Information on lawsuit by family of Eitan Weiner

Stanford was saddened to receive news of a lawsuit brought by the family of Eitan Weiner. Our community continues to mourn Eitan’s tragic death in January 2020, and we have great sympathy for his family and those affected by his death.

Out of respect for Eitan’s parents, who are valued employees, the university is not addressing the specifics of each claim in the lawsuit nor elaborating on the chain of events that occurred. However, the university disagrees with many of the allegations in the complaint and will defend itself against the lawsuit.

Though the university is not commenting in detail on the lawsuit, those reading about it may understandably have questions about Stanford’s efforts to combat drug and alcohol misuse on campus. The following information aims to provide additional context.

Our commitment and response

Stanford is deeply committed to student safety, and we continually update our policies and procedures to support the well-being of our students. Our alcohol and drug policies are supported by extensive programs that aim to educate students about substance use and curb high-risk student behaviors. More on these efforts, including recent new efforts, are below.

In our community, there is nothing worse than the death of a student. It is a devastating occurrence that profoundly affects us all. However, criticisms of the actions of our professional staff, in this case, are unfounded; their actions were timely and reasonable based on the information they had at the time. In addition, it is not accurate that Stanford failed to take appropriate actions following Eitan’s death.

After the initial criminal investigation concluded, Stanford undertook its own comprehensive investigation, which resulted in removing university recognition of the Theta Delta Chi chapter. The fraternity is no longer active at Stanford. Whether and when the fraternity can ask to return to Stanford, and under what conditions, has not yet been decided, pending receipt of any new information that may be revealed during the ongoing criminal proceedings against the individual (not affiliated with Stanford) who provided the controlled substance to Eitan.

We also continue working to inform students about the dangers of substance abuse. Among those efforts, as an example, the university in 2019 posted on the Student Affairs website a county warning about counterfeit drugs being laced with fentanyl. And, in the days following Eitan’s death, when the circumstances of his death became clear, the university sent a notice to all students regarding the dangers of counterfeit drugs.

More on our work to combat drug and alcohol misuse

Preventing and responding effectively to substance abuse is a priority for universities across the country. At Stanford, we are working continually to learn from experience and to improve our practices in this challenging area of student behavior. Stanford has had long-standing efforts, as well as more recent efforts undertaken since Eitan’s death, to enhance campus culture and strengthen policies.

  • Education, training and support: Stanford has long required all incoming students to complete a drug and alcohol abuse prevention program prior to matriculation. All residential staff are trained on alcohol and drug education and emergency response. We update our training program frequently to reflect the most up-to-date information and research. We also started a naloxone (Narcan) and opioid educational training on campus using Santa Clara County’s Opioid Overdose Prevention Project curriculum. Nearly 300 student Resident Assistants and Greek chapter leaders have been trained in the program, which continues to expand across campus through a new peer education program. We also are providing additional funding and support for substance-free social events on campus, and we have launched the Well House substance-free community. More information on these efforts is available here and here.
  • Updated policies: Last fall we introduced an updated alcohol and drug policy that updates our accountability framework around alcohol and drug use. It contains Good Samaritan provisions to encourage students who witness dangerous situations with alcohol and other drugs to seek help without fear of disciplinary action, and it highlights alcohol and drug resources available to support student well-being.
  • External review: In addition, as we announced in December, the university is now engaging outside experts to conduct an external review of our approaches to combatting student alcohol and drug misuse. We hope to learn more about where we are being effective and where we need to further evolve our approaches.

At Stanford, we are steadfastly committed to supporting the health and well-being of students, and will continue to apply what we learn, including through Eitan’s tragic death, to help prevent the misuse of alcohol and drugs. More on our recent efforts is available here, and we will continue to be in touch with students on these important issues.