Stanford Makes Space to Reflect on Sexual Assault

The site near the Kappa Alpha fraternity house where former Stanford student Brock Turner sexually assaulted an unconscious woman in January 2015 has been turned into what the University’s student newspaper the Stanford Daily is calling a “scenic spot.” The space was created in remembrance of the crime, which drew worldwide attention after the survivor’s impact statement went viral.

Following relandscaping efforts, the site features two benches facing a fountain. The University also plans to add a plaque with a passage from the survivor’s impact statement.

Michele Dauber, a Stanford Law School Professor, proposed the idea of the scenic site to Stanford officials around the same time Brock Turner was released from jail in September of 2016 after serving three months of a six-month sentence. Dauber told the Stanford Daily:

I was really happy that President [Marc] Tessier-Lavigne and Provost [Persis] Drell agreed to re-landscape the area and put the marker in, because it does symbolize the fact that they do want to make progress on this issue. While more is to be done—and of course, I will continue to press for more to be done—I think they deserve substantial credit for agreeing to do this. It is an absolute step in the right direction towards creating community norms and standards around this issue.

Dauber is leading the effort to recall Judge Aaron Persky, who sentenced Turner to only six months in prison—despite being convicted of three counts of felony sexual which could have carried a maximum of 14 years in prison. Survivors and advocates are rallying to oust the judge, who has been blocked from other sexual assault cases due to his tendency to be lenient when sentencing such perpetrators. After a brief setback over the summer, Dauber’s recall campaign is back in the midst of efforts to collect 90,000 signatures before a March 9 deadline for Persky’s name to appear on the June ballot.



Lauren Young is a Ms. contributor. She has a Master’s Degree in European and Russian Studies from Yale University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Russian Civilization from Smith College. Follow her on @thatlaurenyoung.