Stanford University Approves New Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Misconduct Allegations

The faculty senate at Stanford University has approved a plan to revamp procedures for dealing with student disciplinary actions regarding charges of sexual misconduct on campus. The Alternate Review Process (ARP) was instituted at Stanford in 2010 as a pilot program. The university has been pleased with the results and now will formally adopt the process as official university policy.

dauberMichele Dauber, professor of law and chair of the Board on Judicial Affairs at Stanford, stated, “The ARP is designed to handle sensitive complaints and is tailored in some ways to meet the unique aspects of these important issues. ARP should be distinguished from criminal or civil legal action. ARP is a university disciplinary proceeding.”

Under the old policy, Stanford had a “mock trial” type process that involved cross-examination of the alleged victim by the alleged attacker; there was no right of appeal for the alleged victim; and there was a high burden of proof for alleged victims.

Under the new ARP policy

  • There are a series of private interviews, rather than a single trial-like hearing;
  • Five reviewers (three students and two faculty/staff) decide responsibility;
  • Each party listens to the other party’s interview by phone and submits questions via email in real time during two breaks;
  • Rather than direct cross-examination by the accused, questions are asked by reviewers;
  • Reviewers make findings using a “preponderance of evidence standard,” as required by law; four of the five reviewers must agree on finding of responsibility;
  • Both parties have the right to appeal the outcome to the vice provost for student affairs.

Professor Dauber reports that during the 1997 to 2009 period prior to the adoption of the ARP pilot program, there were 175 forcible sex offenses at Stanford that were reported to the federal government. But there were only four cases that went to a disciplinary hearing. Since 2010, there have been 53 cases reported to the federal government and 11 cases have gone to a hearing.

“Our goal was to create a more welcoming process for victims while maintaining a high level of protection of the rights of accused students,” said Professor Dauber.

Filed Under: Sexual Assault/Harassment


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply