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Stanford Report, April 21, 1999

Remarks by President Casper

Prepared for the Academic Senate, April 15, 1999

On April 7, I received a petition sponsored by the Stanford Citizen's Initiative regarding the proposed housing developments on campus. It was signed by 467 individuals, not counting those who signed anonymously, representing roughly one-third of the campus leaseholders. I was asked to forward this petition to the Board of Trustees, which I did immediately.

The Board discussed the issue at its meeting on Tuesday of this week and arrived at the following conclusions:

The Board of Trustees has carefully considered the concerns of the leaseholders in its discussion of the use of Stanford lands. We are convinced that housing has become one of the most critical factors to ensure the continued academic excellence of the university in the future. While we recognize the need for careful balancing of the interests of current leaseholders and young faculty, we also feel a sense of urgency to make progress on this issue. Specifically, we should like to make the following points.

1. The Trustees hold Stanford assets in trust, not only for the present, but in perpetuity for all generations to come.

2. The Founding Grant specifically instructs the Trustees to make Stanford land available for faculty housing.

3. While we are sensitive to the concerns of current leaseholders, we have an obligation to balance the interests of all faculty members–those already on campus and those for whom places would be desirable in the future.

4. We are deeply concerned that an internal University conflict and a matter for internal University governance is being referred for resolution to outside agencies whose intrusion can only be harmful to the long-term interests of all faculty and students.

I had originally stated my intention to come to a decision about the housing proposals by the end of March. I awaited the Board of Trustee's discussion, particularly in light of the petition and the ongoing controversy about the proposals. I also wanted to allow the Provost's Housing Task Force, representing both leaseholders and the University staff, to have time to complete its analysis of the proposals.

I have been informed by Dean Paul Brest and Professor Jim Sweeney, the co-chairs of the Task Force, that more time is needed to complete this analysis. I will therefore ask that the Task Force continue its work for a few more weeks. It remains my goal to come to a decision on the proposals during this academic quarter. SR