Posts Tagged ‘sexual assault’

How Safe Is Stanford??

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

A recent report by the University’s Department of Public Safety tells two stories, one of progress and another of lingering concerns.

On one hand, Stanford’s cops have made major gains in reducing crime across a swath of categories, including burglaries, liquor law arrests, and drug violations. On the other, 12 students suffered forcible sexual assaults last year, and bike theft remains a major problem on campus.

Bike theft remains a major problem on campus. Column 1 refers to year, column 2 to student residences, column 3 to on-campus, column 4 to non-campus, and column 6 to total thefts. According to the footnote, statistics on bike theft are being voluntarily tracked by Stanford University as of 2009.

Always an option if you are really running late to class.

In fairness, bike theft is extremely difficult to prevent, given the size of our campus and the number of places where such incidents could occur. However, these numbers are completely unacceptable. With all of the resources at this university’s disposal, no Stanford student should have to fear for their safety or for the theft of often-expensive property.

In addition, the Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) saw 72 students last year, 59 of whom were underage. The most common referral to OAPE is for intoxication. These incidents are disciplinary actions, and there was a slight uptick from 52 students in 2010 and 61 in 2009. Data on DUIs were not available in the report.

Another interesting tidbit in the report revealed the causes of fires in the past three years. These included a water heater fire, a trash fire, a box of T-shirts left on the stove (Storey), and burning books and paper (FloMo). I’m guessing the frequent popcorn-induced fire alarms were not included in the report; otherwise, they would require their own special section.

Finally, the report provided some useful information that I had never encountered before:

  • Apparently, there is a Freshman Emergency Ride Home Program that, according to the report, “provides taxi service back to campus for freshmen who are caught without a ride or are in an emergency situation (within eight miles of campus). Freshmen must pre-register at:, using Yellow Cab of Palo Alto, account # 300-350. For more information, call (650) 321-1234 or (888) 512-1234.” Freshmen get up to four free rides…probably beats waiting for 5-Sure.
  • Those Cal fans can get a bit rowdy….

    The Department for Public Safety teaches a 1-unit Community Police Academy class in winter quarter (LAWGEN 209Q) that, among other things, includes pursuit practice in the driving simulators at The Police Academy in San Jose.

  • Public Safety offers free threat or vulnerability assessments of any building, lab, or facility on campus. The assessment entails a walk-through of the building by their personnel with the building or facility manager. For anyone worried about fire hazards, these are your people to call.

Criticisms aside, Public Safety has unquestionably been working hard. Last year, their Records Division took 185 police reports, assisted 9,281 people over the phone, and helped more than 3,354 walk-in customers. A renewed focus on bike theft and forcible sexual assault would go a long way to ensuring that this campus is as safe as it can be.


Praise for the New Dean for Sexual Assault

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Last month, Stanford hired a dean for sexual assault and relationship abuse. Stanford, not necessarily the poster child for sexual assault, took the time and money to hire Angela Exson, who has a background in dealing with violence in relationships, and the only place where it was mentioned was The Stanford Daily. There were no outcries over the way the campus’s money was spent, yet other than a few Facebook posts, no cheer either.  Although this is coming a bit late, I still want to say thank you, Stanford.

Honestly, my first thought was why? I have no doubt that our school’s students suffer from relationship issues as much as students at other colleges but  I had never heard of someone going as far as getting a dean for this problem. So of course I looked it up – I skimmed through website after website where sexual assault  had been relegated to subdivision of student affairs. And my question changed to why not? Why hasn’t any other college done this? (If you do know other examples feel free to share.) It’s not the same as health and wellness guidelines or campus safety rules – when these cases happen they deserve expert handling, they deserve guidance from someone who understands.

As I said before, our school might not be the poster child for sexual assault but maybe it can be the poster child for handling it with the respect these situations warrant. So welcome, Dean Exson. I hope for a student body more accountable not only for their actions, but their response to things that happen to their peers. I don’t expect change overnight, but with this new position, and Stanford’s other new policy concerning rape, it’s nice to know that our school wants to do more to raise awareness among our student body.