Resources for campus events, safety, and well-being
October 30, 2023
If you are not feeling safe, you are encouraged to reach out for help
- For emergency assistance, call 911 or 9‑911 from a campus phone
- Report a non-emergency crime or potential hazard to law enforcement at (650) 329‑2413
- To request a threat assessment for a concerning situation that does not present an imminent threat of harm, contact the Threat Assessment Team at http://safety.stanford.edu
- To report an act of Antisemitism occuring outside academic engagement (academic engagement includes any pedagogical, research and/or educational activities), file a Protected Identity Harm report
- To report an act of Islamophobia occuring outside academic engagement (academic engagement includes any pedagogical, research and/or educational activities), file a Protected Identity Harm report
- To report an act of Antisemitism or Islamophobia occuring in an academic setting (any pedagogical, research, and/or educational activities), contact the relevant school dean’s office.
- For student mental health care, call CAPS at (650) 723‑3785 or TimelyCare
- For faculty or staff mental health care, call (650) 723‑4577 or email email@example.com
- For support in student residences, reach out to your residential staff: RAs, RFs, resident directors, CAs, GLO deans
- Understanding the rules around campus speech
- Campus safety resources
- Support for well-being
- Engaging safely in campus activism
Understanding the rules around campus speech
The exchange of differing viewpoints is fundamental to life in an academic community. Stanford’s policy on Academic Freedom, adopted by the Faculty Senate in 1974, provides: “Stanford University’s central functions of teaching, learning, research, and scholarship depend upon an atmosphere in which freedom of inquiry, thought, expression, publication, and peaceable assembly are given the fullest protection. Expression of the widest range of viewpoints should be encouraged, free from institutional orthodoxy and from internal or external coercion.”
In addition, as a private university in California, Stanford is subject to the Leonard Law, which prohibits the university from punishing students for speech that is protected under the First Amendment.
This piece – “Freedom of Speech and the Fundamental Standard” – on the Stanford website provides specific examples of protected and unprotected speech. Most speech is protected under the First Amendment – even hateful and offensive speech. There is a very high legal bar for speech (such as threats, harassment and incitement to violence) to be considered unprotected by the First Amendment. For instance, some speech may feel threatening to those listening, but it typically must establish a credible threat of violence directed at a specific individual to be considered unprotected. Scroll down to the “What are Some Examples of Unprotected Speech?” section on the above website for more information.
We are particularly concerned about language that could be understood as calling for violence. Even when such language does not meet the legal threshold for threats or incitement, it causes fear and concern. When emotions are high, words can escalate into action. This is particularly so in the case of calls for violence on the basis of Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate, which are incompatible with Stanford’s values. Even when protected by the First Amendment, such calls for hate-based violence are morally repugnant. More generally, we urge members of our community to avoid escalating interpersonal confrontations; even when they do not cross a legal line or spill over into violence, shouting and name calling between individuals falls well short of our aspirations as a community. We urge all members of the campus community to be mindful and responsible in the exercise of their free speech rights.
We have resources and support available for those negatively impacted by speech on campus. Please reach out to the resources listed above on this page. This allows the university to provide support to you, and to review the specifics of the situation in the context of the law and university policy.
As Stanford’s president and provost have said, “our aspiration as a community is for respectful and substantive discourse.” That aspiration involves engaging with one another in ways that convey respect, that recognize each other’s humanity despite our differing views, and that contemplate the fact that our words can be received in ways we don’t intend. We encourage thoughtful discussions in this difficult time. Stanford stands firmly against Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hatred on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity.
Campus safety resources
- The Department of Public Safety and the university’s Threat Assessment Team are working continually to monitor the campus security situation, receive updates from state and federal law enforcement partners, and respond to and assess safety concerns brought to their attention.
- DPS has worked in collaboration with centers on campus, including Hillel and the Markaz, to ensure that their particular security needs are addressed.
- At the request of event organizers DPS has been present, or done spot checks, at campus events and facilities to provide security support. DPS also has met with various groups of community members to discuss safety and security, and to facilitate communication between the groups and DPS.
- DPS also is working to respond to and investigate individual concerns reported to law enforcement.
- Stanford’s regular public safety resources continue to be available to our students as well as the campus community as a whole, including resources to immediately connect with emergency assistance whenever needed on campus – including the blue-light tower system and the SafeZone app.
Support for well-being
Student Affairs and partners across campus have been working to respond to and provide support for every student who has reached out with a concern. This work includes coordinating with campus organizations to stay informed, provide support resources, and coordinate around events to support community safety.
The Protected Identity Harm Reporting process remains available, and students have been using it. All concerns from a student party requesting support are followed up with outreach and resources. Potential hate crimes and certain other incidents, as defined on the website, are reported on a public dashboard.
Numerous well-being resources are available for the campus community and stand ready to assist depending on your individual needs. They include:
- CAPS and the other student mental health resources at Stanford, including the new TimelyCare program that offers students an additional virtual care option 24/7.
- The Office for Religious and Spiritual Life offers a variety of services to support spiritual well-being, including Talk with a Chaplain/Spiritual Check-ins that provide an opportunity for confidential conversation.
- Hillel at Stanford offers a weekly wellness dinner and discussion, and in partnership with the Brief Therapy Center, offers short-term teletherapy sessions available at no cost to Hillel-affiliated students.
- The Markaz Resource Center serves the Muslim community and students from Muslim contexts, and its programs include weekly Afternoon Chai gatherings as well as mental health support through the Muslim Mental Health Initiative.
- Staff in the Dean of Students office, community centers, and others on the Stanford campus who have been working continually to provide support and resources for students
- RAs, ethnic theme associates, and resident directors who are available to support undergraduates
- The Graduate Life Office, for graduate students
- The Bechtel International Center, for international students
- The Faculty Staff Help Center
- The Office for Inclusion, Belonging, and Intergroup Communication, which provides trainings, courses, and programs around building communication across differences. The office offers this guide for approaching challenging conversations.
Engaging safely in campus activism
If you’re engaging in campus activism, Student Affairs has suggestions for doing it safely. Read them here.
The Office of Student Engagement is an important partner with student organizations in planning safe and well-managed events. Reach out to the office and be familiar with the university’s Event Planning Guidelines.
Filming of one another has become an area of tension at some campus events recently. In California, you may not record any private, confidential communication without the consent of all parties to the conversation. However, if you are in a space on campus that is open to the public, engaged in a rally or other activity that is visible to others where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, being filmed is likely lawful. Even if it is lawful, please consider whether filming others is truly necessary, given the fear of doxxing and harassment that it may create in those who are being filmed. Stanford’s Anti-Doxxing Policy is available here. Please consider extending a level of respect and care for one another, even while acknowledging differing viewpoints, as members of our one Stanford community in this challenging global moment.
If you are experiencing online harassment, report it using one of the reporting mechanisms on this page, and consider taking steps to protect your personal information online. Resources for faculty and academic staff also are available here.