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CONTACT: Lisa Trei, News Service (415) 725-0224

Suzanna Mak named university's first judicial officer

A Stanford alumna who earned her law degree from Santa Clara University has been hired as the university's first judicial officer, Dean of Students Marc Wais has announced.

Suzanna Mak, a 1990 graduate in East Asian studies, will serve as the university's principal investigator in cases in which a complaint has been filed concerning an alleged violation of the Honor Code, Fundamental Standard or other university student conduct policy. In her full-time position, Mak also will present evidence at judicial hearings, and be responsible for community outreach, education and enforcement of university sanctions.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to shape this position," Wais says. "[Mak] knows Stanford and she's excited about coming back."

Mak has been a deputy district attorney in San Mateo County since 1994. For the last year, she has worked at the Police Academy, South Bay Regional Training Consortium in San Mateo, teaching laws of arrest, search and seizure, and courtroom demeanor. Before working for the San Mateo District Attorney, Mak clerked at law offices in Menlo Park and Laguna Hills. She is a resident of San Carlos.

As an undergraduate, Mak was an appointee to the university's task force on sexual assault. She also founded the Athlete's Fund for the Individual Recognition of Excellence and created the Project Heighten Education on Acquaintance Rape. Her activities on campus led her to receive the J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for Public Service and the James W. Lyons Award for Service.

Mak was selected from 35 applicants for the new position, which starts Jan. 12. "She brings to the job a great knowledge of the judicial process," Wais says. "She has a solid understanding of how the judicial process within higher education is basically an educational process for students. She's very articulate, energetic and dynamic."

The position of judicial officer was created in response to changes in the campus Judicial Charter, which went into effect Jan. 1.

The new position reflects an attempt to avoid possible conflict of interest in Honor Code violation hearings, a fault that was identified in the former judicial policy implemented in 1968. Under the university's old policy, a single administrator served as both the investigator of alleged Honor Code violations and as adviser to the accused student.

In the new system, the duties of advising and investigating have been divided. Jennifer Perkins, as judicial adviser, will offer advice to students about the judicial process in general. Mak, as judicial officer, will conduct investigations. She will report directly to Wais.

When a complaint is filed alleging a violation of the Honor Code or Fundamental Stanford, Mak will investigate all complaints, meet with concerned parties and gather relevant evidence. She also will decide whether there is sufficient evidence to support formal charges against the accused student and present those charges at a hearing.


By Lisa Trei

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