Provost issues annual report on Title IX, sexual harassment cases
In a letter to the Stanford community, Provost Persis Drell releases a new report on cases of prohibited sexual conduct involving students, staff and faculty during the 2017–18 academic year.
Dear Stanford community,
Today I am releasing Stanford University’s second annual Title IX/Sexual Harassment Report, which provides information about reports of prohibited sexual conduct involving students, faculty and staff over the previous academic year (Sept. 1, 2017, to Aug. 31, 2018).
The report also outlines the ways in which the university responded to reported concerns of sexual harassment, sexual violence and other unwanted sexual conduct on our campus and in all programs and activities connected to Stanford. To respect the privacy of affected individuals, the data are presented without revealing details about particular cases.
The 2017–18 Title IX/Sexual Harassment Report was prepared by our Office of Institutional Equity and Access and is for your review. The data in the report were compiled from reports collected by the Title IX Office and the Sexual Harassment Policy Office.
I am sharing this report in order to provide the Stanford community with information to assess where we stand today on this issue and, over time, to determine how we continue to address prohibited sexual conduct. Publishing an annual report is one of the efforts that we are making as a community to hold ourselves accountable on this issue. Our first report, which covered the 2016–17 academic year, was released in February 2018. We now hope to stay on a regular annual schedule of reporting out the previous year’s data.
Incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence can have significant and long-lasting impacts on the individuals who experience them. As a community, it’s critical that we have honest and open conversations about conduct and voice the expectations we have for how we should treat one another. It’s imperative that we do all we can to create a campus culture free of sexual violence and all other unwanted sexual behavior.
I hope that this report encourages anyone experiencing unwanted sexual conduct to come forward so that the concern can be addressed. If you or anyone you know needs support related to sexual violence, or if you are seeking additional information about our resources and policies, please visit our Sexual Violence Support & Resources website.
A few thoughts about this year’s report:
Alcohol and drugs. In many instances, we do not have enough information to know if drugs or alcohol were involved in the reported incidents. However, we do know that in approximately 65 percent of student cases involving nonconsensual intercourse or nonconsensual touching, alcohol and/or drugs were used during or prior to an incident.
Segments of the population. Nationally, there has been speculation about whether certain segments of the undergraduate population may have increased involvement in incidents of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. For example, some have raised questions regarding whether male varsity athletes are more likely to be involved compared with other students. In 2017–18, the percentage of reports involving male athletes was slightly lower than the overall population of varsity male athletes on campus.
Similarly, concerns also have been raised about the number of incidents involving members of fraternities and sororities. We do not have enough information to report in this area; however, we will continue to work through the data to determine whether concerns about other populations are justified at Stanford.
Terminology. Section 5 of the report contains definitions for understanding the categories of unwanted conduct and the terms used for the outcomes of the reported incidents. For example, a non-hearing resolution is an outcome that is suggested by the Title IX coordinator and agreed upon by both parties. A non-hearing resolution is only available if both parties desire one; a panel hearing will take place if that is what either prefers. A non-hearing resolution is not forced arbitration. This is an important distinction to make in light of recent news about forced arbitration practices at some companies.
Underreporting. From national statistics regarding the reporting of sexual violence and sexual harassment, we can assume that the actual numbers of incidents of prohibited sexual conduct at Stanford are probably greater than are being reported to us. There are many reasons for this, such as fear of not being believed or of retaliation.
I want to reiterate that if you have experienced wrongful sexual contact or have any concerns, there are resources and support for you. There are many people at Stanford who are committed to helping students, faculty and staff with this very serious issue. For more information, visit our Sexual Violence Support & Resources website.
Education and prevention efforts
As part of our efforts to combat sexual harassment and sexual violence, Stanford offers many education and outreach programs, which are highlighted in Section 4 of the report.
Over the last several years, we’ve worked diligently to bolster our programs, policies and processes to prevent and respond effectively to sexual violence. We fully intend to continue those efforts and to build on them as needed.
There has been a much-needed national spotlight on sexual violence and sexual harassment. This difficult issue continues to have the highest attention of both the president and me. It’s clear that we still have more work to do here at Stanford. I appreciate your efforts and welcome your thoughts.