Skip to content Skip to navigation

Print Policies

1.1.1 University Code of Conduct

Last updated on:
07/23/2018
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
1

This Guide Memo defines the University's Code of Conduct.

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

Applicability: 

The Code applies to these groups of people, referred to as members of the Stanford University Community:

  • Faculty, staff, students and postdoctoral scholars of Stanford University;
  • Members of the Board of Trustees;
  • Consultants, contractors and others, when performing services for the University or interacting with members of the University Community, acting on behalf of the University, or otherwise required under contract to comply with this Code; and
  • Individuals who perform services for the University as volunteers.

1. Introduction and Purpose

a. Introduction
All members of the University Community are responsible for sustaining the high ethical standards of this institution, and of the broader community in which we function. The University values integrity, diversity, respect, freedom of inquiry and expression, trust, honesty and fairness and strives to integrate these values into its education, research, health care and business practices.

b. Purpose
In that spirit, this Code is a shared statement of our commitment to upholding the ethical, professional and legal standards we use as the basis for our daily and long-term decisions and actions. We all must be aware of and comply with the relevant policies, standards, laws and regulations that guide our work. We are each individually accountable for our own actions and, as members of the University Community, are collectively accountable for upholding these standards of behavior and for compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and policies.

Back to top

2. Standards of Integrity and Quality

Stanford recognizes that it must earn and maintain a reputation for integrity that includes, but is not limited to, compliance with laws and regulations and its contractual obligations. Even the appearance of misconduct or impropriety can be damaging to the University. Stanford must strive at all times to maintain the highest standards of integrity and quality.

There are times when Stanford's business activities and other conduct of its University Community members are not governed by specific laws or regulations. In these instances, rules of fairness, honesty, and respect for the rights of others will govern our conduct at all times.

In addition, each individual is required to conduct University business transactions with the utmost honesty, accuracy and fairness. Each situation needs to be examined in accordance with this standard. No unethical practice can be tolerated, even if such practice is "customary" outside of Stanford or even if some of the goals it serves are worthy. Expediency should never compromise integrity.

Back to top

3. Respect for Others

Stanford University is an institution dedicated to the pursuit of excellence and facilitation of an environment that fosters this goal. Central to that institutional commitment is the principle of treating each University Community member fairly and with respect, and embracing diversity and inclusion. See Statement from the President and Provost on Advancing Free Speech and Inclusion.

The University prohibits discrimination and harassment and provides equal opportunities for all Community members and applicants regardless of their race, color, religious creed, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. Where actions are found to have occurred that violate this standard the University will take prompt action to cease the offending conduct, prevent its recurrence and discipline those responsible. Find policies in support of this standard at these locations:

Back to top

4. Compliance with Laws and Applicable Policies and Procedures

Members of the Stanford University Community must transact University business in compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and University policy and procedure. Managers and supervisors are responsible for teaching and monitoring compliance. When questions arise pertaining to interpretation or applicability of policy, contact the individual who has oversight of the policy. Refer all unresolved questions and/or interpretation of laws and regulations to the Office of the General Counsel. University-wide policy documents can be found at policy.stanford.edu.

a. Contractual, Grant and Other Obligations
The acceptance of an agreement, including sponsored project funding, may create a legal obligation on the part of Stanford University to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement and applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, only individuals who have authority delegated by an appropriate University official may enter into agreements on behalf of the University. See Administrative Guide Memo 5.1.1 Procurement Policies.

b. Environmental Health & Safety, including Workplace Health and Safety
Members of the University Community must be committed to protecting the health and safety of its members by providing safe workplaces. The University will provide information and training about health and safety hazards, and safeguards. University Community members must adhere to good health and safety practices and comply with all environmental health and safety laws and regulations. See Stanford Health and Safety Training Policies.

c. Non-University Professional Standards
Some professions and disciplines represented at the University are governed by standards and codes specific to their profession (such as attorneys, certified public accountants, and medical doctors). Those professional standards generally advance the quality of the profession and/or discipline by developing codes of ethics, conduct, and professional responsibility and standards to guide their members. Those belonging to such organizations are expected to adhere to University policies and codes of conduct in addition to any professional standards. If a University Community member believes there is a conflict between a professional standard and University policy, he/she should contact the Office of the General Counsel.

d. Academic Policies
See Academic Policies and Statements on the Stanford Bulletin website for academic policies.

Back to top

5. Confidentiality, Privacy and Information Security

University Community members receive and generate various types of confidential, regulated, proprietary and private information on behalf of the University. All members of the Community are expected to comply with all applicable rules, laws, and regulations (whether federal, state, local or foreign), contractual obligations, and University policies pertaining to the use, protection and disclosure of this information. When disaffiliating from Stanford, University Community members must return all sensitive University data unless an exception has been granted.

Find office websites and supporting policies at the following locations:

 

Back to top

6. Financial Responsibilities and Internal Controls

Members of the University Community are expected to employ sound business practices and exercise prudent financial management in their stewardship of University resources. Refer to Section 3 of the Administrative Guide for responsibilities related to protection and management of University financial assets.

 

Back to top

7. Use of University Resources

University resources must be reserved for business purposes on behalf of the University. They may not be used for personal gain, and may not be used for personal use except in a manner that is incidental, and reasonable in light of the employee's duties. University resources include, but are not limited to:

  • University systems (e.g., telephone systems, data communication and networking services),
  • The Stanford domain for electronic communication forums,
  • Stanford name, logo, and letterhead,
  • University equipment (e.g., computers and peripherals, University vehicles),
  • Stanford facilities,
  • Procurement tools such as purchasing cards, travel cards and petty cash,
  • University records including student, employee, donor, sponsor, and patient records, and
  • The time and effort of staff, students and others at Stanford.

Please see the following policies for more information:

 

Back to top

8. Conflict of Commitment/Conflict of Interest

University Community members who are Stanford faculty and staff owe their primary professional allegiance to the University and its mission to engage in the highest level of education, research, health care and business practices.

A conflict of commitment can arise when a person’s external activities, e.g., consulting agreements, speaking engagements, public service, personal business, etc. interfere with the person’s responsibilities to the university. A conflict of commitment usually involves issues of time allocation.

Outside professional activities, private financial interests or the receipt of benefits or gifts from third parties can cause an actual or perceived conflict of interest.

Relationships between Stanford and its vendors or sponsors must be free of any real or perceived impropriety or favoritism. University Community members should not solicit any gift, and should not personally accept any material gift, gratuity or payment, in cash or in kind, from any third party seeking to do business with the University or currently doing business with the University.

In order to protect our primary mission, University Community members with other professional or financial interests shall disclose them in compliance with applicable conflict of commitment/conflict of interest policies and, if permitted, manage them in compliance with all controls put in place. The policies are available on the following websites:

Back to top

9. Response to Governmental or Other Investigations

Stanford University is committed to cooperating with government investigators as required by law. If an employee receives a subpoena, search warrant or other similar document, before taking any action, the employee must immediately contact the Office of the Chief Risk Officer or the Office of the General Counsel. The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for authorizing the release or copying of any University records or documents.

If a government investigator, agent, or auditor comes to the University, an employee should contact his/her supervisor and the appropriate University office before discussing University business with such investigator, agent, or auditor. If the appropriate office is unknown, the supervisor should contact the Office of the Chief Risk Officer or the Office of the General Counsel.

Back to top

10. Reporting Suspected Violations

Adherence to this Code also requires that any suspected violations of applicable standards, policies, laws or regulations be brought to the attention of the appropriate cognizant office. Raising such concerns is a service to the University and does not jeopardize the University Community member’s position or employment.

a. Reporting to Management
Members of the University Community should report suspected violations of applicable laws, regulations, government contract and grant requirements or this Code and University policies and procedures. This reporting should normally be made initially through standard management channels, beginning with the immediate supervisor, instructor or advisor. If for any reason it is not appropriate to report suspected violations to the immediate supervisor (e.g., the suspected violation is by the supervisor), or the employee is uncomfortable doing so, individuals may go to a higher level of management within their school or department.

b. Other Reporting

If for any reason it is not appropriate to report suspected violations through management channels within the school or departments, or the employee is uncomfortable doing so, individuals may go to:

  • Human Resources,
  • The Office of the Chief Risk Officer,
  • The Office of the General Counsel,  
  • The Office for Institutional Equity and Access,
  • The Compliance and Ethics Helpline at:

Every concern is treated seriously and reviewed in the appropriate manner.

c. Confidentiality
Concerns may be reported confidentially, and even anonymously, although the more information given, the easier it is to investigate the concerns. The only anonymous reporting mechanism at the University is the Compliance and Ethics Helpline web form: helpline.stanford.edu.

d. Cooperation
All members of the University Community are expected to cooperate fully in the investigation of potential violations of University policy and applicable rules, laws, or regulations.

e. Non-Retaliation

Stanford policy prohibits retaliation against an individual who in good faith reports or provides information about concerns or suspected violations. Retaliation is an adverse action taken because an individual has made a report or has participated in an investigation. An adverse action is any action that materially affects that individual's standing or terms and conditions of employment. False accusations made with the intent of harming or retaliating against another person may subject the accuser to disciplinary action. 

f. Consequences of Violation

Confirmed violations will result in appropriate disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or other relationships with the University. In some circumstances, civil or criminal charges and penalties may apply. 

 

 

Back to top

1.2.1 University Organization

Last updated on:
06/22/2015
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
11

This Guide Memo describes the governing organization of the University. Lists of the current names of both administrative and academic officers are published in the Stanford University Bulletin and in the Stanford University Faculty/Staff Directory.

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

1. Founding of the University

a. Founding Grant
The Leland Stanford Junior University was founded by Senator and Mrs. Leland Stanford on November 11, 1885, in memory of their only child. The founding of the University was accomplished by a Grant of Endowment after Senator Stanford had procured passage on March 9, 1885, of an enabling act by the legislature of the State of California. The Founding Grant conveyed to trustees certain properties, directed that a university be established, and outlined the objectives and government of the university.

b. Amendments
The Founding Grant reserved to the Founders the right to amend the Grant. In the years following the death of Senator Stanford in 1893, Mrs. Stanford made several amendments in the form of addresses to the Board of Trustees on such points as the nonsectarian, nonpartisan nature of the University, the powers of the President, duties of the Trustees, financial management, housing on campus, gifts from others than the Founders, summer schools, research, and tuition.

c. Legislation and Court Decrees
The University operated under the Founding Grant without complications until Senator Stanford's death. However, some problems became apparent in connection with the transfer of the trust money to the Trustees, the taxation of property and revenue, and the legal status of the University. Provisions were presented to and approved by the California legislature to correct defects, and the Trustees were authorized to petition the courts for judicial decrees in matters concerning the legal status of the University and the role of the Trustees.

d. Information About the Founding
Detailed accounts of the steps taken in the founding of Stanford University, the texts of the various legal documents, and the history of the University are in the University Archives in the Green Library. The University also publishes a booklet, The Founding Grant with Amendments, Legislation, and Court Decrees, and a listing of some general works of history can be found in the bibliography of the Faculty Handbook

Back to top

2. The Board of Trustees

a. Powers and Duties
The Board of Trustees is custodian of the endowment and all the properties of the University. The Board administers the invested fund, sets the annual budget, and determines policies for operation and control of the University. The powers and duties of the Board of Trustees derive from The Founding Grant, Amendments, Legislation, and Court Decrees. In addition, the Board operates under its own bylaws and a series of resolutions of major policy.

b. Membership
Board membership is set at a maximum of 38 including the President of the University, who serves ex officio and with vote. Eight of the Trustees are elected or appointed in accordance with the Rules Governing the Election or Appointment of Alumni Nominated Trustees. All members of the Board serve five-year terms and, in general, are eligible to serve two such consecutive terms (except alumni nominated trustees, who serve one five-year term only).

c. Officers of the Board
The Officers of the Board are the chair, one or more vice chairs, the secretary, and the associate secretary. Officers are elected to one-year terms, with the exception of the Chair, who serves a two-year term. Their terms of office begin July 1.

d. Committees
The six standing committees of the Board are the Committee on Audit, Compliance and Risk; the Committee on Development; the Committee on Finance; the Committee on Land and Buildings; the Committee on Student, Alumni and External Affairs; and the Committee on Trusteeship. Standing committees meet prior to each regular Board meeting unless otherwise directed by the Chair.

e. Meetings
The Board generally meets five times each year, in October, December, February, April and June. Meetings are normally on the second Tuesday of the month.

Back to top

3. The President

a. Appointment
Among the powers given to the Trustees by the Founding Grant is the power and duty to appoint a President of the University, who shall not at the time of appointment be one of their number, and to remove him or her at will. In accordance with the by-laws of the Board of Trustees, the President of the University shall be appointed or removed only by the affirmative vote of a majority of the Board of Trustees.

b. Powers and Duties
The by-laws and resolutions of the Board of Trustees set forth the following duties of the President of the University in addition to those he derives from the Founding Grant or by office:

  • "He shall be responsible for the management of the University and all its departments, including the operation of the physical plant and the administration of the University's business activities."
  • "The President shall report to the Board at each regular meeting on problems and progress of the University, and he shall make recommendations for action."
  • "In conformance with general objectives approved by the Board, he shall be responsible for preparation of the annual University operating budget and other annual budgets as specified. He shall submit these budgets to the Board for review and subsequent action and shall submit periodic reports to the Board on the status of plans and projections basic to preparation of budgets for succeeding years."

c. Appointment of Staff
To assist in the performance of presidential duties, the President of the University, with the approval of the Board, appoints and prescribes the powers and duties of a Provost, a Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer, a Vice President for Medical Affairs, a Vice President for Development, and a General Counsel. The President of the University, with the approval of the Board, may appoint and prescribe the powers and duties of other officers and employees as the President may deem proper.

d. Absence or Inability to Act
In the absence or inability to act of the President, the Provost shall be Acting President and shall perform the duties of the President of the University. If both the President and the Provost are unable to act or otherwise believe the circumstances warrant, the President (or Provost when functioning as President) may designate one or more persons to act on the President's behalf. In emergencies, the Chair of the Board of Trustees may designate one or more persons to act on the President's behalf or as Acting President and, if the tenure exceeds 30 days, such designation must be confirmed by the Board.

Back to top

4. The Provost

a. Responsibilities
The Provost, as the chief academic and budget officer, administers the academic program (instruction and research in schools and other unaffiliated units) and University services in support of the academic program (student affairs, libraries, information resources, and institutional planning). In the absence or inability of the President to act, the Provost becomes the Acting President of the University.

b. Principal Staff
The principal staff officers of the Provost are shown in the organization chart in Guide Memo 9.2.1.

Back to top

5. The University Cabinet

a. Membership
Chaired by the President, membership of the University Cabinet includes the Provost, Deans of the seven Schools, the Vice Provost and Dean of Research, the Director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, the Director of the Hoover Institution, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

b. Responsibilities
The primary function of the University Cabinet is to recommend and review principles, policies, and rules of University-wide significance. Its purpose is to assure the centrality of academic objectives in the work of the University. The President and the Provost seek the Cabinet's advice on issues of University direction, policy and planning including but not limited to:

  • Long range planning for faculty and academic program development
  • Strategic planning on financial, facilities and fund-raising matters
  • Faculty and student affairs
  • Personnel policies

The Cabinet advises the President and Provost on other matters as appropriate.

Back to top

1.3.1 Academic Governance

Last updated on:
09/01/2004
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
13

The following briefly summarizes the roles of various faculty groups on issues that affect the academic policy of the University. Detailed descriptions of the academic organization of the University may be found in the Faculty Handbook and the Senate and Committee Handbook. Questions concerning academic governance may be directed to the Office of the Academic Secretary to the University.

1. Academic Council

a. How Formed
Includes the Tenure Line Faculty, Non-Tenure Line Faculty, Senior Fellows at specified policy centers and institutes, and specified academic administrative officers. (Does not include Medical Center Line Faculty or Center Fellows at specified policy centers and institutes.)

b. Role

Vested by Board of Trustees with all powers and authority of the faculty. Delegates functions to the Senate of the Academic Council, but retains review and referendum rights.

Back to top

2. Advisory Board of the Academic Council

a. How Formed
Elected by Academic Council from among its members

b. Role
  • Receives recommendations for appointments to professoriate that have originated in departments and have been approved by school Deans and Provost. 
  • Makes recommendations to the President on faculty appointments, promotions and dismissals, and on creation and dissolution of departments, etc. 
  • Holds hearings in cases which arise under the Statement on Faculty Discipline and in certain cases the Statement on Academic Freedom and the Statement on Faculty Grievance Procedures.

Back to top

3. Senate of the Academic Council

a. How Formed
Elected by Academic Council from among its members.

b. Role
  • Makes decisions on academic policy; reports decisions to Academic Council. 
  • Hears reports and discusses matters of importance to the faculty. 

Back to top

4. Chair and Steering Committee of the Senate

a. How Formed
Elected by Senate from among its members plus the President (or Provost) as a non-voting member.

b. Role
Directs the business of the Senate
 

Back to top

5. Committee on Committees (of the Senate)

a. How Formed
Appointed by Steering Committee from among members of the Senate.

b. Role
  • Appoints faculty members to Committees of the Academic Council. 
  • Nominates faculty members to University Committees, Panels, and Boards. 
  • Advises as requested on membership in other committees. 

Back to top

6. Planning and Policy Board (of the Senate)

a. How Formed
Appointed by Committee on Committees and Steering Committee from among members of the Academic Council.

b. Role
Exercises, on behalf of the faculty as a whole, responsibility for the general academic health of the University, examining long-term trends and formulating academic policy issues for further consideration.

