuit by Stanford to expel the alleged bad guy – civil court, all the same rules apply.
    For all forms of sexual misconduct which could be a felony under state law, those should be dealt with ONLY by the police – no student discipline, no civil actions, at all – ZERO – if you can’t convict the guy, he’s home free- just like the rest of society –
    Leaving the schools with only being able, in their own kangaroo court system, which will always be a kangaroo court system – always, because the activists will never let a fair system alone – only able to give at most a short term suspension – one term maximum, and a stay away order.

  • Joe Citizen

    I also wanted to point out, the NYT article sounds barely worth writing, much less reading or republishing – from the quotes I find out the rape lobby wants it to be easier to do harm to accused men – jeez, let not one say investigative journalism is dying as long as we have stuff like that come out of NYT and the Daily.

    The good news is, first there never was a rape crisis on campus, campus is very safe if you don’t drink yourself into a stupor around a bunch of strangers – and second, Donald Trump will quietly change all the zealots in the DOE OCR office = the Title IX monsters – so that the schools will no longer get any pressure from the Feds to enforce any of this – and he will probably get to replace a few hundred Federal judges and probably two or three SCOTUS people – seems a bit much to call someone a “Justice” – but anyway, that will take care of this problem for a few decades hopefully.

  • jason

    My point is that this article makes no point to justify such measures beyond emotional appeal to not making it easier for perpetrators to get away. Unfortunately, that’s not how the justice system works. I’m sure someone has thought to make their points more concrete, but when I read, “the unanimous 3-0 decision required for a finding of responsibility makes it too difficult to hold most perpetrators accountable apart from ‘the most blatant and obvious incidence of assault,'” I find such an statement concerning since anything OTHER than that violates basic principles of American civil liberties.

  • baycommuter

    Yeah, I found the NYT article biased in favor of the side that gave them the story. Notice that Michele Dauber is quoted in a way that doesn’t put her fingerprints on it.

  • Mercy G

    It’s a news article, not a policy paper. And if you have a problem with campuses holding trials for rapists, take it up with the Clery Act and Title IX. There’s no clean way to adjudicate whether a rapist gets to stay on campus with his victim, but at this point almost all rights in the process accrue to the accused rapist. You can stop worrying about all the rapists because they very rarely receive any kind of punishment, much less one that fits their crimes.

  • Mercy G

    God forbid anyone sides with a rape victim, right?

  • Mercy G

    MRA shitbirds all over this article.

  • Joe Citizen

    I seriously recommend you go read the NYT article this article piggybacks on – what it tells us is, the woman who accused the football player could not even get a restraining order against him – if you don’t know, restraining orders are given out like water by the California courts – and Santa Clara County may be one of the easiest places to get one – clearly extremely feminist – but, she could not get one – the article also says she was not willing to present her claims to the police – did not want to go that route – now, I am not a Daily reporter, but I suggest to you, a good REPORTER could have easily identified the people involved and interviewed them to find out why the woman did not go to the police, and why she could not even get an RO. But, she did not do that – seemingly did not do any actual investigation – but rather repeated, with an implicit endorsement, claims made by some people unhappy with the process. If the headline had simply said, “Rape lobby unhappy with due process given accused men” and nothing else, the article would have made it’s point, which is to imply, without actually backing it up with any facts, that the process is unfair to women.
    You have to expect that “MRA shitbirds” are going to feel provoked by this propaganda and react to it.
    But,, why are MRA shitbirds so angry about these issues? – that’s the important question which I will answer for you, at least in my own case – I’ve been personally subjected to severe abuse by the California legal system which denies due process to men – maybe you assume

  • Joe Citizen

    Maybe you assume MRAs want to just be passively aggressive or don’t want women to have full equality, got issues with their mothers, want to be sexually predatory – who knows what – and doubtless these apply to some MRAs – but in my own case, and, as time goes by, more and more men – we got badly screwed by a very, very biased system, which does not allow men to defend themselves against false accusations – which specifically removes many ancient and universal due process protections from us. If it’s “shitbirding” to complain about denial of due process then expect a lot more bird poop in the future.

  • anonymous

    Exactly what I thought! How can any one be more evil than Michele Dauber. Shame on her to take a full salary from a University and at the same time try to kill it.

  • Mercy G

    “I’ve been personally subjected to severe abuse by the California legal system which denies due process to men”

    So you are a rapist who received too lenient a punishment – as evidenced by the fact that you are typing freely away on the internet right now – and you want to secure not just freedom for other rapists, but ensure that rape victims don’t even have the ability to properly bring charges so you can’t be inconveniced by accusations of your own rapey behavior.

