Stanford football player found guilty of rape by majority of disciplinary panel never punished
Although found guilty of sexual assault by a majority of panelists in two separate Stanford University disciplinary hearings, a Stanford football player accused of rape will play in the Sun Bowl against North Carolina Friday. The unnamed athlete remained on the team after accused of raping a fellow student and throughout both disciplinary hearings. And because the university required at least a 4-1 decision to expel a student for sexual assault, the two 3-5 decisions against him weren’t enough to even kick him off the football team.
The New York Times reports that a female student went to the school’s disciplinary board claiming a football player had raped her in her dorm room after a frat party. The athlete claims they had consensual sex. In June 2015, a five-person panel met to rule on the issue, but although a 3-5 vote was given, procedural mistakes led the university to convene a panel of five different people. The second panel also came to a 3-5 vote, but the man wasn’t punished.
In February, Stanford slightly altered the way it handles sexual assault cases, switching to a three-person panel and requiring a unanimous guilty decision to punish the accused. Duke University is the only other top 20 college to institute such strict requirements, according to The Times.
The woman temporarily left Stanford to avoid seeing her accused rapist. She told The Times about her case, “I realized that I got into this school and deserved to get an education here. He was a valued football player, but I had earned my right to be here, too.”
Stanford continues to make headlines for its inadequate handling of sexual assault allegations on campus. Earlier this month, a former Stanford professor claimed she was pushed out of the university after filing a sexual harassment complaint against another faculty member. Before that, two women alleged the school tried to bribe them to withdraw their complaints to the federal government about how the school handled their sexual assault accusations. And in response to Brock Turner being found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster, starting a nationwide conversation about rape culture on college campuses, the university simply banned hard liquor at parties.
As if we needed any more proof, the fact that this accused football player was found guilty by a majority of disciplinary panelists not once, but twice, and continues to represent the school on the football field signifies Stanford University’s systemic protection of those accused of sexual assault and harassment. What will it take for the school finally make meaningful changes?