Stanford University took the unusual step Thursday of issuing a detailed statement objecting to an article in The New York Times about the university's handling of a sex assault case.
The Dec. 29 article was about how two separate panels -- on three-to-two votes -- found that a student had been raped by a football player, but the football player was not found responsible because Stanford requires a supermajority to do so. At the time of the case, Stanford required that four members of the panel vote to find someone responsible. Now Stanford requires a unanimous decision by a three-member panel. The article quoted the woman who brought the charges and others saying Stanford does not do enough for victims of sex assaults, and also noted that Stanford's supermajority rule is unusual in higher education.
In its statement, Stanford said it was unfairly portrayed as an institution unwilling to find students responsible for sex assaults. The university said that in 2016, it considered charges in 16 cases of sexual assault, stalking and sexual harassment. Thirteen people were found responsible, and one was expelled. Stanford said that its supermajority rules are consistent with California civil trials (where nine out of 12 jurors must vote to hold someone responsible) or criminal trials, where unanimous verdicts are required.
The football player, who said he had consensual sex with the woman, is on the Stanford roster for today's Sun Bowl.
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