Back to top

7. Committees of the Academic Council

The Committees of the Academic Council include:

  • Academic Computing & Information Systems (C-ACIS) 
  • Graduate Studies (C-GS) 
  • Libraries (C-Lib) 
  • Research (C-Res) 
  • Review of Undergraduate Majors (C-RUM) 
  • Undergraduate Admission & Financial Aid (C-UAFA) 
  • Undergraduate Standards and Policy (C-USP) 

a. How Formed
Faculty members appointed by Committee on Committees from among members of the Academic Council. Student members nominated by ASSU. 

b. Role
Make recommendations to the Senate on academic policy matters as laid out in committee charges. 

Back to top

8. Departmental Professoriate

a. How Formed
Members of Academic Council, appointed by Board of Trustees to department.

b. Role
Directs the work of instruction in department and internal administration of department. 

Back to top

1.4.1 Academic and Business Relationships With Third Parties

Last updated on:
08/11/2014
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
14

From time to time, the University enters into agreements with various independent entities that may result in an ongoing business or academic relationship with the University. For example, entities with current relationships include Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Stanford Bookstore, Inc., and Stanford Federal Credit Union.

Although these types of entities remain independent from the University, nonetheless, the nature of the relationships makes it desirable to outline how the relationships might be structured. This Guide Memo also provides guidance to University officers, faculty and staff concerning issues that might arise and that need to be addressed prior to entering into such third party agreements.

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

1. General Guidelines

a. Potential Issues
The agreement between the University and the other entity should make adequate provision for issues that may be called into play by the nature of the proposed relationship. Such issues might include the following:

  • Potential property tax or unrelated business income tax imposed on the University
  • Failure to appropriately file for a property tax exemption associated with leases of on-campus or off-campus space
  • Government contract and similar allocation issues
  • Vicarious liability to the University and indemnities
  • Issues relating to public image or government scrutiny
  • Effects on legal compliance of University benefit plans
  • All aspects of land use and landowner issues regarding environmental matters
  • The potential for liens or claims against Stanford property or assets
  • Fraud and abuse issues in the medical area
  • Employment law issues
  • Private inurement or private use where University assets, income or facilities may be used in a way that benefits or results in profits to private individuals or entities
  • Utilities issues
  • Conflicts of interest
  • The potential triggering of other statutes or governmental regulations

b. Definition of Relationship
The agreement should provide a clear definition of the nature of the relationship and of any responsibilities or obligations undertaken by the parties. The agreement should also address appropriate limitations on those responsibilities or obligations in both time and scope; the defense and indemnification of the University in the event of suit or other adverse action; the need for the University to be named as an additional insured on policies of insurance; the right of the University to review financial records of the entity, where appropriate in light of the relationship; and a date for termination or reevaluation of the agreement and relationship.

c. Form of Agreement
A detailed contract will not always be necessary; often a well-drafted business letter agreement may suffice. Whatever form the agreement takes, the other parties need to understand that the University does not seek to intrude inappropriately into the internal affairs of the other parties and in no way is taking on responsibility for their actions—except as to specified actions (if any) for specific reasons that are relevant to the relationship and are clearly delineated in the agreement.

Land, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE)/Real Estate department  must receive a copy of any lease agreement made with third parties, for consideration of property tax or property tax exemption issues.

Back to top

2. Approvals and Consultations

a. Delegated Authority
The appropriate office or offices for reviewing and/or approving an agreement will depend upon the areas in which the proposed relationship arises. In this regard, please refer to the relevant resolutions and memoranda concerning delegations of authority by the University President, Vice Presidents and other senior officers. For more information concerning such delegations, contact the Office of the Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

b. Cognizant Offices
The following are examples of elements that may be present or contemplated and the corresponding office that needs to be consulted and whose approval generally will be required in connection with that element:

Element Office
Use of buildings or other facilities on Stanford academic land
Land, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE)/University Architect/Campus Planning and Design (UA/CPD)
Use of buildings or other facilities on 
Stanford non-academic land
LBRE/Real Estate department
Application for appropriate property tax exemption in connection with any on-campus or off-campus lease
LBRE/Real Estate department
Use of Stanford's accounting or payroll systems
Controller's Office
Use of Stanford's benefits programs Benefits Department
Reliance on Stanford's insurance or self-insurance Office of Risk Management
Use of Stanford's networks or computing resources
Executive Director of IT Services
Use of Stanford's purchasing services Purchasing Department
Use of Stanford University Medical Center services or facilities
The Dean of the School of Medicine, the Chief Executive Officer of Stanford Health Care or the Chief Executive Officer of Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital (for activities involving their respective organizations) 
Use of the Stanford name, marks or tax identification number 
The Provost (for activities involving teaching or research), the Dean of the School of Medicine (for matters involving any medical activities at the School of Medicine), the Chief Executive Officer of Stanford Health Care (for matters involving any medical activities at Stanford Health Care), the Chief Executive Officer of Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital (for matters involving any medical activities at Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital), the Director of Business Development (for matters involving use of Stanford tradenames or products or services offered for sale to the general public) and the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer (in all other situations)
Personnel Appointments (of the entity's personnel to Stanford's faculty or staff, or of Stanford personnel to the staff or governing body of the entity)
The Provost (for activities involving teaching or research), the Dean of the School of Medicine (for matters involving  medical activities), and the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer (in all other situations)
Toxic or Hazardous Materials Office of Environmental Health and Safety
Campus Sales (by Outside vendors) The Director of Business Development
Income to Stanford Controller's Office
Licensing of Technology Office of Technology Licensing 

c. Guidance on Legal or Liability Issues
As a general proposition, if the arrangement presents novel legal issues, or if the Stanford entities involved in the relationship would like general legal guidance, the Office of the General Counsel should also be consulted. Similarly, the Risk Management Department should be consulted on proposed relationships that raise risk or liability concerns, or whenever Stanford personnel expect their activities (whether on-site or off-site) to be covered by the University's policies of insurance and self-insurance.

Back to top

3. Situations not Covered By This Guide Memo

The following situations or types of agreements are not covered by this Guide Memo:

  • Conferences and summer camps
  • Arrangements with individuals to become visiting scholars
  • Consulting agreements with individuals
  • Externally-sponsored projects and gift-supported programs
  • Financial investments managed by the Stanford Management Company
  • Real estate investments managed by LBRE
  • The procurement of goods or services for University use in the ordinary course of business
  • Normal business and licensing transactions entered into by the Office of Technology Licensing

Back to top

Additional guidance on issues raised in this Guide Memo may be found in the following sources:

Guide Memo 1.5.2: Staff Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest
Research Policy Handbook Document 4.1: Faculty Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest
Guide Memo 1.5.3: Unrelated Business Activities
Guide Memo 8.2.1: University Events
Guide Memo 8.2.2: Conferences

Back to top

1.5.1 Political, Campaign and Lobbying Activities

Last updated on:
09/24/2020
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
15.1

Stanford University supports the expression and discussion of ideas and opinions and encourages members of the University community to be informed and engaged citizens. At the same time, however, Stanford is subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations regarding political activities, such as campaign activities, lobbying, and the giving of gifts to public officials. This results in part because of the University’s status as a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity.  

While all members of the University community may express their political opinions and engage in political activities, it is very important that they do so only in their individual capacities and avoid even the appearance that they are speaking or acting for the University in political matters. The University expressly disavows any political opinions or activities that are not made in accordance with these provisions: such opinions and activities are not authorized and may not be attributed to the University.

In the limited circumstances where individuals must speak or act on behalf of the University regarding political issues, they must do so in accordance with the provisions of this Guide Memo.

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

Applicability: 

This policy applies to all members of the University community (including current faculty, students and staff).

a. Campaign Activities
Contributions of money, goods, or services to candidates for political office, political parties or political action committees, and in support of or opposition to ballot measure campaigns are subject to a wide variety of political laws. Depending on the jurisdiction and the campaign, political contributions may be prohibited or limited and, in nearly all cases, are subject to a complicated series of disclosure rules. Because of the University's tax-exempt status, the University is legally prohibited from endorsing or opposing candidates for political office or making any contribution of money, goods, or services to candidates, political parties or political action committees. It is important, therefore, that no person cause the University to make such a contribution.

b. Lobbying
Lobbying can generally be described as any attempt to influence the action of any legislative body (e.g., Congress, state legislatures, county boards, city councils and their staffs) or any federal, state, or local government agency. Laws regulating lobbying exist at the federal, state, and local levels and can differ widely in scope, depending on the jurisdiction. Some laws, for example, only regulate lobbying of the legislative branch. Others, however, also cover lobbying of administrative agencies and officers in the executive branch (e.g., lobbying for federally-funded grants). To one degree or another, however, most lobbying laws require registration and reporting by individuals engaged in attempts to influence governmental action.

Tax-exempt organizations are permitted to lobby, and the University engages in lobbying on a limited number of issues, mostly those affecting education, research, and related activities. There is usually some threshold of time or money spent on lobbying that triggers registration and reporting requirements. Regardless of thresholds, however, no University employee—other than the following individuals, on matters under their jurisdiction—may lobby on behalf of the University without specific authorization:

  • President
  • Provost
  • Deans of the Seven Schools
  • Vice Provost and Dean of Research
  • Vice Provost for Graduate Education
  • Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer
  • Vice President of Human Resources
  • Vice President for Land, Buildings and Real Estate
  • Director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
  • Director of the Hoover Institution
  • General Counsel
  • Vice President for External Relations
  • Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs

The Vice Provost and Dean of Research may grant permission to faculty members to lobby on behalf of the University for specific purposes. The Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs may grant permission to staff members to lobby on behalf of the University for specific purposes. All lobbying on behalf of the University should be coordinated with the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs. Please see the Federal Lobbying Guidelines for Stanford Faculty and Staff in the Research Policy Handbook.

c. Giving of Gifts to Public Officials and Staff
Almost all jurisdictions have strict rules on the extent to which gifts and honoraria may be given to public officials (both elected and non-elected officials and, often, staff). In some cases gifts and honoraria are prohibited; in others they are limited; and in most cases they are subject to detailed disclosure. In addition, in some jurisdictions, such as California, gifts to both state and local public officials can result in a public official's disqualification from participation in any governmental action affecting the interests of the donor. Meals, travel, and entertainment are the most common types of gifts, but gift rules can also apply in cases where public officials attend a reception or receive tickets to sporting or other events.

As a non-profit organization, the University generally does not give gifts to public officials and, in those limited cases where it does give such gifts, it must do so in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations. Therefore, any University employee who, on behalf of the University, wishes to make a gift to a public official must receive prior approval from the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs before making such a gift.

d. Reporting of Political Activities
The University must report most of its political activities above certain thresholds. Therefore, any University employee engaging in such activities on behalf of the University should carefully review the remainder of this Guide Memo and should discuss the relevant activities in advance with the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs.

Back to top

2. Prohibited and Restricted Political, Campaign and Lobbying Activities

a. In General:

(1) No person may, on behalf of the University, engage in any political campaign activity in support of or opposition to any candidate for elective public office (including giving or receiving funds or endorsements), political party or political action committee, nor shall any University resources be used for such purpose.

(2) No person may, on behalf of the University, lobby (or use University resources to lobby) any federal, state, or local legislative or administrative official or staff member unless specifically authorized to do so. Any lobbying activity, even when authorized, must be conducted in compliance with this Guide Memo, other applicable University policies, and applicable law. University resources include, but are not limited to, Interdepartmental Mail, equipment, personnel, supplies, computer resources, and email lists. See, e.g., Administrative Guide Memo 6.2.1(2)(c)(4), Computer and Network Usage Policy.

(3) No person may, on behalf of the University, give a gift (or use any University resources to give a gift) to any federal, state, or local official or staff member, except in compliance with this Guide Memo, other applicable University policies, and applicable law.

(4) No person supporting or opposing candidates for public office, political parties or political action or engaging in other political campaign activities may use University space or facilities or receive University support, except in the limited ways described in section 3.a.

(5) No person may use for lobbying activities federally-funded contract or grant money received by the University.

Even the foregoing activities that are only restricted, rather than prohibited, may be subject to limitations imposed by law. Therefore, any person engaging in the activity, or contemplating doing so, should consult with the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs (who will consult with the General Counsel's Office). SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory may have additional restrictions related to political activity; for guidance specific to SLAC, contact SLAC's Communication Department.

b. Guidelines for Avoiding Prohibited Political, Campaign and Lobbying Activities
The following guidelines should assist in preventing the involvement or apparent involvement of the University in political activities, such as in support of or opposition to any candidate for elective public office (including both partisan and non-partisan elections). Except in the limited circumstances set forth in section 3.b., below:

(1) Use of Name and Seal
Neither the name nor seal of the University or of any of its schools, departments, or institutions should be used on letters or other materials intended to influence such political elections.

(2) Use of Address and Telephones
No University office should be used as a return mailing address for such political mailings, and telephone service that is paid by the University, likewise, should not be used for such political purposes. (A student's dormitory room and telephone service that are personal to the student may be used for these purposes.)

(3) Use of Title
The University title of a faculty or staff member or other person should be used only for identification and should be accompanied by a statement that the person is speaking as an individual and not as a representative of the University.

(4) Use of Services, Resources and Equipment
University services (such as Interdepartmental Mail), equipment and other resources (such as copy machines, computers and computer resources, email lists, and telephones) and supplies should not be used for such political purposes.

(5) Use of Personnel
No University employee may, as part of his or her job, be asked to perform tasks in any way related to prohibited political purposes.

Back to top

3. Permissible Political Activities

a. In General
As noted above, the federal, state, and local laws which limit the political activities that can take place in University facilities and with University support in no way inhibit the expression of personal political views by any individual in the University community. Nor do they forbid faculty, students, or staff from joining others in support of candidates for office or in furtherance of political causes, including political activities that are permitted in this Guide. There is no restriction on discussion of political issues or teaching of political techniques. Academic endeavors which address public policy issues are in no way prohibited or constrained. See, e.g., the Office of Special Events and Protocol Political Activities Policy and the Office of Student Engagement Political Activities Policy.

Because the University encourages freedom of expression, there is an array of political activities which do not reasonably imply University involvement or identification that may be undertaken so long as University procedures are followed for use of facilities. Examples of permissible activities are:

(1) Use of areas, such as White Plaza, by registered Stanford student organizations, University schools, institutes, and recognized departments for tables, speeches, and other permissible activities--subject to approval by the Office of Student Engagement (for student activities) or the Office of Special Events and Protocol (for school, department or institute activities).

(2) Use of auditoriums or outdoor spaces for speeches by political candidates who are speaking in a non-candidate capacity and subject to rules of the Internal Revenue Service, the Federal Election Commission, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission, and other applicable laws and University policies. These events must be organized by registered Stanford student organizations or University schools, institutes, and recognized departments. Arrangements must be made with the Office of Special Events and Protocol or the Office of Student Engagement, in consultation with the Office of Government Affairs, and are subject to policies that have been established by those offices for non-candidate capacity appearances (including no signage or distribution of campaign materials, no solicitation of votes or donations, etc.). See, e.g., https://osep.stanford.edu/policies/political-activities-policy and  https://ose.stanford.edu/policies/political-activities. These policies also apply to all virtual events, webinars and symposia using varied software technologies. See also the University Events policy and the Stanford Event Organizer for more information.

Non-Stanford entities are prohibited from inviting media to the Stanford University campus for any events. Stanford schools, institutes, recognized departments, and registered student organizations interested in press/media participation must work with University Communications and the Office of Government Affairs and adhere to university press/media policies. The University will have sole responsibility for deciding whether the press/media will be invited to the event and will handle any such invitations.

To reiterate, because tax and political compliance laws impose restrictions, or prohibitions, on certain political activities and on the use of buildings and equipment at a non-profit institution such as the University, any such activities must be in compliance with these legal requirements. Similarly, any activities must comply with local, county, state and federal and University guidelines regarding health and safety requirements, such as with regard to COVID-19.

Individuals taking political positions for themselves or groups with which they are associated, but not as representatives of the University, should clearly state, by words (such as an express disclaimer) and actions, that their positions are not those of the University and are not being taken in an official capacity on behalf of the University. 

b. Limited University Political Activities
Limited activities relating to specific federal, state, or local legislation or ballot initiatives are permissible where (1) the subject matter is directly related to core interests of the University's activities; (2) the President has determined that the University should take a position; and (3) the individuals who speak or write on the University's behalf are specifically authorized to do so.

Back to top

4. Research Involving Political Campaigns

Any Stanford researcher considering doing research involving current or future elections or political campaigns should confer with the Vice Provost and Dean of Research (who will consult with the General Counsel's Office for any legal restrictions, and should submit the research proposal in advance to Stanford's Institutional Review Board as appropriate under its policies and procedures.

Back to top

5. Responsibility for Interpretation

The Vice President for External Relations, in consultation with the Senior Associate Vice President for Government Affairs, and/or the General Counsel, is the administrative officer responsible for interpretation and application of the above guidelines. Questions on whether planned student activities are consistent with the University's obligations should be directed to the Office of Student Engagement, which will consult with the Vice President for External Relations. All other questions on whether planned school, department or institute or other activities are consistent with the University's obligations should be addressed directly to the Office of Special Events & Protocol, which will consult with the Vice President for External Relations.

Back to top

1.5.2 Staff Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest

Last updated on:
08/30/2012
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
15.2
Authority: 

Approved by the Vice President of Human Resources.

Applicability: 

Members of the Academic Council are covered by Research Policy Handbook 4.1: Faculty Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest. Academic Staff are covered by Research Policy Handbook 4.4: Conflict of Commitment and Interest. This Guide Memo summarizes existing policies and practices applicable to other University employees. Additional University policies are applicable to employees in individual departments and units, e.g., SLAC, Sponsored Projects and Purchasing Services. Individuals who use the department's services must follow the department's policies.

Purpose: 

When University staff members, or members of their immediate families (defined below), have significant financial interests in, or consulting or employment arrangements with, other business concerns, it is important to avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest between their University obligations and their outside interests.

In addition to the conflict of interest concerns mentioned above—which apply to all University staff—Stanford staff members who are exempt from governmental regulations regarding compensation for overtime work owe their primary professional allegiance to the University. Care should be taken so that external activities do not result in inappropriate conflicts of commitment, i.e., conflicts regarding allocation of time and energies.

