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In accordance with the guidelines from Stanford, Santa Clara County and the CDC due to COVID-19, the Dean of Students office is currently operating virtually.  Dean of Students staff will be available for consult via Zoom or phone during standard office hours.  Faculty, staff, students and other members of the Stanford community are encouraged to consult with the office as needed.  

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Acts of Intolerance Protocol

Acts of Intolerance Protocol Working Group

The Acts of Intolerance Protocol was established over 20 years ago.  It was last reviewed just over 10 years ago in 2008.  We are reviewing the protocol now to ensure that the needs of the community are met and that the Protocol aligns with other changes in policies, best practices, and socio-cultural dynamics in higher education today.


I. Introduction to the Current AOI Protocol

The University is committed to providing a safe living and learning environment in which every person is valued and respected, inclusion is assured and free expression and debate are encouraged.

The University accepts the task of educating the next generation of leaders to understand and appreciate the ideas and opinions generated by an increasingly global community. The Acts of Intolerance Protocol establishes a mechanism for addressing situations involving a real or perceived act of intolerance. In such an instance we wish to proceed thoughtfully, providing support to all of those affected, while also affirming that we value differences, free expression and debate as sources of strength for our community.

II. Purpose

This protocol outlines the guidelines for reporting and responding to acts of intolerance for students, the student affairs division and others in the Stanford community. With this protocol in place, staff will be better prepared to provide leadership in effectively addressing acts of intolerance.

The goal of the protocol is to set forth the procedures to be followed when acts of intolerance (or perceived acts of intolerance) occur and to promote a climate of respect. This protocol is not intended to be used as a means of censorship or to limit in any way dialogue and the free expression of opinions and ideas.

Specifically, this protocol establishes:

  • A reporting process for any student who believes that s/he has experienced or observed an act of intolerance.
  • Mechanisms for delivering a rapid response to reported acts of intolerance.
  • A clearly defined consultation process to insure broad collaboration for assessing incidents and allegations.
  • A statement conveying the University's commitment to creating a respectful and civil environment

III. Definitions of Acts of Intolerance

For the purpose of this protocol, an act of intolerance is conduct that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group on the basis of one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics:

  • Gender or gender identity
  • Race or ethnicity
  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Sexual orientation
  • Nationality
  • Age
  • Social or economic class

Some acts of intolerance may rise to the level of a hate crime. A hate crime is any conduct that would be a crime under California or federal laws and which is committed whole or in part because of one or more of the above characteristics (or perceived characteristics) of the target or targets. Hate crimes can include: physical assault, vandalism, threats of harm, criminal harassment, including threatening or repeated telephone calls or electronic communications. It is a violation of both California law and Stanford's Fundamental Standard to commit a hate crime.

Acts of intolerance that do not rise to the level of a hate crime may involve constitutionally protected speech. Engaging in constitutionally protected expressive activities will not subject a student to discipline under the Fundamental Standard.

The University may respond to acts of intolerance through education. Acts of intolerance, (or perceived acts of intolerance), will be addressed by the University on a case-by-case basis.

IV. Guiding Principles for Responding to Reported Acts of Intolerance

A. Attention to the target and community impacted by an act of intolerance:

When an act of intolerance (real or perceived) has occurred, immediate attention will focus on the well-being of the target and the community members impacted by the incident.

B. Attention to the perpetrator or alleged perpetrator:

When an act of intolerance has occurred and a student has been identified as the alleged perpetrator, she/he will be treated fairly.

If the matter has been referred to a law enforcement agency (i.e., police), Stanford will adhere to its non-interference policy. Referral to a law enforcement agency will not preclude Stanford from following its own policies and procedures to address student conduct.