Stanford University Permanently Bans A Former Student Convicted Of Sexual Assault
In addition to his sentence, Brock Turner can never set foot on the campus again
Last week, a 20-year-old former Stanford student named Brock Turner was convicted of sexually assaulting a woman at a party in Palo Alto, California last January.
More specifically, “The Ohio native was convicted of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.”
The legal process has been unfolding for almost a year-and-a-half now, but the announcement of Turner’s conviction last week, subsequent sentencing and letters being made public from both the victim and Turner’s father have catalyzed a renewed fervency in conversations about rape culture and on-campus sexual assault in the United States.
Today, Stanford University released its own statement on the matter, making it entirely clear that Turner, who dropped out last year following his arrest, is no longer welcome—in any capacity—on school grounds.
Stanford University did everything within its power to assure that justice was served in this case, including an immediate police investigation and referral to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office for a successful prosecution.
Stanford urges its students to do the right thing and intervene and we are proud of our students for stopping this incident. Many other student witnesses cooperated in the investigation. Once Stanford learned the identity of the young woman involved, the university reached out confidentially to offer her support and to tell her the steps we were taking. In less than two weeks after the incident, Stanford had conducted an investigation and banned Turner from setting foot on campus – as a student or otherwise. This is the harshest sanction that a university can impose on a student.
There has been a significant amount of misinformation circulating about Stanford’s role. In this case, Stanford University, its students, its police and its staff members did everything they could. Stanford University takes the issue of sexual assault extremely seriously and has been a national leader in taking concrete steps to implement prevention programs, to train students on the importance of bystander intervention, to provide support to students who may experience sexual assault and to assure that cases are handled fairly and justly.
This was a horrible incident, and we understand the anger and deep emotion it has generated. There is still much work to be done, not just here, but everywhere, to create a culture that does not tolerate sexual violence in any form and a judicial system that deals appropriately with sexual assault cases.
Note to media: Stanford University and the Stanford Department of Public Safety have received many requests for Brock Turner’s mugshot. Stanford does not have the authority to release mugshots. Requests should be made to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office.
Stanford is no doubt taking measures to highlight its cooperative role in the Turner case right as Baylor University has seen three high-level employees go down—its football coach (fired), its president (resigned after being demoted to chancellor) and its athletic director (resigned after being put on probation)—after a report revealed there had been a “fundamental failure” in the school’s process for handling rape accusations against its students, especially when those students were athletes.
Turner was on the Stanford swim team before he sexually assaulted an unconscious 23-year-old old last winter, got caught by a pair of passing cyclists, ran and was eventually apprehended by police. His status as a white male athlete at a prestigious university has been cited by many as a reason for the leniency of his sentence; Turner will serve six months in a country jail before going on probation, despite the fact that the three felony charges carried a maximum sentence of 14 years.
[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Hopefully this will wake people up. I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak even louder.[/quote]
The judge who issued the sentence, Aaron Persky, said he took into consideration Turner’s age and lack of criminal history into account before deciding “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on him.” Persky questionably added that, “There is less moral culpability attached to the defendant who is … intoxicated.”
The victim called the punishment “gentle” and her lawyer said it “did not fit the crime.” The judge’s rather shocking empathy for the convicted sex offender has even spurred a change.org petition calling for Persky to be removed from the bench of the Santa Clara County superior court. The recall campaign is being headed up by Stanford Law Professor Michele Landis Dauber, a friend of the victim’s family, who told The Guardian today, “The judge bent over backwards in order to make an exception … and the message to women and students is ‘you’re on your own,’ and the message to potential perpetrators is, ‘I’ve got your back.’”
So as the University itself washes its hands of Turner, one of its professors, the surrounding community and a large chunk of the internet appear to be gearing up for a long fight against the systemic elements that either promote or passively allow rape culture to persist across the country. As the victim told BuzzFeed when she gave them her statement of impact to publish, “Hopefully this will wake people up. I want the judge to know that he ignited a tiny fire. If anything, this is a reason for all of us to speak even louder.”