In order to preclude inappropriate actual or apparent conflicts of interest or conflicts of commitment, this Guide Memo sets forth related University policies and procedures.

1. Definitions

a. Significant Financial Interest
Current or pending ownership interest in an entity amounting to at least one-half percent (0.5%) of the company's equity or at least $10,000 in ownership interest (except when the ownership is managed by a third party such as a mutual fund).

b. Immediate Family Member
Spouse, dependent child as determined by the Internal Revenue Service, domestic partner.

c. Cognizant University Officer
President, Provost, Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, Deans, Directors of SLAC, Hoover Institute and Athletics, and the University Librarian.

Back to top

2. Policy

The following actions on the part of staff members are prohibited:

a. Personal Gain
Transmitting to outsiders or otherwise using for personal gain University-funded or supported property, work products, results, materials, property records or information developed with University funding or other support.

b. Confidential or Privileged Information
Using for personal gain or other unauthorized purposes, confidential or privileged information acquired in connection with the individual's University-supported activities. Confidential or privileged information is non-public information pertaining to the operation of any part of the University including, but not limited to, documents so designated, medical, personnel, or security records of individuals; anticipated material requirements or price actions; knowledge of possible new sites for University-supported operations; knowledge of forthcoming programs or of selections of contractors or subcontractors in advance of official announcements; and knowledge of investment decisions. Questions about confidential information may be referred to the University Privacy Officer at privacyofficer@stanford.edu.

c. Approvals
Participation in negotiating or giving final approval to financial or other business transactions between the University and other organizations in which the individual or an immediate family member has a Significant Financial Interest or with which the individual or an Immediate Family Member has an employment or consulting arrangement.

All staff should also note that originating or approving financial or other business transactions between the University and other organizations with which the staff member has any financial or family ties (even those not rising to the level of Significant Financial Interest or constituting an Immediate Family Member) may create the appearance of a conflict of interest. It is required that all such situations be disclosed in writing to the cognizant University officer and this disclosure should be documented and retained for the duration of the business relationship.

d. Gratuities and Special Favors
Acceptance of gratuities, unsolicited gifts exceeding $50 in value, solicited gifts in any amount or special favors from private or public organizations or individuals with which the University does or may conduct business or extending gratuities or special favors to employees of any sponsoring government or other agency or entity.

e. University Resources
Use of University resources including, but not limited to, facilities, departmental parking permits, personnel or equipment, except in a purely incidental way, for any purposes other than the performance of the individual's University employment. Note: Acceptable use of University vehicles is covered in Guide Memo 8.4.2: Vehicle Use.

f. Business Relations
Acceptance of or continuing in employment, an official relationship, or a consulting arrangement with another concern which has or seeks to have a business relationship with the University.

g. Commitment
For staff members exempt from governmental regulations regarding compensation for overtime work: Acceptance of employment, consulting, public service, or pro bono work which can result in conflicts or the appearance of conflicts with a staff member's primary commitment of time and energy to the University.

Back to top

3. Procedures for Exceptions

Because it may be in the interest of the University to grant exceptions to the rules in Section 2, the following procedure has been established:

a. Disclosure
Whenever a staff member anticipates a situation where he/she may be potentially in violation of the policies in Section 2, that staff member must immediately make full disclosure in writing of the details of the situation, through his/her supervisor, to the cognizant University officer and request an exception. Exceptions must be approved in writing in advance. If a staff member finds that he/she has engaged in conduct that violates the policies in Section 2, such situation must be reported immediately to the cognizant University officer.

b. Responsibility of University Officers
Any requests for exception shall be reviewed and all facts thoroughly examined for apparent conflicts. Exceptions may be granted at the sole discretion of the University. If the cognizant University officer determines that the University would best be served by the granting of the requested exception, he/she may do so in writing with justification for the granting and delineating any conditions placed on the approval. Except in rare instances, University officers may not delegate this responsibility and any delegation must be in writing. If the designee grants an exception, the designee must provide the University officer with a memorandum detailing the circumstances of the exception.

Copies of the approval must be retained throughout the period of employment.

c. Annual Reports
University officers who receive and grant exceptions to the policies in this Guide Memo shall, at the end of each academic year, provide a detailed summary report to the Provost.

d. Other Reports
In addition to Section 3.c, cognizant University officers may establish, within their areas of responsibility, mandatory periodic conformance and compliance reporting procedures for all staff.

e. Consequences
Failure to adhere to any aspect of the policy and procedures shall subject the involved employee(s) to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

Back to top

1.5.3 Unrelated Business Activity

Last updated on:
12/15/2010
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
15.3
Authority: 

Approved by the Administrative Council April 1, 1987. It is reissued with approval of the Provost's Office and Controller's Office.

1. Policy

Stanford's resources exist to support the University's missions of creation, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge. The University's assets must be preserved for these purposes, not for the personal gain of individuals nor for outside parties' uses which do not further Stanford's academic objectives. The University receives frequent requests for access to its resources by outside entities, typically in exchange for some form of compensation to Stanford. Many of these, if granted, would constitute unrelated business activities. The purpose of this statement is to remind the University community that it is Stanford policy not to engage in unrelated business activities.

Unrelated business activities have the potential for distorting the University's primary teaching and research missions. Furthermore, revenues from such activities generally are taxable under the Internal Revenue Code, and thus carry consequences to the University in terms of income tax liability. They also can have implications for property tax as well as product liability, and they can create unfair competition with the for-profit sector.

Permission to engage in unrelated business activities at Stanford may be granted only by the Provost, and then only in those cases in which there is strong likelihood that the activity will significantly benefit the University as a whole.

Back to top

2. Definition

a. Generation of Revenue
For the purpose of this statement, "unrelated business activities" are activities that use Stanford resources to generate revenue from third parties, and that are unrelated in a programmatic sense to the teaching, research, and other educational functions of the University. An unrelated activity normally would not be thought to further the University's teaching or research activities, except for the revenue it produces. Because the Internal Revenue Code does not define with precision what activities are unrelated for tax purposes, a general rule of thumb to apply is to assume that any activity undertaken primarily for the revenue it produces is likely to be unrelated.

b. Support of Mission
However, there are certain activities which might at first appear to be unrelated, but which, under scrutiny, are in fact related in a programmatic sense or provide direct support to Stanford's academic missions. For example, certain services or programs may be conducted on campus for the convenience of University faculty, staff and students, such as food sales at Tresidder.

Back to top

3. Implementation and Exceptions

a. Need for Review
Because of the necessarily imprecise definition of "unrelated," activities that would generate income and are proposed to be undertaken on behalf of an outside party that involve the use of University lands, buildings or instrumentation or the rendering of services by University personnel must be reviewed in the context of the unit's programmatic mission, Internal Revenue regulations and prior case rulings before they may be approved. Examples include fabrication by University machine shops, testing or analysis of materials, use of University computer facilities and similar activities.

b. Responsibility
The responsibility for implementing this policy rests with line management. If a department chair, director, or dean has any question as to whether a proposed arrangement under his/her purview might constitute an unrelated business activity, it is his/her responsibility to have the activity reviewed by the cognizant vice president's office, who in turn may need to seek counsel from the Controller's Office—University Tax Director. Questions arising from departments or schools reporting to the Provost should be directed to the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.

c. Exceptions
If the cognizant vice president endorses a request for an arrangement that is determined to be an unrelated business activity, the proposal should be forwarded to the Controller's Office for a review of the potential tax consequences, and means of accommodating them, before the request is sent to the Provost for approval.

Back to top

1.5.4 Ownership and Use of Stanford Trademarks and Images

Last updated on:
07/25/2017
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
15.5

This Guide Memo establishes the policies governing use of Stanford's registered trademarks, as well as the use of unregistered names, seals, logos, emblems, images, symbols and slogans that are representative of Stanford (together referred to herein as "Marks").

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

Applicability: 

This Guide Memo applies to all uses of Stanford's Marks.

1. Marks

Stanford’s Marks are owned by Stanford and they are a valuable university asset.  Faculty, students, staff and alumni share in the benefits associated with the Marks, and therefore also share responsibilities to ensure correct use.  Stanford’s Trademark Licensing Office at trademarks@stanford.edu is to be consulted with any questions about Stanford’s Marks and their use.  

  1. Registered Marks: A partial list of Stanford’s registered Marks includes, but is not limited to:
    • The word “Stanford”
    • The Block "S" with tree emblem
    • The Stanford University seal

The Office of the General Counsel maintains a complete list of registered Marks.

  1. Unregistered Marks: A partial list of Stanford’s unregistered Marks includes, but is not limited to:
    • The word “Cardinal”
    • “Farm” or “The Farm”
    • The phrase “Fear the Tree”
    • Block “S” without tree emblem

Trademark Licensing maintains a complete list of unregistered Marks.

  1. Buildings and Landmarks: All buildings and landmarks that are generally recognizable as being located on Stanford’s campus or associated with Stanford are considered to be Marks. These images include, but are not limited to:
  • Hoover Tower
  • Memorial Church
  • Palm Drive
  • The Oval
  • The Main Quad
  • Memorial Courtyard
  • Bing Concert Hall
  • Cantor Arts Center
  • Stanford Stadium
  • The Engineering Quad
  • The Knight Management Center

Back to top

2. Authority

The President has delegated authority for approving use of Stanford's Marks as follows:   

  1. Provost: for use in connection with educational, research and athletics activities (including courseware and related materials developed for teaching at Stanford) and for special events.
     
  2. Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer: for use by manufacturers of merchandise and products, in connection with Stanford’s business activities, and by vendors (including promotional use). Only the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer may grant permission for use of Stanford's Marks on merchandise and products.
     
  3. Dean of the School of Medicine: for use in connection with Stanford Medicine’s activities.
     
  4. Vice President for University Communications: for use in film, video, print and digital media, including the University's web pages.
     
  5. General Counsel: for use in connection with legal affairs.

Authority for approving all other uses of Stanford’s Marks remains with the President.

These individuals, or their delegates, will collaborate on situations that fall within the scope of authority of more than one office in order to ensure a consistent application of this policy.

Back to top

3. Use of Marks

  1. General: Stanford’s Marks may only be used by Stanford faculty, staff, students, and alumni as provided in this policy and for no other purposes. Stanford faculty and staff include only those individuals who meet the criteria listed in Sections 1 through 11 of Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.1: Definitions. Students include only individuals currently enrolled in a degree-granting program at Stanford. Alumni include only individuals who have completed at least three quarters of a degree-granting program at Stanford. No other individuals or entities may use Stanford’s Marks without the permission of an individual listed in Section 2, above, or their delegate. 
     
  2. Faculty and Staff: Stanford faculty and staff may only use Stanford’s Marks in connection with Stanford departments, institutes, events, programs, projects, activities, publications and products that are officially sponsored or sanctioned by Stanford.
    1. When a faculty or staff member is involved in activities that are not officially sponsored or sanctioned by Stanford (such as independent consulting, outside business activities, civic and volunteer work, and publications), use of Stanford's name and marks is limited to identification of the individual’s Stanford affiliation (e.g., Jane Smith, Professor of History, Stanford University). Stanford’s seal and other emblems may not be used.
       
    2. The Trademark Licensing Office (trademarks@stanford.edu) is to be consulted before using Stanford’s Marks on any product, in a book title, in the name of any non-Stanford business or activity, or in the name of a course or program that is not owned by Stanford.
       
    3. Faculty and staff members may not grant permission for use of Stanford’s Marks to individuals and entities outside of Stanford without consultation with the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer (trademarks@stanford.edu), which will then consult with the appropriate individual with delegated authority as specified in Section 2, above. This prohibition includes granting permission to (a) vendors and others in a business relationship with Stanford, (b) research sponsors, (c) donors, and (d) industrial affiliate program members. 
       
    4. All use of Stanford’s Marks in film, video, print and digital media (including in press releases) must comply with this Administrative Guide, as well as the policies established by University Communications (brandmanager@stanford.edu).
       
    5. This policy is not intended to limit use of the Stanford’s Marks in situations that fall within the normal scope of Stanford’s activities as a residential academic institution, as a research institution and as an employer. In these instances, Stanford's Marks may be used in accordance with the review processes established by schools, departments, centers and programs so long as the uses approved are consistent with the policies included in this Administrative Guide.
       
  3. Students and Alumni: Students and alumni may only use Stanford’s Marks as described below:
    1. Students and alumni may use Stanford’s name, but no other Marks, to identify their attendance at and degrees from Stanford on resumes and on digital channels such as personal web sites and social media. 
       
    2. Undergraduate and graduate students may use Stanford’s name and the Block S with tree emblem on business cards which identify their student status. The approved business card format is included in the Identity Toolkit. Alumni may not use Stanford Marks on business cards.
       
    3. Students and alumni may use Stanford’s Marks in connection with the University-sanctioned activities of student and alumni groups that have received and maintain official ASSU or Stanford Alumni Association recognition, respectively. When the Marks are used in these instances, it must be clear that the activity is either a student activity or an alumni activity, and not a University activity. 
       
    4. Only recognized student and alumni groups may produce merchandise that incorporates Stanford Marks. Such merchandise may only be produced in connection with University-sanctioned activities and must comply with all policies and procedures established by the Trademark Licensing Office for licensed product.
       
  4. Additional Considerations: Use of Stanford’s Marks must comply with the following:
    1. In all situations, use of Marks by an authorized individual or entity must be consistent with Stanford’s academic and research mission and its reputation for excellence. 
       
    2. All uses of Stanford’s Marks must comply with applicable policies and guidelines, including those included in the Trademark Licensing website, the Identity Toolkit, the Name Use Guidelines, and all other policies and guidelines listed in Section 8, below.
       
    3. All uses of Stanford’s Marks must carry proper trademark designations, as established by the Office of the General Counsel and specified on the Trademark Licensing website. This includes ® on registered marks and TM on unregistered Marks when required.
       
    4. Stanford’s Marks may never be altered or combined with another organization’s name or logo without permission from Stanford’s President, Provost or other individual with delegated authority under Section 2, above.

Back to top

4. Prohibited Use of Marks

The following uses of Stanford’s Marks are not permitted, except as otherwise authorized by (a) this policy, (b) the Name Use Guidelines, (c) other published guidelines or (d) Stanford’s President, Provost or other individual with delegated authority under Section 2, above:

  1. By non-Stanford individuals and entities. This includes, but is not limited to, vendors, technology licensees, research funders, donors, industrial affiliate program members, collaborators, partners and guest speakers.
     
  2. In a manner that endorses or implies endorsement of (a) a non-Stanford entity, or (b) the programs, products or services of a non-Stanford entity.
     
  3. By faculty, staff, students, alumni or others in association with any commercial activity or outside venture.
     
  4. In situations which will negatively impact Stanford’s reputation, or which may have the potential to impact negatively Stanford’s reputation. Such situations include, but are not limited to, use of Marks in connection with materials which (i) violate any law or regulation, (ii) have the potential to offend a person or group on the basis of gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation, (iii) could be considered to be pornographic, or (iv) could be considered to be defamatory.
     
  5. In connection with partisan political activities. See Administrative Guide Memo 1.5.1: Political, Campaign and Lobbying Activities.

Involvement by individual faculty, staff, students, or alumni in a non-Stanford activity is not a sufficient basis for indicating University sponsorship or endorsement and Marks may not be used in connection with such activities.

Back to top

5. Trademark Licensing Program

All merchandise bearing any Marks must be produced by a licensed vendor and be approved by Stanford’s Trademark Licensing Office. The Trademark Licensing Office will issue or approve all licenses, issue guidelines governing the production, sale and other distribution of licensed merchandise, and manage Stanford’s trademark licensing program. All merchandise produced for sale (including items that are sold to cover the cost of production) will be royalty-bearing at the rate established by the Trademark Licensing Office. Only items that are produced for internal use by Stanford, and are not offered for re-sale, are not royalty-bearing. Net proceeds from Stanford’s trademark licensing program royalties are used to support undergraduate financial aid and the Department of Athletics and Physical Education. 

Back to top

6. Registrations

  1. Domain Names: Domain names that incorporate the words "Stanford" or "Cardinal" may only be registered in the name of the Board of Trustees of Stanford University and may only be used in connection with activities that are officially sponsored or sanctioned by Stanford. 
     
  2. Marks: Trademarks for the University may only be registered in the name of The Board of Trustees of Leland Stanford Junior University and may only be used in connection with activities that are officially sponsored or sanctioned by Stanford. The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for registration of all trademarks for the University.     

Back to top

7. Enforcement of Rights

The University will actively protect its Marks from improper or misleading use by individuals or organizations not associated with Stanford and will ensure that use of Marks by Stanford faculty, students, staff, alumni, schools, departments, institutes, centers and programs conforms to all applicable policies and guidelines. The Office of the General Counsel is responsible for enforcement of Stanford's Marks.

Back to top

8. Further Information

Additional information can be found by contacting the offices listed below:

  • Questions about use of Stanford’s Marks on merchandise or about Stanford’s Trademark Licensing Program should be directed to the Trademark Licensing Office at trademarks@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford’s Marks by vendors, business partners, research and other sponsors, industrial affiliates, foundations and other non-Stanford enterprises should be directed to the Trademark Licensing Office at trademarks@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford’s Marks in connection with Stanford’s educational and research activities should be directed to the Office of the Provost at provost@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford’s Marks for promotional or marketing purposes, in the media, or in digital communications, should be directed to University Communications at brandmanager@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford’s Marks by donors should be directed to the Office of Development at giving.to.stanford@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford Medicine emblems and branding should be directed to the Office of the Dean of the School of Medicine at sombranding@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about use of Stanford Health Care emblems and branding should be directed to brand@stanfordhealthcare.org.
  • Questions about use of Stanford Children’s Health emblems and branding should be directed to marketing@stanfordchildrens.org, and additional information can be found online: http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/about/brand.
  • Questions concerning registration of internet domain names should be directed to Web Communications at webcom@stanford.edu.
  • Questions about trademark registrations and enforcement of Stanford’s Marks should be directed to the Office of the General Counsel at trademarkenforcement@stanford.edu.

