Sexual Violence Free Stanford (SV Free) hung posters alleging that Residential Education (ResEd) is failing to protect survivors and defending individuals accused of committing sexual violence on Saturday.
The posters were dispersed throughout Escondido Village Graduate Residences Building A (EVGR-A) and on the doors of Associate Dean in Residence Orlando T. White and Associate Director of Student Staff Engagement Terry D. Smith. The flyering follows the student protest during Sophomore Convocation, where advocates criticized the new alcohol and drug policy and its impact on survivors of sexual assault.
Advocates used the Sept. 24 print issue of The Daily, which featured the convocation protest on its front page, to make the posters. They wrote a series of phrases over the front page, including “ResEd Supports Rapists,” “ResEd Protects Rapists” and “RDs, You Protect Rapists.”
Posters on the office door of Associate Dean in Residence Orlando White also contain quotes that an advocate who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation said White had told a survivor of sexual violence. “You’re [sic] rape was a valuable learning opportunity for him,” the poster read. “He made a mistake. He is sorry you feel that way.”
Another poster hung on the door of Associate Director of Student Staff Engagement Terry D. Smith stated “You Protect Rapists.”
Stanford spokesperson Pat Harris responded to the posters and the allegations against staff in a statement to The Daily.
“Anonymous messaging like this, including fictionalized quotations, is inappropriate and antithetical to the type of supportive environment we are trying to cultivate and sustain at Stanford,” Harris wrote. “These actions are terribly harmful to members of our community and do not provide the University with the information it needs to respond to such allegations.”
White and Smith did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
By Monday morning, the front-page posters in EVGR-A were removed. That night, they were replaced by printed-out copies of the Stanford Daily article on the protest with statements such as “Don’t be sorry. Change.” and “Does accountability scare you?” written on them. The same allegations against White were reprinted on the posters, which now hang on elevators and doors throughout the building.
Ari Gabriel ’23, one of the co-directors of SV Free and co-director of sexual violence prevention for the student government, said that the group is responsible for distributing the posters, and added that the group wanted administration officials to address the issues and concerns of students on campus. Gabriel has written for The Daily.
“We’ve been trying to talk to ResEd about some issues that have gone unaddressed by them over the past year and a half,” they said. “Mainly, we brought to their attention that each year, students are sexually assaulted by their RAs in their dorms and that these assaults aren’t recorded.”
Gabriel added that advocates have spoken to the Title IX Office in the past regarding these issues, and “they have yet to address it.”
Harris wrote that Stanford takes student safety seriously, citing changes that the University made to the alcohol and drug policy. For example, the University added a clause specifying that students who report experiencing sexual violence or witnesses who aid in such a report will not be subject to any disciplinary action under the drug and alcohol policy.
“Our goal is to make clear our support for sexual violence survivors, while holding perpetrators accountable,” Harris wrote.
In response to allegations about RAs as perpetrators of sexual violence, Harris wrote that the University works to provide student staff with the information they need to help survivors. Student staff receive Title IX and sexual violence and prevention training from campus partners who are experts in these areas, according to Harris.
“Prospective student staff members are vetted for eligibility by campus partners including the Office of Community Standards,” Harris added. “Students are ineligible to serve as student staff if this vetting process yields allegations that resulted in past or upcoming suspension.”
Gabriel said that SV Free hopes the posters will help enact concrete, visible change to combat sexual violence on campus.
“Our hope is to bring accountability and to see at least some of our requests for better systems when it comes to what is happening in ResEd with sexual violence be put into place,” they said.