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Case Name Department of Education OCR Title IX Investigation of Stanford University ED-CA-0032
Docket / Court 09-15-2070 ( No Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Education
Case Summary
On February 26, 2015, the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation to determine whether Stanford University had failed to respond promptly and equitably to reports and complaints of sexual violence and sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of ... read more >
On February 26, 2015, the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation to determine whether Stanford University had failed to respond promptly and equitably to reports and complaints of sexual violence and sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. OCR consolidated three similar cases, and investigated five specific issues:

1) Whether the university complied with the Title IX requirements regarding development and dissemination of a notice of nondiscrimination;
2) whether the university complied with Title IX requirements regarding designation and notice of a Title IX coordinator;
3) whether the university's sexual harassment and sexual violence policies and procedures, as written, complied with Title IX;
4) whether the university provided a prompt and equitable response to incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence of which it had notice; and
5) whether the university's failure to provide a prompt and equitable response allowed affected students to be to a sexually hostile environment.

OCR found that the university's notice of nondiscrimination failed to comply with Title IX because it did not consistently provide notice that inquiries about Title IX could be made to OCR. With regard to the designation and notice of a Title IX coordinator, OCR found that the university was in compliance, because it had designated a Title IX coordinator who was knowledgeable about the requirements of Title IX and who had received training with respect to responding to reports and complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence.

OCR analyzed four specific policies to determine whether the university's written policies complied with Title IX. With regard to the policies applying to allegations of sexual harassment and sexual violation by university students, OCR found compliance except in two respects. First, the policies did not provide a reasonably prompt timeframe for issuance of the Notice of Concern. Second, the policies provided an incorrect standard for addressing retaliation. OCR also recommended that the university update other sections of its policy to improve clarity. The university had a separate policy for student complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence against faculty, staff, and third parties. This policy had several major compliance issues. It did not provide adequate notice of how to file a complaint, did not include a reasonably prompt timeframe, and did not require notice of the outcome to be given to all parties. There were also major discrepancies between the two policies.

The individual complaints by students were also addressed by OCR. OCR found that the university was in compliance with regard to the first student's complaint, but had concerns regarding the university's response to the second student's complaint. Specifically, the university failed to enforce a stay-away order, did not timely provide the student with notice of the outcome of the investigation, and did not refer her report for consideration of whether to open an investigation under its Title IX grievance procedures. But OCR also determined that the university took prompt and appropriate progressive responsive actions after it received reports of the alleged stay-away and no-contact violations. The university agreed to voluntarily resolve the third student's grievances.

The university entered into a voluntary resolution agreement on April 6, 2018. The university agreed to update its notice of nondiscrimination, provide notice of the revisions and training to relevant personnel, and revise its internal system for receiving reports and complaints. The university also agreed to ongoing monitoring by OCR until the fulfillment of the terms of the agreement.

Elizabeth Heise - 02/03/2019


compress summary

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Reporting
Defendant-type
College/University
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
General
Assault/abuse by residents/inmates/students
Assault/abuse by staff
Failure to discipline
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Special Case Type
Out-of-court
Causes of Action Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. ยงยง 1681 et seq.
Defendant(s) Stanford University
Plaintiff Description Students at Stanford University alleging violations of Title IX.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se Unknown
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Private Settlement Agreement
Order Duration 2018 - n/a
Filing Year 2015
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  Chronicle of Higher Education, Title IX Tracker: Stanford University
Chronicle of Higher Education
Date: Jan. 7, 2019
By: Chronicle of Higher Education
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
[Notification letter to complainant]
ED-CA-0032-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2015
[Notification letter to Stanford University]
ED-CA-0032-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/28/2015
[Notification letter for Stanford University]
ED-CA-0032-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2015
[Notification letter and data request for Stanford University]
ED-CA-0032-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/23/2015
[Closure letter for Stanford University investigation]
ED-CA-0032-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2016
[Closure letter for Stanford University investigation]
ED-CA-0032-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/30/2016
[Closure letter for Stanford University investigation]
ED-CA-0032-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2017
[Closure letter for Stanford University investigation]
ED-CA-0032-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/24/2017
Resolution Agreement
ED-CA-0032-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/06/2018
[Letter of Findings for Stanford College]
ED-CA-0032-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/10/2018
Plaintiff's Lawyers Faer, Laura F. (California)
ED-CA-0032-0008

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