The decision makers in Rachel’s case — Interim Title IX Coordinator Catherine Glaze and Senior Associate Dean of the School of Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences Scott Fendorf — concluded in the outcome letter that Barletta had not violated Stanford’s Code of Conduct, non-discrimination policy or sexual harassment policy in his conduct with Rachel. They wrote that while Barletta’s conduct was not of a sexual nature, his communications with Rachel “were of a personal and intimate nature.”
Glaze and Fendorf added that the investigators had interviewed another female graduate student with whom Barletta had engaged in similar conversations that “made her feel uncomfortable and exposed, and caused her to ‘set very clear boundaries’ with him.” They wrote that he should refrain from engaging in such communications in the future.
Glaze and Fendorf did not respond to The Daily’s requests for comment.
During the Title IX process, the investigators had asked Rachel whether Barletta’s conduct could be classified as sexual. She responded “no,” according to the documents.
“I said no because that kind of framing was always too narrow for what was going on,” she told The Daily. “I think that’s actually a very narrow definition of what harassment is.”
Given the constraints of Title IX adjudication, Rachel said she was not surprised by the outcome in her case — in her view, this case was about power, manipulation and workplace harassment more than it was about sexual harassment.
The opacity of the Title IX process is in part responsible for the atmosphere of secrecy surrounding Barletta, Palumbo-Liu said. He expressed concern that, given the lack of open discussion about harassment within the DLCL, graduate students were left in the dark, rumors and hearsay thrived and the entire community was corroded by distrust.
“You can’t have education where there’s not trust, period,” Palumbo-Liu said. In his view, the only way to address this culture is by cultivating conversations within the community — not just relying on legal processes and disciplinary frameworks like Title IX, which may not always apply to the conduct at hand.
Prior to the Title IX investigation, Rachel said she sought institutional support from some faculty and administrators. She said she was often left frustrated by their failure to take action.
Glaze and Fendorf wrote in the outcome letter that none of the faculty in whom Rachel confided reported the matter to Title IX, which, while not a technical violation of their mandatory reporting responsibilities, would have been “the best course of action.”
Rachel told investigators that during a meeting with Satz — who had signed off on the Title IX findings in Jeanne’s case just a few years prior — Satz said her case “did not meet the threshold” of a Title IX violation, according to an interview transcript from the investigation. She recalled Satz laughing and telling her, “The only thing I can think to offer you is advice from an older, wiser woman, which is when a man is acting in a way that makes you uncomfortable, you just have to tell him to stop.”
“And then she showed me to the door,” Rachel said. “That was the end of that conversation.”
Satz declined to comment on the meeting.
After Rachel organized a department dinner to which Barletta RSVPed, she met with Director of Comparative Literature Amir Eshel, expressing concern that she would not be able to attend the event she had organized because she felt unsafe in Barletta’s presence, according to the documents. Eshel informed her that while this was “unfortunate,” there was little he could do to address this issue because “his hands were tied,” the Title IX documents say.
Last May, after Barletta received a Guggenheim Fellowship, Eshel described him to The Daily as a “very good citizen of the [comparative literature] department.” Eshel declined to comment for this story.