    And then you wonder aloud why I use the phrase MRA shitbirds.


  • anonymous

    A boy and a girl go to a frat party, get drunk and somehow get back to the room. Both have a hook-up in the drunken stage. Next day, both wake up and realize what happened the night before. Girl calls the University hot line next day. Girl becomes a victim and a sexual survivor and the boy becomes a rapist. Teach me Stephani Pham and Matthew Baiza, what should the University do at this point?

  • Joe Citizen

    Now, I have to ask – did you actually get admitted to Stanford? I understand grades and IQ surrogate testing is important, but what about some kind of test for logic or at least rationality? I did not even say I got abused by the so-called criminal justice system – you’re aware there is a civil legal system., right? My personal opinion is, the civil system abuses men far worse – though the California legislature is very happy to take due process away from men in criminal courts, the US Constitution has not allowed them to go as far as they would like – and personally, I believe false accusations in criminal courts are far less common than in civil courts, because it’s far more likely the woman has a motive to lie in civil courts – lying about domestic violence can give the woman the kids forever and give her the house until the divorce is resolved and put her way ahead in divorce proceedings – the guy is kicked out, having to rent somewhere, pending resolution, because the woman makes false domestic violence accusations and gets and RO to get him kicked out of his own home – this is probably by far the most common type of abuse by women of men in the legal system, and the one most encouraged by the laws which deny men most traditional due process in the proceeding.
    No, I never got accused of rape and got off easy – haven’t you folks ever heard of Ruffies? Keep a handful of powdered Ruffies handy and there won’t be any accusations.

  • Jerry Vandesic

    With regard to Title IX, it will be interesting to see what happens with the new administration in Washington. The 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter from the Office for Civil Rights might be changed or rescinded. This could have a large impact, in particular in the area of of evidentiary standards; the letter called for for the less stringent “preponderance of the evidence” (aka 51%) standard but some argue for “beyond a reasonable doubt.” A return to the stricter standard would touch on one of the key themes from the NYT article, i.e., how much evidence is required to punish a student for violating Title IX.

  • Cotton Mather

    Stanford must report all criminal acts to the Palo Alto police who are the best trained to obtain evidence and ascertain the facts, whether or not the accuser wishes to avoid the hassles of dealing with the criminal justice system. Due process is a fundamental right, no matter what Baiza, Pham or Dauber seem to think! And, finally, Stanford Daily would do us all a favor in obtaining the full text of Etchemendy’s comment reported in the NYT. Given that the article belongs to the Sabrina Erdeley school of journalism, this quote appears to be taken well out of context.

  • Joe Citizen

    The problem with Michele Dauber is not that she’s siding with rape victims – it’s that she’s extremely dishonest -I lived in Berkeley for years – I am well aware of the intellectual dishonesty of many of these social justice academics -but typically it’s a refusal to deal with hard facts that don’t fit their utopian dreams – well intended wishful thinking – but Dauber is a nasty piece of work, willing to tell vicious lies against Persky for example – that his acceptance of a plea bargain that gave a Latino man a far worse sentence than Turner was proof he’s racist – but the Latino was convicted of a different crime, with an iron clad case, no passed out “victim” who could not say what had happened, but a fully conscious one who said it was completely non-consensual – but most of all, Persky accepted a plea bargain which he had NO choice but to take under the law – NONE – because the sentence was mandatory – but Dauber has tried to turn that into proof he was racist against the Latino man – she knows this is completely untrue, but figures it will help the recall effort and so puts it out anyway – a vicious nasty unethical person – a person who fundamentally has no sense of decency or fair play, at least in regards to her cause – a monster really.

  • Joe Citizen

    It should be pointed out, the headline to this article seems misleading – the article does not back up it’s claim that NYT criticized Stanford’s process, rather it quotes NYT as saying the school has “now changed it’s procedure in a way VICTIM”S RIGHT ADVOCATES SAY favors the accused”.
    So, the headline implies the NYT itself – meaning at least one editor I presume, – criticized Stanford’s new procedures – but then it turns out NYT only reported others had criticized it.

    I hope this was just bad writing and not intentional, but in any case, she should go fix the headline – or respond to this comment.

  • anonymous

    I am very surprised that the daily chose to interview Prof David Palumbo-Liu. Isn’t he the one who sent his students to block San Mateo bridge which caused numerous accidents and left a child brain damaged? Didn’t Stanford get sued by that child’s parents for multi-million dollars? How is he still teaching at Stanford?
    The Stanford Review article about the San Mateo bridge incident:

  • Mercy G

    The disgusting way in which you put the term victim in scare quotes says it all. She is a SURVIVOR, much you would care about that.

