Stanford Actions on Sexual and Relationship Violence

Too many students at Stanford experience unwanted sexual contact or relationship violence. We’re working to change that through education, prevention, support and adjudication. Our goal is a campus culture free of sexual and relationship violence. It will take time, but we intend to get there through continual improvement — learning from ourselves and others, and fostering partnerships between students and the university. Here are some of the efforts that have been undertaken.


New initiatives

Expanded educational programs in 2017-18

  • Beyond Sex Ed: Consent & Sexuality at Stanford, an in-person training program developed by students and the SARA Office and launched in fall 2016 for first-year undergraduates, is expanding. In addition to the mandatory session for all first-year undergraduates in September, several hundred juniors and seniors attended an additional session for upper-class students. A successor Beyond Sex Ed program, focusing on relationships and intimacy, is now being developed for sophomores to attend in spring 2018. Ultimately, the goal is for each class of undergraduates to have an educational experience promoting healthy sexuality and relationships that builds on the prior year’s programming. (See more on the university’s educational efforts below.)

​New programs for survivors

  • The Confidential Support Team is offering a weekly Skills Support Group for students impacted by sexual assault, relationship abuse, sexual harassment and stalking. This group provides a safe space for students to better understand the impact of trauma on their lives and to develop skills for coping safely with trauma symptoms.
  • A weekly Healing Art Workshop begun last winter by the Confidential Support Team and the SARA Office continues this academic year, inviting students impacted by these issues to explore therapeutic art making in a safe and supportive atmosphere.
  • Self-Care Study Breaks are being offered to students before finals at the end of each quarter, offering self-care resources and confidential counseling.
  • This fall, Yoga as Healing continues into its third year as a partnership between SARA and Fraternity & Sorority Life. Yoga as Healing is a quarter-long, trauma-sensitive program for self-identified survivors of sexual and/or relationship violence, stalking, and sexual harassment. FSL and SARA work with a trauma-informed instructor and provide all yoga and educational equipment and materials so that participation is not hindered by cost.

New tool for documenting and reporting sexual assault

  • With the support and advocacy of ASSU student leaders, Stanford has begun using Callisto, on a three-year trial basis, to provide students with an additional way of documenting and reporting sexual assault. Callisto is a third-party online platform that allows a survivor to confidentially document an experience with unwanted sexual conduct, time-stamp it in a secure web environment, and choose when to submit it to the university. A student also can opt to only have their record reported to the Title IX Office in the instance that another user in the system identifies the same perpetrator.

Funding and staffing

  • Stanford has added more than $3 million to its general funds budget for expanded support, education and adjudication efforts addressing sexual violence.
  • Stanford now has more than a dozen staff members in three offices created in recent years to focus on these issues – the Confidential Support Team, the Title IX Office and the SARA Office (Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response.)

Feedback on pilot Title IX Process

Preparing for next campus climate survey

  • Provost Persis Drell has appointed a committee of faculty, students and staff to make recommendations on the next campus climate survey to be administered to students. The committee is welcoming input from the campus community.


Education and training at Stanford today

Over the last several years, Stanford has continually expanded education programs to prevent sexual violence and help members of the community respond effectively to it. A number of programs have been developed in partnership with students.

Today, our programs include the following (supplemented by many other programs and specialized trainings offered to smaller groups):

  • Incoming undergraduates receive online training before arriving on campus; participate in educational programming at New Student Orientation; participate in the Beyond Sex Ed: Consent & Sexuality at Stanford program in the first week of fall quarter; and in winter quarter participate in the dorm-based Stanford Anti-Violence Educators (SAVE) program, a peer-education effort developed in partnership with the ASSU Sexual Assault Prevention Committee.
  • Continuing undergraduates beginning in 2017-18 will have access to expanded programming that builds on the Beyond Sex Ed program, as described above.
  • Graduate students were all required to take online training addressing sexual and relationship violence in the 2016-17 year, and incoming graduate students will continue to take it each year in the future.
  • Faculty and supervisory staff are required to complete training on sexual violence and harassment at the time of their hire and every two years thereafter. All new staff employees, including non-supervisory staff, also are required to complete training at the time of their hire.


Previous initiatives on sexual violence since 2010

Separate hearing process for sexual violence: In 2010, more than a year before the federal government issued its Title IX “Dear Colleague” letter, Stanford launched a new disciplinary process for cases involving allegations of sexual violence. The process was created to recognize the special features of sexual assault cases and encourage students to report incidents of sexual assault.

SARA Office: A stand-alone Office of Sexual Assault & Relationship Abuse Education & Response was created in 2011 to provide support and education for the campus community on sexual assault and misconduct, dating/domestic violence, and stalking.

Standard of proof: Stanford adopted the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof for Title IX investigations of sexual assault cases immediately after issuance of the federal government’s 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter outlining this expectation.

Affirmative consent: Stanford adopted the “affirmative consent” or “yes means yes” standard in university policy in 2012, two years ahead of its becoming state law in California.

Title IX policy: Stanford adopted a policy in 2013 specifically outlining the university’s responsibilities under Title IX with respect to prohibited sexual conduct. The Title IX Administrative Policy and Procedures works in concert with other university policies outlined in the campus Administrative Guide.

Title IX Office: Stanford created a dedicated Title IX Office in 2014 to focus on Title IX compliance.

It’s On Us: Stanford helped launch this national movement, spearheaded by the federal government, in 2014 with a video screened at New Student Orientation featuring Stanford student-athletes speaking on the subjects of sexual assault prevention and promoting a culture of respect.

Task force: The Provost’s Task Force on Sexual Assault Policies and Practices was convened in 2014 to recommend ways to enhance Stanford’s education, support and adjudication efforts. The 18-member panel of students, faculty, staff and alumni issued its report in April 2015, and the university has been working to implement the recommendations.

Confidential Support Team: Stanford created a dedicated team offering confidential support and trauma-informed counseling to Stanford students impacted by sexual assault and relationship violence. The Confidential Support Team is reachable at (650) 736-6933 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or (650) 725-9955 on a 24/7 urgent basis. CST services include information and help accessing resources, short-term emotional support and ongoing individual counseling. In addition, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers counseling to support students’ mental health and well-being and is reachable at (650) 723-3785.

Violence Intervention & Prevention (VIP) program: In spring 2015, the SARA Office and Fraternity & Sorority Life piloted a program in which representatives from fraternity and sorority chapters participate in trainings to develop an understanding around sexual and relationship violence prevention and how to be a resource to chapter members.

Campus climate survey: In the spring of 2015 Stanford conducted a campus climate survey, encouraging all undergraduate and graduate students to provide their perspectives on campus safety and answer questions about their experiences with prohibited sexual conduct. Detailed survey results were issued in October 2015 and are available to the public on the web. Stanford issued an extensive set of additional analyses of the climate survey data in May 2016, providing additional information by groups and subgroups.

Adjudication process:  In 2016, Stanford launched an updated process for investigation and adjudication of Title IX cases, as a pilot process, based on the recommendations of the Provost’s Task Force. An advisory committee of students and faculty was created to receive feedback about the new pilot process and to make recommendations for its improvement. The committee is welcoming confidential feedback via the Not Alone website.

New leadership role: In August 2016 the university created a new position – senior associate vice provost for institutional equity and access – to coordinate all of the university’s activities addressing sexual violence prevention, Title IX compliance, equal opportunity and nondiscrimination.

MOU with law enforcement: In November 2016 Stanford and other local colleges and universities signed a memorandum of understanding with the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, articulating principles of cooperation and communication between colleges and county law enforcement in sexual violence cases.