Etchemendy notes concerns over campus climate; survey to be conducted

April 16, 2015, 5:06 p.m.

Provost John Etchemendy Ph.D.’82 and President John Hennessy have both expressed concern for Stanford’s campus culture in the last day.

Provost worried by tone of campus dialogue

At Thursday’s Faculty Senate Meeting, the Provost made a statement on recent debates and protests within the student body, including the current ASSU elections.

“In recent months, I have been increasingly distressed by the tenor of discourse on campus,” Etchemendy said.

“Whether the issue is Israel and Palestine, sexual assault and due process, investment in fossil fuels, marriage and gay rights, black lives, or increasing disparities in wealth, we seem to have lost the ability to engage in true dialogue. Dialogue is not monologue times two. The essential feature of dialogue is not speaking but listening; listening with respect and then expressing, in turn, one’s own view with clarity, rather than volume.”

Etchemendy referred to ASSU endorsements made by student groups as a particular concern.

“I would like to ask our students which they would prefer: a senate composed of thoughtful, open-minded students representing the full range of student opinion, or a senate preselected to represent a filtered set of beliefs. If the answer is the latter, then I fear we have failed as a university,” Etchemendy concluded.

The Provost’s statement comes amidst heightened scrutiny of the endorsement process, following allegations that the Students of Color Coalition (SOCC) engaged in an anti-semitic line of questioning when interviewing one candidate for their endorsement.

President requests feedback on campus climate

The Office of the President sent out an email yesterday to all Stanford Students informing them that they would be asked to participate in a 10-15 minute survey on Stanford’s campus climate. The survey will ask students about their perceptions of campus culture and safety, focusing on their experience with sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and relationship violence, according to the email.

In order to assure the anonymity of participants, the survey will be conducted by an outside research organization. Answers will not be linked to participants’ names.

Summary results of the survey will be shared with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, the federal agency responsible for enforcing Title IX, according to a link included in the email.


Contact Sam Premutico at samprem ‘at’ and Michael Gioia at mgioia2 ‘at’

Sam Premutico ’18 is a staff writer covering University and local news. A freshman from Brooklyn, New York, Sam has a wide range of academic interests, including biology and philosophy. When not in class or writing for The Daily, Sam enjoys solving crossword puzzles and playing for the Stanford Men’s Squash team. To contact Sam, email him at samprem ‘at’

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