GSC and UGS passes joint resolution addressing sexual violence from faculty

Jan. 22, 2023, 9:12 p.m.

The Graduate Student Council (GSC) and Undergraduate Senate (UGS) unanimously voted to approve a joint resolution to address responses to sexual violence from faculty on Thursday. 

The resolution will now move on to the Faculty Senate. The resolution proposes instituting and widely publicizing “a swift and transparent faculty-specific reporting process for sexual assault and harassment through the Title IX/SHARE Office.” This includes removing faculty members from student-facing work while under investigation for sexual violence and revoking all University honors from faculty found guilty of sexual assault.

“This issue is constantly on my mind,” said Amira Dehmani ’24, UGS co-chair and co-author of the resolution. “I hope the resolution creates a process that is fair, just, and serves survivors while holding the right people accountable.”

The resolution follows numerous reports of students expressing concern over sexual assault on campus. The 2019 Stanford AAU Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Misconduct found that 27% of undergraduate students, 22% of graduate women and 14% of graduate men reported, “victimization by harassing behavior.” Meanwhile, 68.8% of all students surveyed indicated that they believed sexual assault or other sexual misconduct at Stanford is at least “somewhat problematic,” with 30% stating that it is “very or extremely problematic.”

In response to the AAU Survey Aggregate Report, Provost Persis Drell called for “the commitment of every single member of our community to participate in the culture change that is needed to end sexual violence on our campus and on college campuses nationwide.” 

However, the UGS and GSC believe the Faculty Senate is not upholding this responsibility.

“[The GSC] is really drawn to the language the Provost uses because Stanford has claimed these institutional commitments to protecting students and all members of its community from violence,” said fourth-year developmental and psychological sciences Ph.D. student Emily Schell, who co-chairs the GSC and is the primary author of the resolution. “Sexual violence against students has been a problem for many decades, and, as far as I know, the Faculty Senate has not tried to have this conversation head-on and reckon with it.”

Schell explained that the purpose of the resolution is to bring transparency and clarity to the process of reporting instances of sexual assault on campus and to hold faculty members accountable for sexual violence against students.

According to Schell, Stanford is not the only institution dealing with these issues. “I think most universities are struggling with this particular conversation.” 

Schell added that many universities have failed to acknowledge the ways in which power imbalance between faculty and students creates issues when it comes to sexual violence. “[Universities] are finally getting around to figuring out their sexual assault adjudication processes and reporting processes for students. I can’t necessarily point to any universities that are doing this well when it comes to faculty.”

The Daily has reached out to the University for comment.

Kyle Feinstein is a writer for The Daily. Contact them at news ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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