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Students protest in Palo Alto over supervisor's vote on sex assault policy study

Original post made on Oct 12, 2020

A group of high school students on Sunday protested outside the Palo Alto home of a Santa Clara County supervisor over a September decision by the Board of Supervisors to collect more background on a proposed study of sexual assault and harassment policies in schools and colleges.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 12, 2020, 9:42 AM

Comments (12)

16 people like this
Posted by Mark Chandler
a resident of another community
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:50 am

Mark Chandler is a registered user.

Joe Simitian has been a stalwart supporter of victim's rights and sensitive to the equities in these issues, making sure we have fair processes. Can this story be updated to allow him to express a view on this issue?


10 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:52 am

Mom is a registered user.

Joe Simitian is deeply out of touch with the sexual assault issue. Whenever you try to talk to him about it, he tells you a long-winded story about how he put into place a sexual harassment policy in Palo Alto schools for staff 35 years ago. If the last thing you did for survivors was 35 years ago maybe it's time to step up to the plate again.

He is not an advocate for survivors and no one thinks so except him in his own mind and maybe (but only maybe) Mary Hughes.


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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 10:59 am

Mom is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:27 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

I applaud these young protestors and I regret not being able to join them!

Even if I did not agree with their cause -- which I do -- I cannot understand how an elected official could vote against a "study" of an issue that has been such a huge problem in his hometown that the United States Department of Justice has had to intervene - twice - in the past 5 years! Come on, Supervisor Simitian. Please do the right thing here.


9 people like this
Posted by Misleading
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 12:50 pm

Misleading is a registered user.

The headline and some comments by student protestors mislead readers by contending Supervisor Simitian supports Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's postions on sexual assault on campus. Full stop.

Yet toward the end of the article, we find a very different story - Simitian with the majority of Supervisors, "...voted on Sept. 22 to oppose moving ahead with an investigation into the uniformity and enforcement of all of the county's sex-and gender-based discrimination and harassment policies in county schools". "It is scheduled to come before the supervisors on Nov. 17."

So we read there is action being considered for all schools in the County and the Supervisors have opted to amass more information before taking further action on Nov. 17. This seems reasonable approach. Score 1 for good governance. It also will likely create a better result for women on campus.

This is what Supervisor Simitian is all about - his 30+ year record proves he is a strong supporter of women's rights.


8 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 12:57 pm

Mom is a registered user.

Actually "misleading" is actually misleading.

The fact is that Simitian specifically voted to delay any action on the study for 2 months and specifically on Simitian's motion added the condition that the County staff is to consult with "federal agencies" (all of which are controlled by Trump) before taking action.

So you are wrong.

Joe Simitian is no friend to sexual assault victims. These kids know it and are demanding better. Just one of a thousand reasons why it's time for Joe to move on.


1 person likes this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Mom is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Misleading
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Misleading is a registered user.

Emotion over reason is what got Trump elected.
I’ll leave it at that.


5 people like this
Posted by Facts and Figures
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 12, 2020 at 1:58 pm

Facts and Figures is a registered user.

@Misleading,

Stop stirring the pot. By even mentioning President Trump's name, you are creating visceral reactions for many readers. Visceral reactions against these students. The adults should be setting a good example here.

Joe Simitian has a long and solid record, but this does not mean he is always right. And, PAUSD has a lousy record of compliance on these issues. But for the actions of non-Board members and non-staff, it is likely that nothing would have improved in Palo Alto.

Hurrah for these students for speaking up for themselves. I wish PAUSD students would protest outside our Board member's houses from time-to-time. Good old fashioned advocacy is sorely needed.


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Posted by Misleading
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 12, 2020 at 5:11 pm

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2 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:04 am

Mom is a registered user.

[Portion removed.]

This measure would have authorized a study, with the results to be made public.

Despite the lack of opposition, Simitian refused to support the referral. He and Ellenberg (together with the Republican Mike Wasserman [portion removed] both refused to support what should have been a universally supported noncontroversial measure.

Both of them falsely stated that the County lacked jurisdiction to conduct a study, a claim that stunned everyone listening. Simitian falsely claimed that he didn't know about this, even though the motion was properly noticed. He repeatedly read the motion aloud in a contemptuous voice, as if it was a ridiculous motion rather than an easy call to conduct a study. He said it was too broad. Ellenberg said it was too expensive. They both went on about all the reasons it would be too hard to conduct a study. Cortese adopted Ellenberg's suggestion to have a sooner report back, trying to cooperate with her, and then refused to support her own suggestion.

Then the two of them concocted a substitute motion that would delay the entire decision for 2 months [portion removed.]

Simitian seemed aggrieved that he wasn't the one in charge instead of Cortese [portion removed.]

The Stanford Daily called this "dodging" the issue.

The Weekly has long been a Simitian cheerleader and now is doing so in a manner which harms students. So much for student voice.

Next time send a reporter.




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Posted by Mom
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 13, 2020 at 8:13 am

Mom is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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