October 7, 2013
To whom it may concern:
Over the last 15 years, I have been involved in scores of administrative processes administered by middle schools up to law schools and medical schools; from the California Interscholastic Federation to the NCAA. Never have I seen such a lack of due process as that exhibited in the handling of matters by the Stanford Office of Community Standards (OCS).
This is troubling because Stanford adopted a very good Judicial Charter in 1997. The Student Judicial Charter, if followed, would provide good due process to Stanford students.
Individuals who administer the judicial process at Stanford often appear unclear as to their proper role and responsibilities. Their actions and arguments often suggest a lack of familiarity with the 1997 Student Judicial Charter. Most alarming is their willingness to handle cases in a way that appears to me to be in conflict with the Charter itself, even after they have been made aware of Charter provisions.
Every time I have spoken with anyone associated with Stanford about getting higher quality representation for any student charged, their comeback is always “Stanford students do not want lawyers to be involved.” On the other hand, I have yet to meet a student who did not greatly appreciate quality representation after they experienced OCS without representation. The only way to protect our students is quality representation.
Interestingly, whenever Stanford is pressed on a legal issue, they insist on having their lawyers involved, often “high priced” attorneys as they have been described to me. They want attorneys, but do not want their students to have them.
Further, since the right to representation is guaranteed under the 1997 Student Judicial Charter, students with means are already retaining attorneys. It is the students from families without high incomes, or students who do not feel comfortable telling their parents, that are being deprived of quality representation.
This creates a dual system of justice. Those with quality representation get an entirely different experience from OCS than those who are not represented.
Bob Ottilie (’77)
(Representative of multiple students)