All other questions about use of Stanford's Marks should be directed to the Office of the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer at trademarks@stanford.edu, which will help identify the correct person or office.

Misuse of Stanford’s Marks by non-Stanford entities should be reported to the Office of the General Counsel at trademarkenforcement@stanford.edu.

Back to top

The following policies and resources include related information:

Back to top

1.5.5 Ownership of Documents

Last updated on:
09/01/2003
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
15.6

Documents produced, received or filed in connection with Stanford's business activities are the property of the University.

Authority: 

This Guide Memo was approved by the President.

Applicability: 

This policy applies to all Stanford business documents.

Purpose: 

The purpose of this policy is to reiterate the University's ownership of business documents.

1. Document Ownership Policy

Documents produced, received or filed in connection with Stanford's business activities may be considered the property of the University. For purposes of this policy, the word "document" includes any memorialization of a communication, whether by paper, film, video, audio, electronic or other media. Also for purposes of this policy, the term "business activities" includes administration of a department, school, laboratory, office or other entity of the University (for example, a safety inspection conducted by a member of a dormitory staff would be a "business activity").

Back to top

2. Further Information

Questions regarding application and implementation of this policy may be directed to the Legal Office.

Back to top

The following policies are available online:

Research Policy Handbook Document 9.2: Copyright Policy
Research Policy Handbook Document 4.1: Faculty Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest
Guide Memo 1.5.1: Political Activities
Guide Memo 1.5.2: Staff Policy on Conflict of Commitment and Interest
Guide Memo 2.1.3: Personnel Files and Data

Back to top

1.6.1 Privacy Policy

Last updated on:
03/15/2013
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
16.1

Stanford University has an interest in ensuring that the privacy of its students, faculty, and staff is respected. The University is committed to protecting the privacy of Prohibited, Restricted and Confidential Information within its control in a manner consistent with applicable laws, regulations and University policies.

Authority: 

Approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO.

Applicability: 

This policy is applicable to all members of the Stanford community and visitors to the University, including but not limited to students, post doctoral scholars, faculty, lecturers/instructors, staff, third-party vendors, and others with access to Stanford's campus and University Prohibited, Restricted and Confidential Information.

1. Definitions

a. Disclosure: "Disclosure" is the release of, transfer of, provision of access to, or other communication of Information outside of the Stanford community.

b. Use: "Use" is the examination, sharing, or other utilization of Information within the Stanford community.

c. Information: "Information" is all Stanford University Prohibited, Restricted and Confidential information, whether in electronic or paper format, defined in Stanford's Data Classification, Access, Transmittal and Storage Guidelines.

d. Guidelines: "Guidelines" refer to the Information Security Office's secure computing guidelines and its Data Classification, Access, Transmittal and Storage Guidelines.

Back to top

2. Information Privacy

a. General Policy
Stanford should limit the collection, use, disclosure or storage of Information to that which reasonably serves the University's academic, research, or administrative functions, or other legally required purposes. Such collection, use, disclosure and storage should comply with applicable Federal and state laws and regulations, and University policies.

b. Legal and University Process
Notwithstanding the General Policy contained in section 2.a, the University may disclose Information in the course of investigations and lawsuits, in response to subpoenas, for the proper functioning of the University, to protect the safety and well-being of individuals or the community, and as permitted by law.

c. Policies That Apply to Special Categories of Information
Stanford has adopted policies governing certain categories of Information. These policies are listed in this section, 2.c. To the extent that there is a conflict between this Administrative Guide Memo 16.1 and any of these special policies, the special policy will control. For more information about Stanford's compliance with any of the laws and policies referenced below, please contact the University Privacy Officer at privacyofficer@stanford.edu or the individual listed in section 4.b as responsible for compliance.

(1) Prohibited Information, including Social Security Number ("SSN") and Drivers License Number ("DLN")
Stanford should not use an individual's SSN or DLN as a personal identifier unless required by law or approved by Stanford's Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer or the Data Governance Board. Prohibited information, including SSNs and DLNs, may be stored electronically only in compliance with the Guidelines. If Prohibited Information must be stored on paper, the files must be stored securely with access provided only to authorized persons.

(2) Student Records
Students have rights with respect to access to their education records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 ("FERPA"). These rights are outlined in the Stanford Bulletin.

(3) Health Information
Individuals have rights with respect to the privacy and security of their health information under Federal and state laws and regulations, including the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"). These rights are outlined in Guide Memo 1.6.2 and in the University health information privacy policies that can be found at the HIPAA website.

(4) Human Subjects Research Information
In addition to the rights afforded by HIPAA and other laws related to health information, the Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects ("Common Rule") outlines provisions specific to the privacy of research participants and the confidentiality of their information. The Stanford Research Compliance Office maintains the Human Research Protection Program ("HRPP") that includes the University policies related specifically to human subjects' research information.

(5) Financial Services Records
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act ("GLBA") requires that Stanford protect the privacy and security of information collected in the course of providing certain financial services, such as student financial aid or faculty staff housing loans. Stanford has adopted polices to protect this information. These policies are located on the Office of General Counsel's website.

(6) Information Collected in the Course of Electronic Commerce
Some areas of the Stanford website operate commercial enterprises online. Stanford also delivers online service through its network. To comply with the California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003 when Stanford (or any of its partners) collects personally identifiable consumer information on one of the commercial areas of its website or as the operator of an online service, it will conspicuously post either a privacy policy or a link to a privacy policy on the portal page for the commercial activity. This policy will:

(a) Identify the categories of personally identifiable information collected through the commercial portions of its website or through its online service;
(b) Identify the categories of third-parties with whom Stanford may share that personally identifiable information;
(c) Provide a description of how an individual may request changes to their personally identifiable information collected through the Web site or online service and retained by Stanford, if any process exists;
(d) Describe the process by which Stanford will notify users of the commercial portion of Stanford's website or its online service of material changes to the Stanford's privacy policy for that portion of the website or online service (it is sufficient to say that the policy will be updated online); and
(e) Identify the effective date of the privacy policy and all updates.

d. Confidentiality Agreement
Members of the Stanford community are subject to the Confidentiality and Privacy provisions set forth in Section 3 of the Code of Conduct contained in Administrative Guide Memo 1. As a reminder of Stanford's commitment to privacy, students, faculty, staff and other members of the workforce may be asked to sign a confidentiality statement based on the Code of Conduct and this privacy policy. Failure to sign such a statement in no way diminishes the obligation to uphold Stanford's policies.

e. Training
Departments within Stanford University are responsible for ensuring that all members of their workforce (including, among others, faculty, staff, students, consultants and volunteers) receive appropriate training on Stanford's privacy and security policies to the extent necessary and appropriate for them to carry out their required job functions. Departments will maintain adequate records of workforce training, which will be provided upon request by the Office of the General Counsel, the University Privacy Officer, the Chief Information Security Officer, Internal Audit, Human Resources or other University official with a reasonable Stanford-related need for the information.

Back to top

3. Expectation of Privacy

a. General Policy
Stanford respects and values the privacy of its faculty, students and staff and will not monitor its community members without cause except as required by law or as permitted by the policies and agreement referenced below:

b. Photography and Recording on Campus
In order to protect the privacy of the Stanford community, photographs, video recordings and other recordings may be made only in accordance with University policies on campus photography.

c. Visitors on Campus
The University is private property; however, some areas of the campus typically are open to visitors. These areas include White Plaza, public eating areas, retail establishments, outdoor and indoor guided touring areas, roads, walkways, designated parking areas and locations to which the public has been invited by advertised notice (such as for public educational, cultural, or athletic events). Even in these locations, visitors must not interfere with the privacy of students, postdoctoral scholars, faculty, lecturers/instructors, and staff, or with educational, research, and residential activities. The University may revoke at any time permission to be present in these, or any other areas. Visitors should not be inside academic or residential areas unless they have been invited for appropriate business or social purposes by the responsible student, post doctoral scholar, faculty member, lecturer/instructor, or staff member.

Back to top

4. Responsibilities

a. University Privacy Officer
The University shall have a Privacy Officer who is responsible for:
(1) Interpreting this Administrative Guide Memo 1.6.1;
(2) Providing advice with a view to encouraging compliance with all privacy laws and regulations, improving privacy practices, and resolving problems;
(3) Establishing privacy policies and procedures in areas not covered by section 5.c below.
(4) Recommending privacy policy and policy changes in all areas related to privacy at Stanford;
(5) Chairing the Data Governance Board; and
(6) Facilitating special privacy-related situations.

In order to discharge these responsibilities, the University Privacy Officer will collaborate with Stanford's Chief Information Security Officer, the General Counsel, other University privacy officials and other University administration, as appropriate.

b. Establishing Privacy Policies and Procedures
The University has designated certain officials with primary responsibility for establishing policies and procedures governing University compliance with certain specific privacy laws and regulations:

  • FERPA. The University Registrar has primary responsibility for establishing policies and procedures related to compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
  • HIPAA. The University Privacy Officer has primary responsibility for establishing policies and procedures related to compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 for Stanford's Affiliated Covered Entity;
  • GLBA. The University Privacy Officer has primary responsibility for establishing policies and procedures related to compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act.

c. Information Custodians and System Owners
Each individual who retains custody of Information, and each system owner, is responsible for the application of this Guide Memo1.6.1 and all related University policies to the systems and Information under their care or control.

Back to top

5. Violations of this Policy

a. Failure to follow proper policies and procedures concerning access, storage and transmission of Information may result in sanctions and disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, referral to Judicial Affairs or other applicable administrative process.

b. Members of the Stanford community who believe that these policies have been violated should report such violations to the University Privacy Officer, Office of the University Ombuds, Internal Audit or Office of the General Counsel. Complaints or concerns may also be reported anonymously by calling the University Compliance Officer at (650) 721-2667 or reporting it online.

c. Any School or Department found to have violated this policy may be held accountable for the financial penalties and remediation costs that are a direct result of this failure.

Back to top

6. Relevant Laws

a. State of California Constitution, Article 1

b. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) (also known as the Buckley Amendment) 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. § 99.1 et seq.

c. The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act 15 U.S.C. § 6801 et seq., 16 CFR § 313.1 et seq.(privacy)16 CFR § 314.1 et seq. (safeguarding)

d. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) (Pub. Law 104-191) and HIPAA regulations, including but not limited to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and HIPAA Security Rule, 42 CFR Parts 160, 162, 164

e. Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act (H.R.1, 2009, Sec. 13001 et seq.) and related regulations, including but not limited to:

  • Breach Notification interim final rule: 74 Fed. Reg. 42740 (2009)
  • Enforcement Interim Final Rule: 74 Fed. Reg. 56123 (2009)

f. California breach notification law (businesses), CA Civ. Code 1798.8

g. Confidentiality of Medical Information Act, CA Civil Code 56 et seq.

h. Employee Health Information Privacy, CA Civ. Code 56.20

i. Lanterman Petris Short Act, CA W&I Code 5328 et seq.

j. Patient Access to Health Records Act, CA H&S 123100-123149.5

k. HIV Privacy, CA H&S 121010 et seq., 121075 et seq., CA Penal Code 12020.1, 1524.1

Back to top

a. Student Discipline — See Student Life/Codes of Conduct/Fundamental Standard/Honor Code
b. Staff Discipline — See Administrative Guide Memo 2.1.16: Addressing Conduct and Performance Issues
c. Faculty Discipline — See the Statement on Faculty Discipline
d. Computer and Network Usage — See Administrative Guide Memo 6.2.1, Computer and Network Usage Policy
e. Privacy Incident Response — See Administrative Guide Memo 6.6.1: Information Security Incident Response; HIPAA Policy, Breach Notification Policy for Incidents Involving Electronic and Non-Electronic PHI
f. The policies identified in sections 1, 2 and 3 of this Administrative Guide Memo 1.6.1.

Back to top

1.6.2 Privacy and Security of Health Information (HIPAA)

Last updated on:
03/15/2013
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
16.2

This Guide Memo describes Stanford University's implementation of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") and its regulations ("Privacy Rule" and "Security Rule") governing the protection of identifiable health information by health care providers and health plans. The portions of Stanford University that are impacted by HIPAA include the Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Group Health Plan, defined in Sections 3 and 4, respectively.

This Guide Memo references Stanford University HIPAA Components policies on the University HIPAA website and the Group Health Plan HIPAA policies. The Group Health Plan maintains HIPAA policies and procedures in the Resource Library section of the Benefits website. These policies outline more specific rights of individuals regarding their protected health information ("PHI") as well as the operational and system requirements to comply with the Privacy and Security Rules.

Authority: 

Approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs and Chief Financial Officer and the Vice President of Human Resources.

Applicability: 

This policy applies to all staff, faculty, physicians, volunteers, students, consultants, contractors and subcontractors who are part of the Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Stanford University Group Health Plan ("Group Health Plan") workforce. Stanford Health Care ("SHC"), including Menlo Health Alliance and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital ("LPCH"), and their respective ERISA health benefit plans have separate HIPAA policies.

1. The Privacy Rule

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA") Privacy Rule limits Stanford University's use and disclosure of information that could potentially associate an individual's identity with his/her health information. Stanford University may not use or disclose PHI except as authorized by the individual, or as permitted or required by law. Use or disclosure of health information that does not have the potential to reveal an individual's identity is not limited.

Back to top

2. The Security Rule

The Security Rule requires Stanford University to implement administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure the confidentiality, integrity and availability of PHI maintained in an electronic form ("ePHI") and to protect ePHI against any reasonably anticipated threats or hazards, unauthorized uses or disclosures. The Security Rule protects ePHI stored in University systems during processing and during transmission

Back to top

3. Stanford University HIPAA Components Designation

The portions of Stanford University that provide health care, or share PHI with those portions, are "health care components" and are known collectively as the "Stanford University HIPAA Components." Stanford University has authorized its Privacy Officer to designate the health care components to be included in the Stanford University HIPAA Components. A list of the schools, departments and functions designated as part of the Stanford University HIPAA Components can be found on the Stanford University HIPAA website or requested from the University Privacy Officer. Anyone who believes that his/her department or program uses or discloses PHI and ought to be designated as part of the Stanford University HIPAA Components should contact the University Privacy Officer.

In addition, the Stanford University HIPAA Components have joined Stanford Health Care ("SHC"), including Menlo Health Alliance and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford ("LPCH") which are together referred to as the "Hospitals," to form a single affiliated entity under the Privacy and Security Rules, known as the Stanford Affiliated Covered Entity. By combining as a single affiliated entity, the Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Hospitals have the greatest flexibility to share information with one another to accomplish their missions.

Back to top

4. Group Health Plan

As an employer, Stanford University sponsors and maintains various ERISA health benefits plans that comprise the Group Health Plan. The Group Health Plan is a separate covered entity from the Stanford University HIPAA Components and, as such, has separate HIPAA privacy and security policies. The list of the plans included in the Group Health Plan can be found on the Stanford University HIPAA website or requested from the University Privacy Officer.

Back to top

5. Privacy and Security Information

a. Privacy Officials
Stanford University has designated a HIPAA privacy officer (the "University Privacy Officer") for the Stanford University HIPAA Components, the Stanford Affiliated Covered Entity and the Group Health Plan. The University Privacy Officer is responsible for the development and implementation of the policies and procedures necessary to comply with the Privacy Rule. Contact information for the University Privacy Officer is located in Section 13.

The University Privacy Officer may request that local privacy officials be designated by a school, department or program included in the Stanford University HIPAA Components or by the Group Health Plan (collectively and individually referred to as "Program") as necessary in order to implement the policies within their program effectively. Programs will promptly comply with any such request.

b. Security Officials
Stanford University has designated a HIPAA security officer (the "Chief Information Security Officer") for the Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Group Health Plan. The Chief Information Security Officer is responsible for the security of Stanford University HIPAA Components and Group Health Plan ePHI, including development of the policies and procedures necessary to comply with the Security Rule and the implementation of security measures to protect ePHI. Contact information for the Chief Information Security Officer is located in Section 13.

The Chief Information Security Officer may designate local security officials ("delegates") as necessary to facilitate the implementation of policies, local procedures, and security measures.

Back to top

6. Policies and Procedures

The University Privacy Officer has developed policies and guidelines designed to keep the Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Group Health Plan in compliance with the Privacy Rule. The University Privacy Officer may add or modify policies and guidelines as necessary and appropriate to incorporate changes in the law or to improve the effectiveness of compliance with the Privacy Rule.

The Chief Information Security Officer has developed policies and guidelines to comply with the Security Rule and may add or modify those policies and guidelines as necessary and appropriate to improve Security Rule compliance.

Each of the Stanford University HIPAA Components programs and the Group Health Plan must develop, implement, document, and train its workforce on the procedures necessary to comply with the appropriate HIPAA policies and this Administrative Guide Memo. For information concerning specific program procedures, workforce members should contact the local privacy or security official, as appropriate, or his or her supervisor.

Programs will comply with requests by the University Privacy Officer, the Chief Information Security Officer, the Office of the General Counsel and/or the Internal Audit Department to make written procedures and training materials available for review.

Back to top

7. Safeguards

The Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Group Health Plan will institute reasonable and appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to protect PHI from any intentional, incidental or unintentional use or disclosure that is in violation of the requirements of HIPAA, the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule or the Stanford University HIPAA policies.

Please see the Stanford University HIPAA website for more details.

Back to top

8. Training

The Stanford University HIPAA Components and Group Health Plan will train members of their respective workforces, including management, on the Stanford University privacy and security policies and Program procedures to the extent necessary or appropriate for the members of the workforce to carry out their functions. New members of the workforce for whom HIPAA training is necessary or appropriate will be trained prior to initial contact with PHI and in no event later than 30 days from the first date of employment. Each member of the workforce whose functions are affected by a material change in the policies or procedures will be trained on those changes in a timely manner, but normally not later than 30 working days from the effective date of the change. Programs will document that workforce training has been completed and will retain these records in the format requested by the University Privacy Officer and Chief Information Security Officer. Training documentation will be provided on request to the University Privacy Officer or the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

The Chief Information Security Officer will implement a security awareness program to instruct all workforce members on good security practices. The content of the security awareness program will include, but not be limited to information about (a) guarding against, detecting and reporting malicious software, (b) monitoring login attempts and reporting discrepancies, and (c) creating, changing and safeguarding passwords. The program will include periodic updates and reminders on pertinent security measures and issues, including environmental and operational changes affecting the security of ePHI.

Back to top

9. Violations

Anyone who knows or has reason to believe that the Privacy Rule and/or Security Rule, the Stanford University HIPAA policies, the policies contained in this Administrative Guide Memo, or any Program procedure developed to implement these regulations and policies have been violated should report the matter promptly to his or her supervisor, a local HIPAA official, the University Privacy Officer or Chief Information Security Officer, as appropriate. All reported matters will be investigated in a timely manner and, when possible, will be handled confidentially.

See Appendix A: Guidelines for the Implementation of Corrective Action in Matters Involving Violations of Patient, Research Participant and other Medical Information Privacy or Security.

If the workforce member requires anonymity, he or she may also report such matters to the Institutional Compliance Hotline. If the workforce member does not have internet access, he or she may contact Institutional Compliance at (650) 721-COMP or 721-2667.

To the extent practical, any known harmful effect from a violation of the Privacy Rule or the Security Rule or a security incident will be mitigated. Where appropriate, sanctions will be considered and imposed by the program and/or the University. Programs should document all investigations, resolutions, remedies and sanctions, and forward a copy of such documentation to the University Privacy Officer or Chief Information Security Officer, as appropriate.

Back to top

10. Refraining from Intimidating or Retaliatory Attacks

The Stanford University HIPAA Components and Group Health Plan will not intimidate, threaten, coerce, discriminate against, or take other retaliatory action against any patient, physician, employee, or any other person for exercising his or her rights, or for participating in any process, established under the Privacy Rule or Security Rule, including submitting a complaint or reporting a violation. Any attempt to retaliate against a person for reporting a violation in accordance with Section 9 above, may itself be considered a violation of this policy and may result in sanctions. An individual who raises concerns about any act or practice allegedly made unlawful by the Privacy Rule or the Security Rule, however, must have a good faith belief that the act or practice is unlawful, and the manner of raising such concerns must be reasonable and not violate the Privacy Rule or Security Rule.

Back to top

11. Sanctions

Violations of the Privacy Rule or Security Rule may, under certain circumstances, result in civil or criminal penalties. Members of the workforce who violate the Privacy Rule, the Security Rule, policies contained in this Guide Memo or the Stanford University HIPAA policies, or any program's procedures implementing these policies, may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment, contract, or other relationship with the University.

See Appendix A: Guidelines for the Implementation of Corrective Action in Matters Involving Violations of Patient, Research Participant and other Medical Information Privacy or Security.

Back to top

12. Evaluation and Reporting

Each program will provide to the University Privacy Officer or Chief Information Security Officer all requested information in order that the University Privacy Officer or Chief Information Security Officer may (a) adequately address complaints, (b) respond to requests from the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) or other HHS official, and (c) inform Stanford University or Hospital leadership about compliance with the Privacy and Security Rules.

Stanford University HIPAA Components and the Group Health Plan will periodically, and when deemed necessary in response to environmental or operational changes affecting the security of ePHI (e.g., newly identified security risks, newly adopted technologies), conduct a technical and non-technical evaluation of its security safeguards to establish the extent to which its security policies and procedures meet the requirements of the Security Rule, and document its compliance with the Security Rule.

Back to top

13. For More Information

Questions: If you have questions about these policies, please contact your supervisor. Department management should contact the appropriate program official and/or the University Privacy Officer (with respect to the Privacy Rule) or the Chief Information Security Officer (with respect to the Security Rule) with any questions related to the interpretation of these policies and/or the development of departmental procedures. It is important that all questions be resolved as soon as possible to ensure compliance with the Privacy Rule and Security Rule.

Back to top

14. Appendix A: Guidelines for the Implementation of Corrective Action in Matters Involving Violations of Patient, Research Participant and other Medical Information Privacy or Security

OVERVIEW

Stanford University is committed to conducting business in compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and University policies. The University endeavors to provide a strong infrastructure that promotes a culture committed to safeguarding the privacy and security of patient, medical and research participant information. These guidelines serve a dual purpose. They provide faculty, staff, trainees, students, contractors, vendors, volunteers, and other members of the Stanford community ("workforce members") notice of the consequences they will face for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act ("HIPAA"), the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, the Confidentiality of Medical Information Act ("COMIA"), or other federal and state laws and regulations governing the confidentiality and security of patient information ("applicable laws"), or University policies relating to privacy and security of patient, medical and research participant information.

Separately, the guidelines provide University offices (e.g., privacy offices, human resources, academic and student affairs offices) and individual managers direction in determining appropriate consequences for workforce members who violate applicable laws or University policies that safeguard protected health information ("PHI") and other patient medical information. These guidelines should be used in conjunction with the corrective action or discipline policy applicable to the relevant workforce member including:

For definitions pertaining to HIPAA and frequently asked questions relating to HIPAA and other applicable laws relating to the protection of patient health information, see the University's HIPAA website. 
 

PRINCIPLES

A. Imposition of Appropriate Sanctions
Workforce members will be sanctioned appropriately in the event that they:

(1) access, use or disclose more than the minimum PHI necessary to complete their job-related functions;
(2) fail to adequately protect PHI in accordance with Stanford University's information security policies;
(3) fail to promptly report a known or suspected HIPAA violation; or
(4) violate any of Stanford University's other HIPAA policies, procedures or guidelines.

Sanctions may also be imposed for failure to report a known or suspected HIPAA violation or for violating any of Stanford University's other HIPAA policies, procedures or guidelines. Sanctions for violations of HIPAA may include, without limitation, counseling, written warning, suspension, and termination. A workforce member's compensation and eligibility to continue in an academic or training program may also be impacted in the event of a violation. These guidelines are not intended to dictate a particular consequence in any particular situation. Rather, in consultation with the appropriate Human Resources and/or Privacy Office, managers, academic affairs and student affairs administrators have the discretion to decide:

(1) at which level to start the corrective action process based on the severity of the offense, the potential or actual harm to the patient and/or the Hospital(s) or University, and any mitigating factors; and
(2) whether immediate termination is justified based on the seriousness of the offense.

B. Levels of Violations
The level of a violation is determined by the severity of the privacy or security breach, whether the breach was intentional or unintentional or motivated by malice or personal gain, and the impact on the patient and/or institution. The following outlines some, but not all, types of violations and categorizes them broadly according to likely severity.

Level 1: A workforce member carelessly or inadvertently accesses PHI without a job-related need to know, or carelessly or unintentionally reveals PHI to which he/she has authorized access. Examples of Level 1 violations include, but are not limited to:

(1) Leaving PHI in a public area in the workplace or disposing of it in the trash instead of shredding receptacles;
(2) Misdirecting faxes, emails or other documents that contain PHI;
(3) Discussing PHI in public areas where the discussion could be overheard;
(4) Other behaviors reflecting carelessness or lack of judgment in handling PHI.

Level 2: A workforce member intentionally accesses PHI without authorization or seriously fails to protect PHI. Examples of Level 2 violations include, but are not limited to:

(1) Intentionally accessing or asking another to access PHI without a job-related need to know, the PHI or a friend, relative, co-worker, public personality or any other individual (including searching for the existence of a record or an address or phone number);
(2) Leaving paper files and records, computers, laptops, notebooks, smart phones or other devices containing PHI accessible and unattended;
(3) Sharing log-in IDs and passwords with others;
(4) Using personal email accounts (e.g., Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo), cloud computing, or other media or storage devices not approved by Stanford University for transmission or storage of PHI or not meeting required security standards (such as encryption, secure email, password protection);
(5) Removing PHI from the Stanford University workplace without supervisor approval or failing to appropriately safeguard PHI if removed with supervisor approval or while in transit;
(6) Other behaviors reflecting intentional conduct or serious failure to safeguard PHI.

Level 3: A workforce member intentionally accesses, uses or discloses PHI without authorization, often motivated by willful disregard, malice or personal gain. A Level 3 violation is considered serious misconduct. Examples of Level 3 violations include, but are not limited to:

(1) Intentionally using or disclosing without a job-related need to know the PHI of a friend, relative, co-worker, public personality, or any other individual’s PHI;
(2) Accessing, using or disclosing PHI for personal purposes or gain, or with an intent to harm the patient or any third party;
(3) Discussing or disclosing PHI with any third party either directly or via social networking or blogging sites, such as Twitter and Facebook.
(4) Intentionally assisting an individual in gaining unauthorized access to PHI.
(5) Jeopardizing the integrity of Stanford University’s systems.
(6) Failing to cooperate during the investigation of a privacy or security incident.
(7) Falsifying information during a privacy investigation or reporting in bad faith or for malicious purposes.
(8) Other behaviors reflecting personal purpose or gain, malice or misconduct.

C. Considerations in Evaluating Violation for Appropriate Sanctions
Factors in determining appropriate disciplinary action may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Whether the breach was intentional or inadvertent;
(2) The nature of the breach, including whether the breach involved specially protected information such as HIV, psychiatric, substance abuse, or genetic data;
(3) The magnitude of the breach, including the number of patients and the volume of protected health information accessed, used or disclosed;
(4) The workforce member’s motive in accessing, using or disclosing PHI, and whether there was an element of malice or desire for personal gain;
(5) Whether the workforce member has committed prior HIPAA violations;
(6) The workforce member’s response or conduct during investigation;
(7) Risk of harm to the victim(s) of the breach or to the University;
(8) The existence of any compelling, aggravating or mitigating factors.

PROCEDURES

A. Prompt Reporting and Investigation
Each workforce member must report any alleged, apparent, or potential violations of HIPAA or applicable privacy and security laws promptly (within no more than twenty-four hours) to his/her supervisor/designee or to the supervisor's supervisor. Suspected violations shall be investigated appropriately and in coordination with the relevant supervisor, Human Resources officer, and the Privacy Officer. Matters involving faculty, students or trainees should also be brought to the attention of the appropriate senior associate dean(s) which may include:

  • Senior Associate Deans for Clinical Affairs—for events related to clinical faculty
  • Senior Associate Dean for Medical Student Education—for events related to medical students
  • Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration—for events related to any other individuals to whom this policy applies
  • Dean, Vice Dean and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, as applicable—for events related to faculty
  • Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Postdoctoral Affairs—for events related to graduate students or postdoctoral scholars 
Results of the investigation and any decision regarding discipline will be documented in writing and disciplinary actions will be made part of the workforce member’s personnel, training or student file. Discipline will be issued in accordance with existing discipline or corrective action policies applicable to the particular workforce member. When faculty members are involved, the Senior Associate Dean shall be consulted, and the faculty member shall have the rights outlined in relevant faculty policies and grievance procedures. The cognizant vice president or dean, or his or her designee, retains final authority concerning sanctions and will review any sanction involving suspension, dismissal, or termination before it is implemented.
 

In the event of a possible violation of HIPAA or applicable law involving both University and SHC or LPCH personnel, the investigation must be coordinated and any correction actions or sanctions must be consistent between the organizations. Reports to state/federal oversight agencies may be required. In addition to any internal corrective action, employees may be subject to criminal and civil penalties, and referral to applicable licensing boards.

B. Guidelines for Sanctions
The following will serve as guidelines for appropriate sanctions for violations of HIPAA or other applicable laws or policies.

Faculty:
Appropriate sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the Statement on Faculty Discipline, Faculty Handbook section 4.3.

Employees, post-doctoral fellows, volunteers:
Students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs:

  • Level 1. Violations shall, in most cases, result in oral or written counseling and/or retraining. Repeat Level 1 violations shall be subject to further disciplinary action up to and including termination.
  • Level 2. Violations shall, in most cases, result in a written disciplinary warning with or without an unpaid suspension, and retraining shall be required. Disciplinary action up to and including termination may be taken for repeat Level 2 violations.
  • Level 3.Violations, in most cases, shall result in immediate termination of employment, academic appointment or ending of a volunteer assignment.

Students enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs:

  • Level 1: Violations shall, in most cases, result in oral counseling and/or retraining. Repeat Level 1 violations shall be subject to progressive disciplinary action up to and including termination from the program of study.
  • Level 2: Violations shall, in most cases, result a written reprimand in the student’s file and retraining. The student may also be suspended from the program of study.
  • Level 3: Violations, in most cases, shall result in immediate termination from the program of study.

Contractors/Vendors:
Violations of any level shall, in most cases, result in termination of the contract/business relationship and disqualification from future contractual/business relationships.

Back to top

1.7.1 Sexual Harassment

Last updated on:
09/09/2020
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
2.2.4; 23.2

Stanford University strives to provide a place of work and study free of discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct.  Where such sexual misconduct has occurred, the University will act to stop the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and discipline and/or take other appropriate action against those responsible.  This Guide Memo outlines the University’s definitions and policies relating to sexual misconduct and in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. 106), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e), the Clery Act (20 U.S.C. 1092(f)) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. 668.46), California Education Code sections 67380, 67383 and 67386, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 (“FEHA”) California Government Code sections 12900 - 12996.[1] This policy also applies to violations of University directives or court orders and acts of intimidation or retaliation relating to the aforementioned conduct or allegations of such conduct.

Authority: 

Approved by the President.

Enforced under the authority of the Provost, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, and the Vice President for Human Resources.  In addition, conduct that violates this policy may also be subject to criminal prosecution and civil litigation.

Applicability: 

All students, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholars, affiliates and others participating in University programs and activities, on or off-campus, including overseas programs, or providing services to the University are subject to this Policy.

In conjunction with this Guide Memo, Stanford has multiple disciplinary and administrative procedures for making formal determinations of whether a Policy violation has occurred. Which of these procedures will be used to respond to alleged violations of this Policy depends on the circumstances, including the role of the parties within the University, the location of the incident and relationship to University programs or activities, and the severity of the alleged conduct. 

1. Policy Statement

Stanford University strives to provide a place of work and study free of discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct. Where such sexual misconduct has occurred, the University will act to stop the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and discipline and/or take other appropriate action against those responsible. This Guide Memo outlines the University’s definitions and policies relating to sexual misconduct and in compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. 1681) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. 106), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000e), the Clery Act (20 U.S.C. 1092(f)) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. 668.46), California Education Code sections 67380, 67383 and 67386, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act of 1959 (“FEHA”) California Government Code sections 12900 - 12996.[1] This policy also applies to violations of University directives or court orders and acts of intimidation or retaliation relating to the aforementioned conduct or allegations of such conduct.

Back to top

2. Policy Violations

Prohibited Sexual Conduct is the umbrella term that Stanford uses under this Policy to collectively define different types of misconduct relating to sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, or exploitation of a sexual nature. Stanford prohibits all forms of Prohibited Sexual Conduct. Stanford is obligated to comply with both state and federal laws with respect to reports of Prohibited Sexual Conduct, when applicable. It is also a violation of this Policy to engage in Retaliation or Intimidation (as those terms are defined below) or to violate a University Directive or Court Order (as those terms are defined below) related to Prohibited Sexual Conduct or allegations of Prohibited Sexual Conduct.

Regardless of the source of the definition (state, federal, or University), it is a violation of this Policy to commit or attempt to commit any of the acts defined below or to knowingly aid or facilitate another person to commit any act of the acts defined below.

a. Sexual Harassment

Stanford is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression. Vigorous discussion and debate are fundamental to the University, and this policy is not intended to stifle teaching methods or freedom of expression generally, nor will it be permitted to do so. However, Sexual Harassment is neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom. It compromises the integrity of the University, its tradition of intellectual freedom and the trust placed in its members.

Title IX Sexual Harassment (applies to all community members)

Title IX Sexual Harassment involves conduct, on the basis of sex, that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, AND objectively offensive that it denies a person equal educational access; OR
  • An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Employment-Related Sexual Harassment (applies in employment-related matters)

Employment-Related Sexual Harassment is conduct that is outside the scope or jurisdiction of Title IX and, therefore is addressed under the applicable procedure to this form of harassment, as described in Section 8, below. In addition, Employment-Related Sexual Harassment may be conduct that is part of overall conduct that rises to the level of a Title IX Sexual Harassment matter. In such scenarios, the employee would be charged with Title IX Sexual Harassment and the University will concurrently review the matter for a violation of Employment-Related Sexual Harassment. Where conduct constitutes both Title IX Sexual Harassment and Employment-Related Sexual Harassment, the Employment-Related Sexual Harassment will not serve as a basis for additional discipline.

Employment-Related Sexual Harassment is conduct, on the basis of sex, that involves one or more of the following:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute Employment-Related Sexual Harassment when:
    • It is implicitly or explicitly suggested that submission to or rejection of the conduct will be a factor in employment decisions or evaluations, or permission to participate in a University activity; OR
    • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating or hostile work environment.

Determining what constitutes Employment-Related Sexual Harassment depends on the specific facts and context in which the conduct occurs. Employment-Related Sexual Harassment may take many forms; subtle and indirect or blatant and overt. For example, it may:

  • Be conduct toward an individual of the same or different gender, gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation;
  • Occur between peers or between individuals in a hierarchical relationship;
  • Be aimed at coercing an individual to participate in an unwanted sexual relationship or it may have the effect of causing an individual to change behavior or work performance; or
  • Consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently egregious.

Whether the unwanted sexual conduct rises to the level of creating an intimidating or hostile environment is determined using both a subjective standard (that is, a person has been offended by the conduct) and an objective standard (that is, a reasonable person under similar circumstances to the Complainant would find the conduct to be sufficiently severe, persistent OR pervasive so as to interfere with the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s services, activities, or opportunities.

University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students

For all student-related matters in a non-employment matter, University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students is conduct that is outside the scope or jurisdiction of Title IX, and therefore is addressed under the applicable procedure to this form of harassment. In addition, University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students may be conduct that is part of overall conduct that rises to the level of a Title IX Sexual Harassment matter. In such scenarios, the student would be charged with Title IX Sexual Harassment, and the University will concurrently review the matter for a violation of University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students. Where conduct violates both Title IX Sexual Harassment and University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students, the violation of University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students will not serve as a basis for additional discipline.

University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students is conduct that involves one or more of the following:

  • A student in a position of authority in a student organization conditioning the provision of membership, aid, benefit or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; OR
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or student living environment.

Determining what constitutes University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students depends on the specific facts and context in which the conduct occurs. University Prohibited Sexual Harassment between Students may take many forms: subtle and indirect or blatant and overt. For example, it may:

  • Be conduct toward an individual of the same or different gender, gender expression, gender identity or sexual orientation;
  • Occur between peers or between individuals in a hierarchical relationship;
  • Be aimed at coercing an individual to participate in an unwanted sexual relationship or have the effect of causing an individual to change behavior; or
  • Consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently egregious.

Whether the unwanted sexual conduct rises to the level of creating an intimidating or hostile environment is determined using both a subjective standard (that is, a person has been offended by the conduct) and an objective standard (that is, a reasonable person under similar circumstances to the Complainant would find the conduct to be sufficiently severe, persistent OR pervasive so as to interfere with the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s services, activities, or opportunities.

b. Sexual Assault (applies to all community members)

Consent

The following definitions apply to all acts of Sexual Assault described below:

  • Affirmative Consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the Affirmative Consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean Affirmative Consent, nor does silence mean Affirmative Consent. Affirmative Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. Affirmative Consent may be based on a condition(s), e.g., the use of a condom, and that condition(s) must continue to be met throughout an activity, unless there is mutual agreement to forego or change the condition. When there is no Affirmative Consent present during sexual activity, the activity at issue necessarily occurred “against the person’s will.”
    • The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of Affirmative Consent.
    • In evaluating Affirmative Consent, it cannot be a defense that a respondent’s belief that the complainant consented to the sexual activity arose under either of the following circumstances:
      • The respondent’s belief in Affirmative Consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the respondent.
      • The respondent did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the complainant gave Affirmative Consent.
  • Incapacitation: It shall not be a valid excuse that the respondent believed that the complainant Affirmatively Consented to sexual activity if the respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the complainant was Incapacitated. Incapacitation means the complainant was unable to Affirmatively Consent because the complainant was asleep, unconscious, under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, such that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity, or was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition. Incapacitation is not necessarily the same as legal intoxication.

Stranger and Nonstranger Sexual Assault

The following definitions apply to all acts of Sexual Assault described below:

For the purposes of this Policy, a nonstranger is someone known to the Complainant, whether through a casual meeting or through a longstanding relationship, including a dating or domestic relationship. A stranger is someone unknown to the Complainant at the time of the Sexual Assault.

California law requires universities to describe how a school will respond to instances of stranger and non-stranger Sexual Assault: Stanford applies the same policies and sanctions for both stranger and nonstranger Sexual Assault.

Title IX & University Sexual Assault[2]

Title IX & University Sexual Assault any sexual act[3] directed against a Complainant without the Affirmative Consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent, including because of Incapacitation.

Title IX Nonforcible Sexual Violations

Title IX Nonforcible Sexual Violations include conduct involving one or more of the following:

  • Incest. Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by California law.[4]
  • Statutory Intercourse Violation. Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of California. The age of consent in California is 18.[5]

University Nonforcible Sexual Violations[6]

University Nonforcible Sexual Violations include conduct involving one or more of the following:

  • Inducing Incapacitation. Intentionally causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person for the purpose of rendering that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity, such as through alcohol or drugs.
  • Recording/Distributing Sexual Activity.
    • Recording, photographing, transmitting or distributing intimate or sexual images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; OR
    • Viewing such content with the knowledge that all parties did not consent to the transmission, or viewing such content with reckless disregard to whether all parties consented to the transmission.

c. Relationship Violence (applies to all community members)

Relationship Violence includes conduct involving one or more of the following:

  • Dating Violence.[7] Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

For the purposes of this definition:

  • Dating Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
  • Dating Violence does not include acts covered under the definition of Domestic Violence
  • Domestic Violence.[8]An act that could be classified as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:
    • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant;
    • By a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common;
    • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner;
    • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of California;
    • By any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of California.

To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.

  • University Relationship Violence. University Relationship Violence includes verbal or non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person emotionally, intimidate another person, and/or exert control over another person, of an ongoing and severe nature such that it would cause a reasonable person to experience severe distress, to be fearful for their safety and/or to significantly alter daily routines and activities in order to ensure their safety. University Relationship Violence may occur in a current or former romantic or intimate relationship regardless of the length of the relationship or gender/gender identity of the individuals in the relationship.

d. Stalking (applies to all community members)[9]

Stalking includes conduct involving the following:

  • Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
    • Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
    • Suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • For the purposes of this definition:
    • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
    • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.
    • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

e. Violation of a University Directive or Court Order (applies to all community members)

Violation of a University Directive or Court Order includes the following:

  • Violation of a University Directive. The failure to comply with a directive issued by the University that restricts the activities of an individual in connection with an allegation or finding of violation under this Policy.
  • Violation of a Court Order. The failure to comply with any formal order issued by a state or federal court or authorized police officer that restricts a person’s access to another Stanford community member, such as an emergency, temporary or permanent restraining order.

f. Retaliation and Intimidation (applies to all community members)

It is a violation of this Policy to Intimidate or Retaliate against any person making a complaint or responding to a complaint or against any person participating in the investigation of any such allegation under this Policy (including being the Respondent or participating as a Witness). No person may threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for pursuing or exercising any right or privilege secured by this Policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, responded to a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing related to this Policy.

  • Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, adverse action related to employment, academic opportunities, participation in University programs or activities, or similar punitive action. Retaliation can be direct such as changing an employee’s work location, pay or schedule, or for students, changing a grade or denying access to a program, or it can be indirect such as Intimidating, threatening, or harassing an employee or student who has raised a claim or participated as a witness in an investigation.
  • Intimidation can be a form of Retaliation, and includes any threatening statement or conduct made with the intent to prevent or dissuade any party or witness from reporting or participating in the process.

All parties to a concern and all persons participating in the investigation of a concern are prohibited from engaging in actions intended to Retaliate or Intimidate directly or through support persons.

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of an investigation does not constitute Retaliation, provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith. The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute Retaliation.

 

Back to top

3. Immediate Steps/Emergency Resources

If you or someone you know has experienced Prohibited Sexual Conduct, here are some immediate steps to consider:

  • If the individual is in immediate danger, or believes there could be an ongoing threat to the individual or the community, please call 911 or 9-911 from a campus phone or use a blue emergency phone tower on campus.
  • The individual that experienced the conduct is encouraged to contact the police, although the individual is not required to make a report to the police. For Prohibited Sexual Conduct that occurs on the Stanford campus, individuals can contact the Stanford Department of Public Safety at (650) 723-9633. For an off-campus incident, individuals can call the local police jurisdiction: Palo Alto, (650) 329-2307; Menlo Park, (650) 325-4424. University officials also will assist individuals in contacting local law enforcement authorities, if the individual requests assistance. If the individual believes that there is an ongoing threat to safety from a particular individual, the individual may request an emergency protective restraining order from a California police officer.
  • California law also provides that individuals who experience sexual violence are encouraged to preserve evidence and to note the identity and location of Witnesses. Contacting law enforcement to make a report allows for forensic evidence to be collected, including a SART exam if needed, which may be helpful if a decision is made to pursue criminal charges. For more information about how to obtain a SART exam, see: https://sexualviolencesupport.stanford.edu/.

Back to top

4. Reporting Prohibited Sexual Conduct or other Policy Violations

All reports of Prohibited Sexual Conduct or other violations of this Policy should be reported to the Stanford Title IX Coordinator at Kingscote Gardens, Suite 240, 419 Lagunita Drive, Stanford, CA 94305, titleix@stanford.edu, (650) 497-4955.

Any person may report violations of this Policy (whether or not the individual reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of the Policy violation), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by email,[10] using the contact information listed above. Such a report may be made at any time, including during non-business hours, by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

For reports of violations under this Policy, the following information (if known) should be provided to the Title IX Office:

  • Name of Complainant
  • Complainant’s role within the university (undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholar, fellow, alumni, other [describe])
  • Name of Respondent
  • Respondent’s role within the university (undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty, staff, postdoctoral scholar, fellow)
  • Date of the incident
  • Location of the incident
  • Time of the incident
  • Nature of the conduct (that is, provide specific details of the report)
  • Date of previous report (if any)
  • To whom any previous report was made (if any)

Duty to Report

Except for University-recognized Confidential Resources (defined below), the following University staff members with knowledge of unreported concerns relating to violations of this Policy are considered Responsible Employees and are required to promptly report such allegations to the Title IX Coordinator:

  • Faculty;
  • Supervisors and Managers;
  • Human Resources representatives;
  • Principal Investigators/Lab Directors or Coordinators;
  • Staff within:
    • University Human Resources and Employee & Labor Relations;
    • Residential Education (including student staff for Res Ed, such as RAs, CAs);
    • Vice Provost for Student Affairs;
    • Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education;
    • Vice Provost for Graduate Education; and
    • (Except the Ombuds) Institutional Equity and Access; and
  • Staff (including student staff) who have responsibility for working with students in the following capacities:
    • Teaching (including lecturers, instructors, and student teaching assistants);
    • advising;
    • coaching or mentoring;
    • career development or internship/externship programs; or
    • overseas studies/study abroad.

These individuals are required to report the information received to the Title IX Coordinator, regardless of whether the person who is the subject of the Policy violation has or has not indicated they will contact the appropriate office.

Separate from the above, notice of a report of Prohibited Sexual Conduct to the following individuals constitutes actual notice triggering the University’s obligations under Title IX:

  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators
  • Other Senior Leaders
    • President
    • Provost
    • Deans of Schools
    • Director of Athletics (DAPER)
    • Vice Presidents
    • Vice Provosts

External Reports

Certain Prohibited Sexual Conduct may also violate state and federal law. In addition to the internal resources just described, individuals may pursue complaints directly with the government agencies that deal with unlawful harassment and discrimination claims, e.g., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education, and the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Please note that a violation of this policy may exist even where the conduct in question does not violate the law.

Back to top

5. Privacy and Confidentiality

For the purpose of this Policy, Privacy and Confidentiality have distinct meanings.

  • Privacy means that information related to a complaint will be shared with a limited number of University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are responsible for the University’s response to violations of this Policy receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), and the privacy of employee records will be protected in accordance with California law and University policy.
  • Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including those who provide services related to medical and clinical care, mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy. The law creates a privilege between certain health care providers, mental health care providers, attorneys, clergy, spouses, and others, with their patients, clients, parishioners, and spouses. The University has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as Confidential Resources.

The University will make reasonable and appropriate efforts to preserve an individual’s Privacy and to protect the Confidentiality of information. However, because of laws relating to reporting and other state and federal laws, the University cannot guarantee Confidentiality relating to incidents of Prohibited Sexual Conduct except where those reports are privileged communications to Confidential Resources. Even then, there are exceptions to maintaining Confidentiality set by law; for example, physicians and nurses who treat any physical injury sustained during a sexual assault are required to report it to law enforcement. Also, physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers and social workers must report a sexual assault committed against a person under age 18.[11]

Except for Confidential Resources, information shared with other individuals is not legally protected from being disclosed. However, the University takes requests for Privacy and Confidentiality seriously, to the extent it can do so while at the same time fulfilling its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students and the University community. The University in such circumstances will make sure the Complainant is aware he/she/they are protected from Retaliation.

Reports to Law Enforcement and Required Notifications

As required by the Clery Act, all disclosures to any University employee of an on-campus or “non-campus property” sexual assault must be reported for statistical purposes only (without personal identifiers) to the Stanford University Department of Public Safety, which has the responsibility for tabulating and annually publishing sexual assault and other crime statistics. To promote public safety, the Department also alerts the campus community to incidents and trends of immediate concern.

When the allegations described could be a crime under California law,[12] University staff members designated as Campus Security Authorities are also required by California law to notify the Stanford University Department of Public Safety. Under California law, violent crimes, including sexual assault, and hate crimes must be reported immediately by calling 9-1-1 or 650-329-2413. Campus security Authorities can report other crimes at https://police.stanford.edu/pdf/CSA-Report-Form.pdf. (For more information see: https://police.stanford.edu/pdf/CSA-Flowchart.pdf).

Except in the event the person who is the subject of the potential criminal act is a minor, the name of this individual should not be released to the Department of Public Safety without the Complainant’s consent.

In California, a police officer is required to ask a victim of sexual assault and domestic violence (specifically section 273.5 Penal Code) if they want their name to remain confidential (Penal Code 293(a)). If a victim elects to have their name remain confidential, the police will not list the victim's name in a crime log or release it to University officials without permission (Penal Code 293(d)). If the District Attorney elects to prosecute a sexual assault, the name of an adult victim may be subject to disclosure.

Consultation/Confidential Resources

The University makes available Confidential Resources for consultation regarding reports of violations of this Policy or other conduct, whether or not a Policy violation has actually has occurred or the person seeking information is a Complainant, a person who believes their own actions may be the subject of criticism (even if unwarranted), or a third party. Often there is a desire that a consultation be confidential or “off the record.” This can usually be achieved when individuals discuss conduct without identifying the other persons involved, and sometimes even without identifying themselves. However, when a name or details sufficient to identify an individual are provided to a Responsible Employee (defined above), a consultation can no longer be considered “off the record” and then needs to be reported. Confidential Resources, by contrast, are not required to report to or share any information with the University. Confidential Resources do not disclose information received by them with any other office or person, including the Title IX office, and therefore meeting with a Confidential Resource will never lead to a University response or Investigation. However, Confidentiality does not extend to reasonable belief that a minor (under age 18) has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed, which by law must be reported to law enforcement or child protective services. [13] Similarly, if a client, or a close relation of the client, makes a specific threat of planning to kill or seriously harm another person to a Confidential counselor, this also requires a report to law enforcement. In addition, the University cannot guarantee that conversations with the Ombuds or a dean at the Office for Religious Life at Memorial Church might not be subject to disclosure in legal proceedings or pursuant to other legal process. Communications with attorneys, medical doctors, and mental health care providers, on the other hand, may be privileged under law.

The University’s Confidential Resources and Confidential community resources can be found at https://titleix.stanford.edu/confidential-counseling-university-resources.

Back to top

6. Required Prevention Education/Training Programs

For Faculty, Staff and Postdoctoral Scholars

In compliance with California Government Code Section 12950.1, all supervisors (including faculty) who are employed by Stanford are required to participate in a minimum 2-hour sexual harassment training at least every two years. Other topics covered by this program include illegal discrimination, abusive behavior in the workplace, forms of sexual violence, how to be an active “upstander,” supervisor’s responsibility to report and how to appropriately respond to reports of Prohibited Sexual Conduct within the student and staff communities.

Further, Stanford requires non-supervisory employees to participate in a minimum 1-hour sexual harassment prevention training at least every two years. All new employees who are not faculty and who do not supervise other workers will be provided Harassment Prevention Training for Non-Supervisory Employees generally within six months of hire. Temporary and casual employees will generally be provided training within 30 calendar days of the date of hire. Participants will learn how to recognize sexual misconduct in the workplace and about campus resources. Other topics covered by this program include illegal discrimination, abusive behavior in the workplace, forms of sexual violence, how to be an active “upstander,” and how to report and appropriately respond to reports of sexual violence or harassment within the student and staff communities.

Failure to complete assigned prevention education programming/training may result in corrective action.

For Students

Stanford requires all incoming students, graduates and undergraduates, to complete prevention education programming prior to enrolling at Stanford, generally through an assigned online course. Additionally, undergraduates are expected to participate in additional programming on campus, or virtually. The university or departments may require additional programming for students, such as student athletes, or students participating in Greek life. Failure to complete assigned prevention education programming can result in an enrollment hold.

Student staff and student teaching assistants are required to complete additional training in order to fulfil their student staff or teaching responsibilities. Failure to complete the training can result in termination from the role.

Back to top

7. Sanctions

Violations under this Policy are extremely serious and decision-makers are expected to impose appropriate discipline, University interventions, or remedial or corrective actions for each matter up to and including discharge (for faculty, staff, or other employees), expulsion (for students), removal from campus, and/or other appropriate sanctions or actions. Depending on the circumstances, Respondents may be removed from University programs, placed on administrative leave, and/or removed from campus pending the finding of responsibility for a violation of this Policy.

Back to top

8. Procedures for Policy Violations

The University has several procedures available to resolve allegations of violations of this Policy. In general, the University will investigate or otherwise respond to reports of violations of this Policy in circumstances in which either:

  • Both the Respondent and the Complainant are subject to this Policy and there is a connection between the allegations and University programs or activities; OR
  • The Respondent is subject to this Policy and investigation and response are necessary for the proper functioning of the University, including the safety of members of the University community or preservation of a respectful and safe climate at the University. 

Which procedure the University will use to investigate and resolve a violation of this Policy depends on the circumstances of the report, including the respective roles of the Complainant and Respondent at the University, the location of the alleged Policy violation and relationship to University programs or activities, and the severity of the alleged conduct. 

Procedures specific to Employment-Related Sexual Harassment are as follows:

Procedures for Employment-Related Sexual Harassment

University Intervention

Depending on the circumstances and taking into account a Complainant’s request for Confidentiality, a University Intervention in the workplace or academic setting may be attempted. The Intervention may be led by Human Resources professionals, Title IX staff members, the Ombuds, other faculty or staff, or sometimes an outside party unrelated to the University. An Intervention is an action to address a concern without a formal investigation. This process is appropriate when the allegation, if true, would not rise to the level of a Policy violation, but the conduct is nonetheless objectionable. Examples of this conduct could include inappropriate jokes and comments. This process is also appropriate when the Complainant does not want the University to conduct a full investigation and the University considers an intervention an appropriate step to address the concerns. The goal is to address the reported behavior to the extent possible while honoring the wishes of the Complainant.

In addition, in the event the person who is the subject of the Policy violation decides not to submit a complaint, the University, consistent with its obligations under California and federal law, reserves the discretion to take prompt, remedial action upon the receipt of notice of a potential Policy violation to cause any harassing behavior to stop. 

Investigations

If significant facts are contested, a prompt investigation may be undertaken. The investigation will be conducted by impartial and trained personnel in a way that respects, to the reasonable extent possible bearing in mind the safety of the campus community, the privacy of all of the persons involved. In appropriate cases, internal or external professional investigators may be asked to conduct or assist in the investigation. In making a finding, the investigator will use the “Preponderance of the Evidence” standard: is it more likely than not that the reported allegations are true. The University will strive to complete investigations as expeditiously as possible. The results of the investigation may be used in the third party intervention process or in a grievance or disciplinary action.

Disciplinary Procedures, Grievances and/or Appeals

In appropriate cases, disciplinary procedures may be initiated. The applicable disciplinary procedure depends on the status of the individual whose conduct is in question (the Respondent).

Depending upon the nature of the remedial or corrective action imposed, the Respondent may be able to appeal or grieve the disciplinary result. The applicable appeal/grievance procedure depends on the circumstances and the position of the Respondent. Generally, the process consists of the individual's submission of a complaint, a fact-finding process or investigation by a University representative, followed by a decision and, in some cases, the possibility of one or more appeals, usually to Stanford administrative officers at higher levels.

Indemnification and Costs

The question sometimes arises as to whether the University will defend and indemnify a Stanford employee accused of sexual harassment. California law provides, in part, "An employer shall indemnify [its] employee for all that the employee necessarily expends or loses in direct consequence of the discharge of his/her duties as such..." The issue of indemnification depends on the facts and circumstances of each situation. Individuals who violate this policy, however, should be aware that they and/or their schools, institutes, or other units may be required to pay or contribute to any judgments, costs and expenses incurred as a result of behavior that is wrongful and/or contrary to the discharge of the employee's duties. In general, see Administrative Guide Memo 2.4.6.

Recordkeeping

The Title IX Office will track reports of Employment-Related Sexual Harassment for statistical purposes and report at least annually concerning their number, nature and disposition to the University President through the Provost. University decision-makers have a responsibility to keep the Title IX Office informed about the outcome of cases.

The Title IX Office may keep confidential records of reports of Employment-Related Sexual Harassment and the actions taken in response to those reports and use them for purposes such as to identify individuals or departments likely to benefit from training so that training priorities can be established.

 

Policy Footnotes

[1] This Policy is also designed to comply with the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) (42 U.S.C. 13925) and its implementing regulations (24 C.F.R. 5.2001) if reauthorized.

[2] Section 106.30(a) of the Title IX regulations provides that "sexual assault" for purposes of Title IX is defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), which in turn provides that "[t]he term ‘sexual assault’ means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." The definitions for forcible and nonforcible sex offenses are derived from the FBI’s Summary Reporting System and/or National Incident-Based Reporting System. On August 13, 2020, OCR provided guidance that a university may use definitions from either system, so long as the university includes in its definition of sexual assault all forcible and nonforcible sex offenses described by the FBI—regardless of whether the FBI system uses the label forcible or nonforcible or requires force as an element. Consistent with this guidance, Stanford has elected to use the definitions from each system that provide the most flexibility and that do not use the requirement of force as an element. Stanford has also made slight, non-substantive modifications to the FBI definitions for clarity and consistency with defined terms used within this Policy, such as "Complainant," "Affirmative Consent," and "Incapacitation."

[3] The following sexual acts covered by this definition are required to be included by federal regulations and are derived from the FBI’s Summary Reporting System and National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual definitions:

  • Rape. Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the Affirmative Consent of the Complainant.
  • Sodomy. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the Affirmative Consent of the Complainant, including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical Incapacitation.
  • Sexual Assault with an Object. To use an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the Affirmative Consent of the Complainant, including instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical Incapacitation.
  • Fondling. The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the Affirmative Consent of the Complainant, including in instances where the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical Incapacitation.

[4] This definition is derived from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual.

[5] This definition is derived from the FBI’s National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual. See also footnote 11 for information regarding reporting requirements for this Policy violation.

[6] Note that it is possible that some instances of University Nonforcible Sexual Violations might also rise to the level of Title IX Sexual Harassment, such as secretly recording and broadly posting an individual engaged in sexual activity.

[7] Section 106.30(a) of the Title IX regulations provides that “dating violence” for purposes of Title IX is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10). This definition is derived from that section, with non-substantive modifications for clarity and consistency with this Policy.

[8] Section 106.30(a) of the Title IX regulations provides that “domestic violence” for purposes of Title IX is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8). This definition is derived from that section, with non-substantive modifications for clarity and consistency with this Policy.

[9] Section 106.30(a) of the Title IX regulations provides that “stalking” for purposes of Title IX is defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30). This definition is derived from that section, with non-substantive modifications for clarity and consistency with this Policy.

[10] Consistent with FEHA, the University does not require a complaint of Prohibited Sexual Conduct to be in writing, but the University’s ability to respond to a complaint that is not in writing may be limited, as provided in the Title IX Procedure.

[11] University staff members with a duty to report are required to report instances of Statutory Rape under this Policy to the Title IX Coordinator only as consistent with California Penal Code sections 11165.1, 11165.9, and 261.5(d), which provide that sexual intercourse between an adult and a minor are only required to be reported when one person is 21 years of age or older and the other person is under 16 years of age.

[12] Questions about whether conduct could be a crime should be directed to the Title IX Office or Department of Public Safety.

[13] Individuals who meet the definition of a mandated reporter under California Penal Code sections 11165.7, 11166, and 11167, must report those incidents of child abuse and neglect as directed by the applicable statute.  A person under the age of 18 years of age is a minor subject to these provisions. In addition, physicians and nurses who treat any physical injury sustained during sexual violence are required to report such cases to law enforcement. See also footnote 11 .

Back to top

1.7.2 Consensual Sexual or Romantic Relationships In the Workplace and Educational Setting

Last updated on:
11/21/2017

This policy highlights the risks in sexual or romantic relationships in the Stanford workplace or academic setting between individuals in inherently unequal positions; prohibits certain relationships between teachers and students; and requires recusal (from supervision and evaluation) and notification in other relationships.

Authority: 

Approved by the President.

Applicability: 

Applies to all students, faculty, staff, and others who participate in Stanford programs and activities.

1. In General

There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals in inherently unequal positions, and parties in such a relationship assume those risks. In the university context, such positions include (but are not limited to) teacher and student, supervisor and employee, senior faculty and junior faculty, mentor and trainee, adviser and advisee, teaching assistant and student, principal investigator and postdoctoral scholar or research assistant, coach and athlete, attending physician and resident or fellow, and individuals who supervise the day-to-day student living environment and their students.

Because of the potential for conflict of interest, exploitation, favoritism, and bias, such relationships may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. Further, these relationships are often less consensual than the individual whose position confers power or authority believes. In addition, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a sexual or romantic involvement, this past consent does not remove grounds for a charge based upon subsequent unwelcome conduct.

Such relationships may also have unintended, adverse effects on the climate of an academic program or work unit, thereby impairing the learning or working environment for others – both during such a relationship and after any break-up. Relationships in which one party is in a position to evaluate the work or influence the career of the other may provide grounds for complaint by third parties when that relationship gives undue access or advantage, restricts opportunities, or simply creates a perception of these problems. Additionally, even when a relationship ends, there may be bias (even if unintentional) for or against the former partner, or there could be an ongoing impression of such bias; in other words, the effects of a romantic or sexual relationship can extend beyond the relationship itself.  

For all of these reasons, sexual or romantic relationships--whether regarded as consensual or otherwise--between individuals in inherently unequal positions should in general be avoided and in many circumstances are strictly prohibited by this policy. Since these relationships can occur in multiple contexts on campus, this policy addresses certain contexts specifically. However, the policy covers all sexual and romantic relationships involving individuals in unequal positions, even if not addressed explicitly in what follows.

Back to top

2. With Students

At a university, the role of the teacher is multifaceted, including serving as intellectual guide, mentor, role model and advisor. This role is at the heart of the University’s educational mission and its integrity must be maintained. The teacher’s influence and authority can extend far beyond the classroom and into the future, affecting the academic progress and careers of our students.

Accordingly, the University expects teachers to maintain interactions with students free from influences that may interfere with the learning and personal development experiences to which students are entitled. In this context, teachers include those who are entrusted by Stanford to teach, supervise, mentor and coach students, including faculty and consulting faculty of all ranks, lecturers, academic advisors, and principal investigators.  The specific policies on teachers outlined below do not apply to Stanford students (undergraduates, graduates and post-doctoral scholars) who may at times take on the role of teachers or teaching assistants, policies for whom are addressed in a separate section.

As a general proposition, the University believes that a sexual or romantic relationship between a teacher and a student – even where consensual and whether or not the student is subject to supervision or evaluation by the teacher – is inconsistent with the proper role of the teacher.  Not only can these relationships harm the educational environment for the individual student involved, they also undermine the educational environment for other students. Furthermore, such relationships may expose the teacher to charges of misconduct and create a potential liability, not only for the teacher, but also for the University if it is determined that laws against sexual harassment or discrimination have been violated.

Consequently, the University has established the following parameters regarding sexual or romantic relationships with Stanford students:

First, because of the relative youth of undergraduates and their particular vulnerability in such relationships, sexual or romantic relationships between teachers and undergraduate students are prohibited – regardless of current or future academic or supervisory responsibilities for that student.   

Second, whenever a teacher has had, or in the future might reasonably be expected to have, academic responsibility over any student, such relationships are prohibited. This includes, for example, any faculty member who teaches in a graduate student’s department, program or division.  Conversely, no teacher shall exercise academic responsibility over a student with whom he or she has previously had a sexual or romantic relationship. “Academic responsibility” includes (but is not limited to) teaching, grading, mentoring, advising on or evaluating research or other academic activity, participating in decisions regarding funding or other resources, clinical supervision, and recommending for admissions, employment, fellowships or awards.  In this context, students include graduate and professional school students, postdoctoral scholars, and clinical residents or fellows.

Third, certain staff roles (including deans and other senior administrators, coaches, supervisors of student employees, Residence Deans and Fellows, as well as others who mentor, advise or have authority over students) also have broad influence on or authority over students and their experience at Stanford. For this reason, sexual or romantic relationships between such staff members and undergraduate students are prohibited. Similarly, relationships between staff members and other students over whom the staff member has had or is likely in the future to have such influence or authority are prohibited.

When a preexisting sexual or romantic relationship between a university employee and a student is prohibited by this policy – or if a relationship not previously prohibited becomes prohibited due to a change in circumstances – the employee must both recuse himself or herself from any supervisory or academic responsibility over the student, and notify his or her supervisor, department chair or dean about the situation so that adequate alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangements can be put in place. This obligation to recuse and notify exists for past as well as for current relationships. Failure to disclose the relationship in a timely fashion will itself be considered a violation of policy. The university understands that sexual or romantic relationships are often private in nature and the university treats such information sensitively and (to the extent practicable) confidentially.

Back to top

3. Between Students (Student Teachers, Teaching Assistants and Graders)

Many existing policies govern student responsibilities towards each other.  The current policy applies when undergraduate or graduate students or post-doctoral scholars are serving in the teaching role as teachers, TAs, graders or research supervisors. The policy does not prohibit students from having consensual sexual or romantic relationships with fellow students. However, if such a relationship exists between a student teacher and a student in a setting for which the student teacher is serving in this capacity, s/he shall not exercise any evaluative or teaching function for that student.  Furthermore, the student teacher must recuse himself or herself and notify his or her supervisor so that alternative evaluative, oversight or teaching arrangements can be put in place.  This obligation to recuse and notify exists for past as well as for current relationships. Failure to notify and recuse in this situation will be subject to discipline under the Fundamental Standard.  The university understands that sexual or romantic relationships are often private in nature and the university treats such information sensitively and (to the extent practicable) confidentially.

Back to top

4. In Other Contexts

Consensual sexual or romantic relationships between adult employees (including faculty) are not in general prohibited by this policy. However, relationships between employees in which one has direct or indirect authority over the other are always potentially problematic. This includes not only relationships between supervisors and their staff, but also between senior faculty and junior faculty, faculty and both academic and non-academic staff, and so forth.

Where such a relationship develops, the person in the position of greater authority or power must recuse him/herself to ensure that he/she does not exercise any supervisory or evaluative function over the other person in the relationship. Where such recusal is required, the recusing party must also notify his/her supervisor, department chair, dean or human resources manager, so that person can ensure adequate alternative supervisory or evaluative arrangements are put in place. Such notification is always required where recusal is required. This obligation to recuse and notify exists for past as well as for current relationships. Failure to disclose the relationship in a timely fashion will itself be considered a violation of policy. The university understands that sexual or romantic relationships are often private in nature and the university treats such information sensitively and (to the extent practicable) confidentially.

The University has the option to take any action necessary to ensure compliance with the spirit of this policy, including transferring either or both employees to minimize disruption of the work group.

Back to top

5. Additional Matters

If there is any doubt whether a relationship falls within this policy, individuals should disclose the facts and seek guidance rather than fail to disclose. Questions may be addressed to your supervisor or cognizant dean or to the Sexual Harassment Policy Office, or in confidence to the University Ombuds or the School of Medicine Ombuds. In those rare situations where it is programmatically infeasible to provide alternative supervision, academic responsibility and/or evaluation, the cognizant dean, director or supervisor must approve all (as applicable) academic responsibility, evaluative and compensation actions.

Employees who engage in sexual or romantic relationships with a student or other employee contrary to the guidance, prohibitions and requirements provided in the policy are subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, depending on the nature of and context for the violation.   They will also be held accountable for any adverse consequences that result from those relationships.

Stanford’s policy with regard to employment of related persons can be found in the Administrative Guide 2.1.2.2c and is excerpted here:

Employment by a related person in any position (e.g. regular staff, faculty, other teaching, temporary, casual, third party, etc.) within an organizational unit can occur only with the approval of the responsible Vice Provost, Vice President (or similar level equivalent to the highest administrative person within the organizational unit), or his/her designee. Under no circumstances may a supervisor hire or approve any compensation action for any employee to whom the supervisor is related. An individual may not supervise, evaluate the job performance, or approve compensation for any individual with whom the supervisor is related.

Even when the criteria discussed here are met, employment of a related person in any position within the organization must have the approval of the local human resources office, in addition to the approval of the hiring manager's supervisor, including faculty supervisors. 

Back to top

6. Policy Review and Evaluation

This policy was originally part of the Sexual Harassment policy, which went into effect on October 6, 1993, and was amended November 30, 1995, May 30, 2002, August 30, 2012 and June 11, 2013. Its revision and conversion to a separate policy was made on December 6, 2013 and updated on January 21, 2014. Comments or suggestions should be made to the Provost.

Back to top

1.7.4 Equal Employment Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Affirmative Action Policy

Last updated on:
11/20/2017
Formerly Known As Policy Number: 
2.2.1

The policies in this Guide Memo are fundamental to Stanford University's employment policies.

Authority: 

Approved by the President of the University.

Applicability: 

This policy applies to all faculty, staff and others who participate in Stanford programs and activities including Stanford affiliates providing services to Stanford such as mentors and volunteers, and other third parties, such as contractors and vendors. Its application includes Stanford programs and activities both on and off-campus, including overseas programs.

1. Equal Employment Opportunity

It is the policy of Stanford University to provide equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees in compliance with all applicable laws. This policy applies in all aspects of the employment relationship including (but not limited to) recruiting, selection, placement, supervision, working conditions, compensation, training, promotion, demotion, transfer, layoff, and termination. All university personnel policies, procedures, and practices must be administered consistent with the intent of this policy.

Back to top

2. Protection against Discrimination

(a) Stanford University does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical or mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law, in connection with any aspect of employment at Stanford.


(b) Harassment on the basis of any legally protected characteristic is a form of discrimination and is likewise prohibited by this university policy. Prohibited harassment occurs if a hostile environment has been created that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent so as to unreasonably interfere with a person's work performance or participation in university activities.

Prohibited harassment may take the form of (but is not limited to) offensive slurs, jokes, and other offensive oral, written, computer-generated, visual or physical conduct which is aimed at an individual or group because of their protected status.

Back to top

3. Affirmative Action

As a matter of institutional policy and consistent with its obligation as a federal government contractor, Stanford University is committed to principles of diversity and affirmative action, and will comply with all affirmative action requirements in accordance with law.

Back to top

4. Resources

(a) Employees or applicants who believe they have been discriminated against, harassed, or retaliated against in violation of this policy may direct their complaint to any of the following:

  • the Office of Diversity and Access at equalopportunity@stanford.edu or 650-723-0755,
  • their local Human Resources office,
  • their supervisor,
  • University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations at stanfordelr@stanford.edu or 650-721-4272,
  • the Senior Associate Provost for Institutional Equity & Access at 650-721-1084,
  • the School of Medicine Office of Employee Relations at med.stanford.edu/hrg.html or 650-497-2750, or
  • the SLAC Manager of Employee Relations and Training at 650-926-2358.

