A 'chronic public health issue': Stanford officials troubled by campus sexual assault data | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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A 'chronic public health issue': Stanford officials troubled by campus sexual assault data

Original post made on Oct 16, 2019

Nearly 40% of undergraduate women who have attended Stanford University for four years have experienced some form of nonconsensual sexual contact, according to results from a campus climate survey.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, October 16, 2019, 12:01 PM

Comments (8)

7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 16, 2019 at 3:04 pm

Inability to consent? Does that mean so drunk they are unconscious?

If Stanford is serious about trying to reduce the number of assaults on campus, I think the first thing they should do is reduce the amount of drinking, particularly underage drinking, and particularly the binge drinking or drinking so much that a person is unable to function.

When this type of data is publicized, it should go right beside similar data on alcohol consumption.

And it goes without saying that drinking is a problem that affects all genders and makes all genders behave differently to how they would behave if they were sober.


3 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2019 at 8:56 am

I tried comparing Stanford's numbers to MIT's (while MIT does have student athletics and student athletes, it's a whole different ballgame, as they say). But the MIT article I could find was extremely difficult to correlate with the article above and at times seemed contradictory.
Web Link

In some ways, MIT seems to have much lower rates, and in others, slightly higher -- but again, it's very hard to correlate. If someone has the patience to find the actual surveys and correlate them, it would be interesting because presumably we would be comparing a similar student population with a few stark differences:

MIT's greek life is much more separated from the campus than Stanford's, and there are more major colleges in the Boston area, so the girls who go to the fraternity parties may represent a different mix of colleges than Stanford's percentagewise, so the results related just to violence experienced at fraternities may be skewed (if a higher percentage of women from only Stanford attend the Stanford parties). And while MIT has a lot of student athletics, they don't have the level of high-performng student athletes that Stanford has, nor that kind of athletic recruitment (thinking along the lines of the possible influence of potential steroid misuse re: dorm violence).

I wonder if comparisons with schools that have such stark contrasts in only narrow areas, not just national averages, could inform how to target a response to improve things. Does the sense of how the university responds relate to the numbers? Is it a problem of the culture the universities foster or can admissions play a role?

Can fraternity organizations play a role in improving things? (It seems like the assaults at fraternities are lower by % but perhaps might be higher in terms of how much time is spent together, i.e., higher rate of assault per time spent in contact with others?). Do both universities have all female dorms -- how do those rates compare (not that you can't have assault in dorm rooms no matter who lives there, it would just be a way to roughly compare assault versus living contact time).

The MIT article states " a new policy has been developed and approved for handling harassment and discrimination complaints against faculty and staff. The revised faculty and staff policy will go into effect on February 3, 2020. This policy, which will rely on professional, neutral investigators to conduct fact finding, will provide enhanced processes for consistent and fair handling of these types of complaints."

(I wish PAUSD would do this for all serious complaints!) Does Stanford have a neutral investigation body -- and what constitutes "neutral"?



3 people like this
Posted by safe at home
a resident of Triple El
on Oct 17, 2019 at 9:24 am

"Does that mean so drunk"

No. Half the incidents occurred in dormitories.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 17, 2019 at 9:44 am

Posted by safe at home, a resident of Triple El

>> "Does that mean so drunk"
>> No. Half the incidents occurred in dormitories.

I hope you have already noticed the two flaws in your reasoning here, so, I will address a third issue:

Why does our society endlessly celebrate alcohol? I'm very aware that some top schools have seen drinking as a necessary part of education for the elite business and political world. Is drinking really -necessary- today?


5 people like this
Posted by HMB
a resident of another community
on Oct 17, 2019 at 9:45 am

And dorms are where a lot of the drinking goes on, particularly the 'pre-gaming'


6 people like this
Posted by Disturbing
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 18, 2019 at 5:26 am

This latest information is very disturbing. The point made about the influence of alcohol on campus and in these incidents is well taken. However, the lack of respect for the rights of all students by those students is very upsetting to me. It is all well and good to provide the finest in physical structures and academic opportunities on campus. However, if Stanford does not protect the health and well being of all of its students, what is the point of being rated as one of the best academic institutions in our country. As a parent, would you want your child to attend a school where their personal safety is not a given?


2 people like this
Posted by Anneke
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 18, 2019 at 10:39 am

And these students are our future doctors, lawyers and politicians!


Like this comment
Posted by safe at home
a resident of Triple El
on Oct 18, 2019 at 12:10 pm

Cool. Let's shift the discussion to alcohol. It's the alcohol - booze hasn't been around long (it was just vaping in "Animal House", right?)

Where would apologists be without whataboutisms?


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