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Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

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Campus safety and bias-based incidents

I am writing today to express my deep concern about bias-based incidents that continue to occur on our campus.

The following was emailed to all students. 

Dear students,

I am writing today to express my deep concern about bias-based incidents that continue to occur on our campus. Those who engage in this behavior target individuals, but all of us in our community are harmed by these events. Below, I provide details of what has occurred, but let me be clear at the outset: Such racist behavior has no place on our campus. My heart goes out to the students who have had to endure this. Please know that you are not alone. Stanford affirms the dignity of all individuals and calls upon all of us to strive for a just community in which discrimination and hate have no presence.

Two of the events I’m referring to occurred on the very first weekend of fall quarter: An individual in a passing vehicle yelled a racist remark at a Black student walking home with friends Friday night; and at a party the same evening, a stranger tapped a Middle Eastern student on the shoulder, called him a terrorist, and told him to “go home.” The individuals who made these remarks did so in darkness or in crowded settings so that it is difficult to identify them and to follow-up with them.

This is not the case for a different set of incidents that have occurred over the past several months, and I am writing today in part to ask for your help contacting police should you come into contact with one individual in particular. As I have mentioned in previous messages, visitors to our campus shouted racist remarks at a number of Asian and Asian American students, faculty and staff from May through August. We believe there were three people engaged in this behavior, and they were acting separately. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) identified one of the individuals and the university issued a stay-away letter, which DPS issued to him. DPS identified a second person and verbally admonished him that the university intended to issue a stay-away letter if his behavior continued. It is believed that neither individual has returned to campus. 

A third individual -- who is believed to be the person responsible for making hateful comments toward the end of the summer -- has not yet been identified. He has been described as a Caucasian male, 50-60 years old, thin build, approximately 6 feet tall, with white or gray hair, a white or blue cap, and riding a recumbent bicycle. He wears spandex bike clothing, and has been described in at least one instance as shirtless with khaki shorts. Should you come into contact with this person, please reach out to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) by calling 911 (or 9-911 from a campus phone). DPS and the Dean of Students office, via our Acts of Intolerance protocol, are working together on this matter.

It saddens me deeply each time I hear of experiences like these, but it was especially disheartening to learn that the Black and Middle Eastern students who experienced incidents early this quarter are frosh. I would like to assure all new students that, as Stanford and the nation battle this increase in hate-based behaviors and crime, we reject these in favor of openness to all ideas, experiences and cultures.

This is our greatest strength, one that we are committed to advancing foundationally. Many of you know that Stanford is developing an extensive diversity initiative known as IDEAL, with components addressing recruitment, engagement and education of students, faculty and staff. We are also working on more immediate opportunities including a series of community and educational events next month entitled, “Speak Out, Teach In, Make Change.” More information will be available soon as our planning committee finalizes event dates and locations. 

In closing, I would like to express my support and gratitude for all the students who have come forward to report these incidents. Your willingness to work with our Acts of Intolerance protocol and DPS is an extremely helpful first step toward our ability to address these hateful acts. Please know that we are here to help with any emotional and/or academic concerns. We understand these incidents can be shocking, hurtful, upsetting, and disorienting. These reactions can linger or get worse and affect your ability to focus on your work. I urge you to seek support where ever you feel most comfortable. Your resident assistants, resident fellows, residence deans, community associates and Graduate Life Office deans all stand ready to help, as well as our community centers, Office of Religious Life, The Bridge Peer Counseling, and Counseling and Psychological Services.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs