As part of Title IX probe, feds to visit Stanford

Office for Civil Rights seeking student input on sexual violence

The U.S Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights are visiting Stanford University this week to talk to students about the school's handling of sexual violence as part of its investigation into several cases filed by students alleging the university violated their rights under federal anti-discrimination law Title IX.

This will be the federal agency's first "formal visit" to interview Stanford students, said university spokeswoman Lisa Lapin. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is currently investigating four separate complaints at Stanford related to sexual assault cases.

The agency is inviting individual students to drop in during open "office hours" on Wednesday, Jan. 18, and Thursday, Jan. 19, from 1:45-2:45 p.m. both days, at the East Asia Library. No appointment is necessary.

Any information shared will be anonymous; the Office for Civil Rights will not record any student's name unless requested, according to Stanford.

"OCR welcomes students to share their experiences, impressions, and ideas," a university description of the office hours reads.

Lapin said Stanford is "fully cooperating with OCR and following their direction.

"We've provided them considerable material and there have been numerous conversations, but this is their first formal visit for interviews," she wrote in an email to the Weekly.

One of the Office for Civil Rights complaints was filed by former student Leah Francis, who has alleged Stanford failed to promptly and equitably provide a response to and resolution for a sexual assault report she filed with the university in 2014. Francis ignited a firestorm of activism and attention to the topic of sexual assault at Stanford when she went public with her case in June 2014.

Two other federal complaints were filed by two female students who said they were sexually assaulted by the same male student. One of those women also filed a lawsuit against Stanford in December, alleging the university violated Title IX and acted negligently by failing to protect her and others from a "known sexual predator on campus."

In September, the Office for Civil Rights "administratively closed" another complaint as a result of a lawsuit the complainant, a former male Stanford student, filed alleging that the university discriminated against him on the basis of sex.

The Office for Civil Rights opened its most recent investigation at Stanford in April, according to a list released by the agency this month.

The Palo Alto Weekly has created a Storify page to capture ongoing coverage of sexual-assault issues at Stanford University. To view it, go to


Follow the Palo Alto Weekly/Palo Alto Online on Twitter @PaloAltoWeekly and Facebook for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.


25 people like this
Posted by Wow!
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

Wow! is a registered user.

Hopefully this will encourage more young women to come forward and tet the OCR know how Stanford treats them so badly.

Small wonder so many parents discourage their daughters from even applying to Stanford in the last couple of years!

14 people like this
Posted by False
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm

"Small wonder so many parents discourage their daughters from even applying to Stanford in the last couple of years!"

This statement is not true at all, but I would like to see the data that wow is using to make his claim.

18 people like this
Posted by Ron
a resident of Southgate
on Jan 10, 2017 at 4:41 pm

The proper place for rape/sexual assault accusations is the local police department. Colleges have no qualifications to investigate.

After Trump becomes President, next week, the proper route of justice will ensue, because his departments will refuse to acknowledge college campuses as the proper place to judge criminality. This is a good thing, IMO.

3 people like this
Posted by tired
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Why do Paloaltoonline and this author only cover these types of stories? This was a letter send by Stanford to all students - it is not part of a big scheme. Why should this even be a news? Didn't this author find anything good to write about this University where so many students, researchers, and professors work so hard to improve people's lives, especially in the medical field?

18 people like this
Posted by WhyNot
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jan 11, 2017 at 10:46 am

Glad that there is authority finally looking into a big university under the hood.

For those wondering why the PA Online is covering the story, maybe they should ask themselves why the OCR is coming to Stanford in the first place. This is indeed a big issue.

Maybe then they can think about those poor young people who were violated. They are also someone's children who got silenced by the university, after being assaulted.

The parents paid for their kids to be at Stanford for a fantastic educational experience, not to be sexually attacked. We all remember the ordeal the Brock Turner victim went through...hopefully OCR could put such behavior to an end.

21 people like this
Posted by Grab them by the ******
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 11, 2017 at 11:07 am

I agree with Ron -- the last thing Trump is going to be interested in investigating is sexual assault.

4 people like this
Posted by mouthpiece
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Hi WhyNot -
As you and I know, Brock Turner victim or her sister were not Stanford students. [Portion removed.] With all the policing going around at Stanford currently, it may be safer than other campuses.
[Portion removed.]

27 people like this
Posted by Baloney
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Baloney is a registered user.

I don't think I would want my daughter to attend Stanford. There is too little supervision in the dorms, the frat houses and at campus activities in general.

Stanford has all these kids, overprotected most of their lives, and experiencing their first dose of freedom. Naturally, they take too much freedom and get into trouble.

The Stanford athletes seem to be cut a lot of slack, seem to have more free time to get into trouble with. We often see them hanging out at the Equestrian Center, trolling for girls, when they should be practicing their sport-- that's what their afternoons are for!

14 people like this
Posted by laughableOCR
a resident of another community
on Jan 11, 2017 at 1:34 pm

OCR - The most inefficient Government organization in the world. They can not even complete investigations that were started years ago. I saw one of the cases from Princeton that was started as early as 2012 and still active.

Like this comment
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 11, 2017 at 8:37 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

9 people like this
Posted by sad
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2017 at 10:50 am

The overriding issue here is Stanford's need to maintain their brand. In the mid-80's, while temporarily staying in Escondido Village, there was ongoing smacking and screaming coming from a nearby apartment. When I contacted Stanford authorities, I was told they didn't interfere with these things because of "culture differences." (The couple were foreign grad students).
I said we were in this culture and it was against the law (barely at that time). I was given a harumpf and stonewalled.
These things don't happen at Stanford was and is the mantra.

9 people like this
Posted by Hmmm...
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 13, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Hmmm... is a registered user.

Sounds like what we went through with Stanford in reference to a child abuse problem at Escondido Village in 2003!

The peeps were grad students from China who were smacking their daughter around, locking her out on cold nights, etc. she was only three yrs old!

We finally called PAPD, who at least talked to the couple and gave them a warning after explaining the law in this country.

Stanford Police said they could not interfere in a culturally sensitive issue, such as how children are raised in the PROC!

6 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 13, 2017 at 2:40 pm

[Post removed.]

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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