    Gentlemen thank you for joining the discussion on what constitutes rape of a woman. We see you and find you infinitely more repulsive than you can possibly imagine.

    Thanks for playing on the topic of rape with your fake handles too, gentlemen. Screams credibility.


  • Mercy G

    I really don’t know how someone with a fake handle thinks he’s going to question my credentials. Lol, idiot.

  • Mercy G

    What evidence do you have of it’s being taken out of context other than wishful thinking?

    Wretched username, by the way.

  • Mercy G

    If you want to write laws, maybe take your bigoted butt over and register to run for office. Otherwise your distorted opinions about due process are nothing but manbaby tears and wishful thinking.

    Enjoy paying your alimony and playing on the internet, Citizen Turd.

  • Joe Citizen

    None of your little hissy fit is worth responding to, but how is my handle “fake”? I don’t get it. No, Joe Citizen is not my real name. Not even the first part, but I think everyone knew that already. What do you mean by fake? I honestly don’t know I am not really social media literate.
    Sheez, you need to calm down a bit and get some happy feelings. There is no rape epidemic on campus – there are always individuals who will take advantage, you might get their willingness to take the chance of being caught and punished down with all these unconstitutional actions but it’s just too much – instead, the fair thing to do is keep proof beyond a reasonable doubt as the standard.

    You have to try to see that false accusations are being highly incentivized – at least in civil courts – the old claims that false accusations are rare is mostly based on studies from the times before a woman was rewarded so much for making them.

    Anyway, if you’ve personally been hurt, look at that and think about who is really responsible, not some abstract change the whole world political movement.

  • Joe Citizen

    Can you actually respond to what I said about Dauber being so dishonest, and presenting the case of the Latino man as proof of Persky’s racism? Is there ANY fact on your side in that? Did I misrepresent anything at all in calling her a liar?

  • Mercy G

    “I don’t get it.”

    That’s painfully obvious.

    Also characterizing my arguments as a hissy fit doesn’t make you right.

  • Joe Citizen

    Dude, you did not make any arguments – you just spouted off, largely with stuff you made up/assumed, that was mostly wrong. If you actually have an arguments to make, please, out with them. You’re not into making arguments as best I can tell, just assertions.

  • Joe Citizen

    Thanks for the link, I am going to read more online. I notice that Dauber and Palumbo-Liu are the only professors in these Daily Title IX articles. No other professors seem to have the same complaints.

  • Mary Gilmore

    I am a female, a mother, a lawyer and a survivor of assault at gun point. I voted for Hillary.

    Stanford Law School faculty should be up in arms with the University’s Title IX policy, and prove itself to be truly the No. 1 Law School in the country. Harvard Law School’s professors have uniformly condemned the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) letter reducing the burden of proof to 50% and a feather, for a charge of sexual misconduct and/or assault. Obama’s use of ” significant guidance documents” to change the burden of proof, was brazen and eroded the way our country has been governed since the New Deal with the Administrative Procedure Act and the requirement of notice and comment from all parties involved. Hopefully, the Trump Administration will not only eradicate the “guidance” letters of the Obama administration, but return us to the normal process of requiring new substantive regulations to go through a public hearing process. (I never thought I would see a silver lining with Trump, but in the TItle IX context, I clearly see it.)

    Readers should be concerned about Stanford’s Title IX procedures. The accuser never makes a statement under oath. There are no consequences for bringing false charges. The investigators and the hearing officers are amateurs. The President’s office completely misrepresents itself when it allows official statements to issue that say that actions are not taken against the accused without a finding of misconduct. Not so. Once a charge is made, the accused is immediately removed from his dorm to an off campus location, his post office address is changed, his parking is changed, his ability to walk to class is limited, he has no ability to socialize on campus even for Club meetings, he cannot use cafeterias, he has no use of the gyms, he is not able to attend extracurricular activities on campus except by explicit approval of the Title IX office. All this is done ex parte, without findings, in the name of protecting the victim. It is over the top, and it lasts for weeks and months. The School should, and could, wrap the alleged victim in protection by giving her a security guard, and putting a no contact provision in place which, if violated by the accused, results in punishment like being forced from his housing immediately. On balance, the University has chosen to discriminate in favor of the accuser, and not take the least restrictive action. The accused is not given the accuser’s statement before he must make a statement and identify witnesses. If the charge is made weeks or months after the fact, most exculpatory evidence is lost, and it is hard to put together a defense without seeing the details of the accusations. The Title IX investigator does not interview everyone on the accused’s list.There is no right to confront the accuser, or to cross-examine. There is no right to independently investigate the accuser’s motivations, and in fact the School warns the accused that if such an investigation is done, and the University finds out, there will be a negative inference and consequences; this instills a fear of the consequence that is so great that most accused’s do not do an investigation of the accuser. At the hearing, the accused’s attorney is not allowed to ask questions, but must sit quietly. While the accused can submit questions for the accuser, the hearing officer may choose not to ask them. While Stanford provides up to 9 hours of free legal counsel to the accused, the counsel are pre-designated on an “approved” list, so the counsel have agreed to the “no private investigation piece”, and the fiscally poor male college student is at a tremendous disadvantage over the one with some affluence who can hire truly independent counsel and start planning the collateral potential criminal case, and later civil case against the school for a better solution.

    Women DO make false claims. I am in family court a lot. Some women use the abuse court process improperly to gain an advantage over the male. The percentage is probably higher than 20%, but it is at least that. Ex parte abuse orders are typically reviewed with a due process hearing within a week, and the male sees the full statement in advance of the hearing. There is often a collateral benefit to be gained in these kinds of legal proceedings. Here, in the Title IX context, there are also advantages to be gained. Maybe the accuser wants to make a former boyfriend jealous, maybe they have morning-after regrets, and maybe they are personality disturbed, i.e., borderline personality disordered—they do exist and they do go to Stanford. Without a thorough background check or an interview with a skilled forensic investigator, these issues will not ever come to light.

    Then again, some accusers do not want the dire consequences that follow from Stanford’s policy, and Obama’s “Dear Colleague Letter.” They want an informal restraining order or mediated agreement, and now mediated agreements (mediation doesn’t have to happen face to face, but can be facilitated by a third party) are prohibited. What the accused has set in motion cannot be controlled by them anymore.

    Lastly, there are the rapes. Rapists should be charged criminally and they should go to jail. Consensual sex, when both are intoxicated, should not be the fault of the male any more than the fault of the female.

    Lastly, why would a Stanford have a Title IX office that is staffed almost exclusively by women, assuming they want to present an image of fairness? Research based science demonstrates that having a cross section of liberal, conservative, black, white, male and female makes for best success in proving the truth.

    Lastly, where is Stanford in suing the female student who disclosed hundreds of pages to the NYTimes in violation of the policy which protects confidential information exchanged in the process? The football player was a third party beneficiary of that agreement and is deserving of protection by the School. Clearly, the accuser had some bad facts on her side and thus the split panel. The reporter could have conveyed those facts, but wanted to slam football and make a political statement on Title IX.

    In sum, sexual assault accusations are close to being permanently branded. More accused’s need to organize and put a face to this problem. They can join FIRE.org. More schools need to challenge Office of Civil RIghts over its obvious APA violations, they can reject the federal money, and join schools like Oklahoma Wesleyan University in being a leader on this issue.

  • Robert Louis Pagnani

    Let me put it to you another way.
    Why should we care about the rights of an accused rapist?

    Going to college is a privilege. Not being raped is a right.
    Honestly, I fail to see the need of any kind of adjudication or committee to hold a court.

    An accusation should result in an immediate expulsion and transfer to police. And that student should be barred from campus until not only acquitted, but also until/unless the university is satisfied he is 100% innocent.

    I think it would send a strong message to guys: “We don’t fool around. If you get accused of rape, you’ll get turned over to the police, and regardless of the outcome of the case in the judicial realm, it is most likely you will never see this campus again.”

    And of course it should go on his transcripts that this what he stands accused of.

    Universities have the right to decide who goes there and who does not. With the availability of online classes, I wouldn’t even have a problem with a universal ban from all brick and mortar universities for students accused of sexual assault, regardless of the outcome of the case. I suppose, in the rare case it could be proven a false accusation, the student could appeal the ban.

    Does it sound a little draconian? Yes.

    But I can guarantee, the university where an accusation would trigger a chain of events that would have the perp marched off the campus in a pair of cuffs; the rate of sexual assault on that campus would go down like a fat kid on a see saw.

    Might there be a possibility somebody might get falsely accused? Perhaps. A slight one. But you have to remember how many rapists who actually did it are walking free. Sucks to be him. Perhaps he should have thought of that before he put himself in that position. A few nights in jail never killed anybody.

    This is a serious problem and it needs a serious and swift response. We can’t worry about the rights of rapists.