Provost Persis Drell offered the following thoughts after a speech delivered by the U.S. Secretary of Education on Sept. 7, 2017, regarding Title IX.

Stanford has no intention of retreating, in any way, on the subjects of sexual assault and harassment. We continue our commitment to move forward.

We are working to prevent sexual violence in our community, provide compassionate and professional support to survivors, and administer fair and effective adjudication processes for everyone. None of this changes as a result of the announcement from the Department of Education today.

Stanford operates under California law, which in many respects goes beyond the guidance in the 2011 Dear Colleague letter – including requiring affirmative consent and the preponderance of the evidence standard for Title IX cases. We provide additional resources not mandated by law, as well. Our campus Title IX policy was specifically written to incorporate provisions of the Dear Colleague letter, the federal Violence Against Women Act and state Education Code. And our campus infrastructure for confronting sexual violence – including the Title IX Office, Confidential Support Team and the SARA Office – is essential to supporting students.

Our committee of faculty and students continues to welcome input on further improvements to our campus Title IX processes. The Department of Education has said it will be opening a comment period on federal guidelines related to sexual assault; we look forward to providing comments, which will be public, to the department as part of this process. And we encourage anyone in the community with an interest to submit their comments, as well.

Eradicating sexual violence continues to be our goal, and both Marc and I are committed to strong policies and practices to continue moving us toward that goal.

[See Secretary DeVos’ Remarks on Title IX Enforcement, delivered on Sept. 7, 2017.]