(b) Concerns regarding sexual harassment or consensual sexual or romantic relationships in the professional or academic workplace may also be made to the Sexual Harassment Policy Office (650-724-2120 or harass@stanford.edu) or to any Sexual Harassment Adviser listed at harass.stanford.edu. See Guide Memo 1.7.1.

(c) Concerns regarding gender or sex discrimination (including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, relationship (dating and domestic) violence and stalking) involving students should be made to the Title IX Office at titleix@stanford.edu or 650-497-4955. See Guide Memo 1.7.3.

(d) Concerns regarding conduct believed to be unethical or unlawful may be made to the University Compliance and Ethics Office at compliance@stanford.edu or 650-721-2667.  Anonymous concerns of any type can be submitted to the Compliance and Ethics Helpline (at helpline.stanford.edu). 

(e) Confidential Resources: The University Ombuds at 650-723-3682, the School of Medicine Ombuds at 650-498-5744, and the Faculty & Staff Help Center at 650-723-4577 are also available as confidential resources to discuss concerns for staff. Confidential resources for students include the University Ombuds at 650-723-3682, the School of Medicine Ombuds at 650-498-5744, Counseling and Psychological Services at 650-498-2336, and the Confidential Support Team at 650-725-9955, who specialize in sexual violence and domestic/dating violence. Anonymous complaints and/or discussions with a confidential resource described in this paragraph will not constitute “notice” to the university.

Back to top

5. Internal Reporting

For faculty and staff concerns, reports of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should be made orally or in writing and as soon as possible to the local Human Resources office. The earlier the report, the easier it is to investigate and take appropriate remedial action. Supervisors and responsible employees as identified in Guide Memo 1.7.3 are expected to report any complaints of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of which they are aware. Remedial actions can include direct communication with the other person, third party intervention by a human resource professional or other staff member, or, where facts are in dispute, an investigation.

Making a false report or providing false information may be grounds for discipline in the absence of a good faith belief that the report/information is true.

The university is committed to promptly and fairly investigating and remediating claims of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Investigations are conducted as necessary by impartial and qualified personnel and will reach conclusions based on the evidence collected. Unless otherwise required by law, the guideline for investigations to conclude is 90 days; however, this timeline may be extended in some cases, such as complex matters or where there are unforeseen circumstances. Personnel conducting investigations will document and track investigations for reasonable progress and timely closures. If inappropriate conduct or misconduct is found, appropriate corrective and/or disciplinary action will be taken. All individuals covered by this policy are expected to fully and truthfully cooperate in the investigation of any claim of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Failure to cooperate and/or be truthful in an investigation when requested may be grounds for discipline.

Depending upon an individual's category of employment (e.g., faculty, academic staff, regular staff, postdoctoral scholar, etc.) and the nature of the complaint, applicable grievance or other procedures also may be used to report complaints or to appeal findings of an investigation.

Back to top

6. Confidentiality

The university recognizes the importance of confidentiality.  Personnel responsible for implementing this policy will respect the confidentiality and privacy of individuals reporting or accused of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation to the extent reasonably possible. Examples of situations where confidentiality cannot be maintained include circumstances when the law requires disclosure of information and/or when disclosure by the university is necessary to protect the safety of others.

Back to top

7. Protection Against Retaliation

Stanford University policy prohibits retaliation against individuals who raise concerns of perceived discrimination or harassment or who participate in the investigation of any claim of discrimination or harassment. Retaliation is any materially adverse action that would dissuade a reasonable person from making or supporting a claim of harassment or discrimination. Retaliation violates the law and Stanford’s policy. Retaliation can be direct such as changing an employee’s work location, work assignments, pay or schedule, or it can be indirect such as intimidating, threatening, or harassing an employee who has raised a claim or participated as a witness in an investigation. All parties to a concern are prohibited from engaging in intimidating actions directly or indirectly through other persons. 

Back to top

8. External Reporting

Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation is prohibited by state and federal law. In addition to the internal resources described above, individuals may pursue complaints directly with the government agencies that deal with unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation claims, e.g., the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and/or the State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). A violation of this policy may exist even where the conduct in question does not violate the law.

Back to top

1.8.1 Protection of Minors

Last updated on:
04/06/2020
Authority: 

This Guide Memo is approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Applicability: 

This policy applies to all university departments and organizations. Athletic camps, academic camps, licensed childcare facilities, instructional programs, and other organized programs and activities intended for minors are within the scope of this policy, whether they are limited to daily activities, involve the housing of minors in residence halls, or take place off campus as part of a program directed or sponsored by Stanford (“Covered Programs”).

1. Definitions

“Minor”: Any person under the age of 18.

“Covered Program”: Any activity directed or sponsored by Stanford and intended for Minors. Covered Programs also include programs and activities intended for Minors that are operated by a third party organization on Stanford’s campus. Covered Programs do not include: single performances or events open to the general public not targeted toward Minors, events or social functions that may be attended by Minors who are accompanied by their parents/guardians, or organized school field trips or tours where Minors are under the supervision of an authorized adult or adults.

“Program Staff”: Administrators, faculty, staff, students, and volunteers who work directly with, supervise, chaperone or otherwise oversee Minors in Covered Programs.

“Live Scan”: The required method of criminal background check for Program Staff working with Minors. This method uses a fingerprinting device and must include results from the California Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. For information on completing a Live Scan background check, contact University Human Resources.

Back to top

2. Purpose and Scope of Policy

  1. Stanford University is dedicated to the welfare and safety of all persons who participate in university-sponsored events. However, because Minors are a particularly vulnerable population, Stanford takes extra precautions to protect Minors who participate in activities and programs on Stanford’s campus or under the authority and direction of the university at other locations. Stanford expects all members of the university community to adhere to and act in accordance with this policy.
  2. This policy describes the responsibilities of Program Staff and informs all members of the university community of their obligation to report any instances of inappropriate behavior involving Minors (see Section 7: Appropriate Behavior with Minors). Failure to comply with the requirements set forth in this policy may lead to disciplinary action (up to and including termination) and/or revocation of the opportunity to use Stanford facilities and land.
  3. Although Stanford is committed to the welfare and appropriate treatment of all Minors, the administrative requirements of this policy do not apply to programs or activities involving:
    • Matriculated Stanford students who are Minors.
    • Minors who are employed at Stanford. However, if a Minor employee will be working in a Covered Program, they will be required to complete a Live Scan background check and training as required by this policy.
    • Minors participating in Institutional Review Board approved research.
    • Patient care-related activities pertaining to Minors at Stanford Hospital or Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. These activities are addressed in relevant health care policies.
  4. The Program Staff background check and training requirements of this policy do not apply for individual events lasting one day or less. However, these events must still be registered with University Human Resources and have adequate adult supervision, and Program Staff must abide by Stanford's Guidelines for Appropriate Behavior with Minors. In addition, Program Staff for these events must include at least one identified adult staff person present at all times who has a current background check on file.
  5. In the event an exception to this policy appears to be necessary, the unique facts of the situation and business necessity should be discussed in advance with University Human Resources. When necessary, cognizant Vice Presidents, Vice Provosts, or university officers will be included in the decision making of proposed exceptions. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Vice President for Human Resources.

Back to top

3. Minors Not Participating in University-Sponsored Activities

  1. Stanford, as a research university, is generally not a proper environment for Minors unless they are participating in an authorized program or activity and adequately supervised by adults who have the appropriate training and credentials. Accordingly:

1. Stanford students who have a Minor relative, friend or other guest stay with them on campus must comply with the Guest Policy in their Residence Agreement. Minor guests must be accompanied in the residence by their host, and must be registered with the Housing Front Desk when required under the Guest Policy.

2. Daycare or babysitting services are not permitted except if provided by one of Stanford’s NAEYC-accredited Early Education and Childcare centers, or by a licensed vendor who complies with all state licensing requirements and is authorized by Stanford to offer the services.  In-home childcare arrangements in private residences located on Stanford lands are permitted.

3. Pursuant to other university policies and/or Federal and/or State laws and regulations, Minors should not be present in certain facilities and environments. If a parent or guardian brings their Minor child to work, the parent or guardian is responsible for the Minor’s welfare and must ensure that the Minor child does not visit such restricted locations.

  1. In general, Minors should not be left unsupervised on Stanford’s campus. It is the responsibility of those who bring Minors to campus (including Program Sponsors or third party organizations) to ensure appropriate supervision. Certain Covered Programs for high school age students do allow limited unsupervised time on campus, with parental authorization and subject to any program rules and restrictions.

Back to top

4. Requirements for Sponsoring Covered Programs

  1. Register the Program

Each Covered Program operated by the university must have an identified Stanford department serving as the Program Sponsor, represented by a Department Chair, Senior Staff, Institute Director, or designee from the sponsoring organization.The Program Sponsor must be one of the following:

  • Stanford University academic department, school, or institute
  • Stanford administrative office operating on behalf of the university
  • Non-academic departments recognized by the President's Office, such as Athletics
  • University student groups registered with and approved by Student Activities and Leadership

For additional information, see the Office of Special Events & Protocol's University Events Policy and the Stanford Event Organizer.

Each Covered Program operated by a third party must be reviewed and approved by the university through a process established by University Human Resources. If the Third Party Program is approved, University Human Resources will serve as its Program Sponsor on behalf of the university.

1. The Program Sponsor must register the program with University Human Resources using the Protection of Minors Management System. The registration form will require Program Sponsors to provide a description, dates, and location of the program, the expected age range and estimated number of Minors.

2. After the program is registered, the Program Sponsor will be required to enter the names and contact information for planned Program Staff into the Protection of Minors Management System sufficiently in advance of the Covered Program start date to allow time for Program Staff to complete Live Scan background checks and training as required by this policy. For Third Party Programs, Program Staff information must be provided to University Human Resources by the third party organization.  

3. The Program Sponsor is also responsible for obtaining required medical and emergency contact information and liability waivers from the parent/guardian of each participating Minor before they may participate in a Covered Program. The liability waivers must be submitted into the Protection of Minors Management System. The medical information forms must be maintained securely outside of the Protection of Minors Management System by the Program Sponsor for programs operated by Stanford and by the third party organization for Third Party Programs. Assistance with the registration process is available at: http://protectminors.stanford.edu.

  1. Live Scan Background Check Requirements for Program Staff Working with Minors

  1. Unless specifically excluded under this policy, all Program Staff must undergo a Live Scan background check before working with Minors in a Covered Program. For Covered Programs operated by a third party, the third party organization must ensure that a current Live Scan background check has been completed for all Program Staff, and inform Stanford of any relevant criminal record that was identified for any of these individuals. In the event that a relevant criminal record is revealed for any proposed Program Staff, a review committee comprised of University Human Resources, the local Human Resources office, Office of the General Counsel and/or Risk Management will assess background check results and, in consultation with the Program Sponsor as necessary, make a determination as to whether the individual should be allowed to work in the Covered Program.
  2. Volunteers who work directly with minors in Covered Programs but do not supervisor, chaperone, or otherwise oversee minors, and who have not undergone a Live Scan background check may be allowed to work in a Covered Program under the direct supervision of Program Staff who have current background checks on file. Such volunteers may not have unsupervised contact with any Minor.
  1. Required Training

  1. In recognition of the imperative of protecting Minors, unless specifically excluded under this policy, all Program Staff must receive training regarding the following prior to the program start date:

  • Recognizing sexual abuse, child abuse and neglect and obligation and avenues to report suspected incidents

  • Appropriate ratio of adults to Minors

  • Appropriate behavior with Minors

  1. Training materials may be obtained from University Human Resources, or at http://protectminors.stanford.edu. If a sponsoring department or organization chooses to design and conduct its own training, the training at a minimum must cover the topics listed above and incorporate the materials provided by University Human Resources. Confirmation of attendance and completion of in-person training must be submitted to University Human Resources.

  2. For Covered Programs operated by third parties, the third party organization is required to ensure that all Program Staff undergo training on these topics, understand their obligations, and agree to comply.

Back to top

5. Minimum Appropriate Staffing Ratio of Adults to Minors

Staffing needs for Covered Programs may vary depending on the type of program, the activities involved, and requirements imposed by the Program Sponsor. However, all Covered Programs must meet the following minimum staffing ratios:

Participant Age Number of Staff Number of Overnight Participants Number of Day-Only Participants
Appropriate Staffing Ratio of Adults to Minors
6-8 years 1 6 8
9-13 years 1 8 10
14-17 years 1 10 12

 

Back to top

6. Appropriate Behavior with Minors

Adults should be positive role models for Minors, and act in a caring, honest, respectful and responsible manner that is consistent with the mission and guiding principles of the university. The behavior of all members of the Stanford community is expected to align at all times with Guide Memo 1.1.1: University Code of Conduct. In addition, all members must abide by the university’s Guidelines for Appropriate Behavior with Minors, at http://protectminors.stanford.edu.

Back to top

7. Report Allegations of Inappropriate Behavior

"If you see something, say something." Every member of the university community has an obligation to report immediately instances or suspected instances of abuse or inappropriate behavior involving Minors. This includes information about suspected abuse, neglect, or inadequate care provided by any Program Staff. Reports should be made to the Program Sponsor and University Human Resources/Employee & Labor Relations at (650) 721-4272.

Individuals identified as Mandated Reporters are legally obligated to immediately report known or reasonably suspected child abuse or neglect to authorities. A written report must be made to the same authorities within 10 hours. Mandated Reporters making a report in good faith will be protected from criminal and civil liability for making the report. Further, it is the policy of the university that no person making a good faith report of suspected abuse or neglect will be retaliated against in the terms and conditions of employment or educational program. More information about Mandated Reporters may be found at https://hr.stanford.edu/processes/mandated-reporter.

Back to top

1.9.1 Signature and Financial Approval Authority

Last updated on:
03/19/2019

The Stanford Board of Trustees’ fiduciary responsibility for university activities includes a duty to act as a responsible steward of all university resources. This policy sets forth a framework governing the assignment of responsibility to individuals throughout the university. It is designed to provide the appropriate oversight, accountability, and transparency to ensure that commitments of university resources are executed appropriately and in accord with applicable laws, regulations and university policies. 

Accordingly, this Guide Memo contains policies governing signature and financial approval authority for execution of both financial and non-financial agreements on behalf of the university. 

This policy applies to all university operations and projects, irrespective of physical location, except SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Stanford Health Care and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford, and their subsidiaries and controlled entities, which are subject to their own policies.

Authority: 

Approved by the President.

1. Key Definitions

a. Signature Authority/Authority to Enter into an Agreement on behalf of the University

Signature authority is a formal delegation that allows an individual to sign or otherwise enter into an agreement on behalf of the University.

Delegated signature authority is required to sign or enter into agreements (which are inclusive of any form of written or oral contracts that create any legal obligations for the university, as further described below) or otherwise bind or obligate the university to a financial or a non-financial commitment. 

Note that signature authority for many types of agreements is reserved for specific university offices. See the Reserved Authority section for additional details.

b. Financial Approval/PTA Authority

Financial approval/PTA authority is a formal delegation that allows an individual to spend or approve the commitment of university funds within the scope of their management responsibility, such as a school, department or administrative unit. Generally, this type of authority is delegated within the university financial systems (as defined below) and pertains only to the approval of transactions within university financial systems. Financial approval authority does not include signature authority as described above or other reserved authority as described below. Additionally, sufficient financial approval authority is required for all transaction approvals, including projects that have already received budget approval. An individual may be delegated financial approval authority for a specific project or initiative by the President or Board of Trustees that is greater than their normal financial authority, for example with respect to a large capital project.

Administrative Guide Memo 3.2.1: Responsibility for University Funds further provides that expenditures must be: (1) reasonable and necessary; (2) consistent with established university policies and practices applicable to the work of the university, including instruction, research, and public service; and (3) consistent with sponsor or donor expenditure restrictions.

c. Exercise of Authority

Individuals entering into an agreement on behalf of the university must have signature authority that has been explicitly delegated from the Board of Trustees or via the sub-delegation process from the President.

When an action is within one’s signature authority delegation, the delegate must exercise sound business judgment, including:

  • Consultation and coordination with other officers, faculty, staff or other persons who may have overlapping responsibilities
  • Ensuring compliance with all relevant university policies and external requirements

Visit the Gateway to Financial Activities website (Fingate) for a matrix of university business partners available to provide expert resources.

Back to top

2. Scope of Signature and Approval Authority Delegated to the University President

By resolution of the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University, the President has the general authority, on behalf of the university and its subsidiaries (excluding Stanford Health Care, Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital, and their subsidiaries and controlled entities), to execute agreements and other documents, and to approve and carry out transactions and other actions relating to all aspects of the operations of the university, except where powers are reserved to the Board of Trustees or other officers, divisions, or subsidiaries of the university by resolutions of the Board, the Board’s Bylaws, the Founding Grant, law, or otherwise. The delegation to the President includes, but is not limited to, the power to:

  • Negotiate and execute agreements
  • Execute other documents, including government and non-government documents
  • Submit applications and reports
  • Settle disputes
  • Accept gifts, grants and/or other funding
  • Exercise investment authority other than that which has been expressly delegated to Stanford Management Company (SMC)
  • Create, maintain, operate and/or dissolve subsidiaries or other related entities of the university
  • Establish, maintain and manage bank investment and brokerage accounts and the associated funds

Additionally, all financial commitments (as defined below) exceeding $25 million require the approval of the Board, unless the commitment is:

  • For ordinary and necessary expenses that are required for the day-to-day operations of the university, such as wages, employee benefits, utilities, communication and data charges, insurance premiums, food services and the like
  • Required to comply with tax or other government (domestic and foreign) regulations (e.g. payments for taxes, social security, unemployment, disability insurance, etc.)
  • Provided under the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) Management and Operating (M&O) contract with the Department of Energy
  • Provided under investment agreements managed by Stanford Management Company (SMC) 

Construction, renovation or building improvement projects require the approval of the Board, unless obtaining an approval may conflict with rights that have been granted under an existing agreement, if the project is on or within university-owned land, and:

  • Has a financial commitment in excess of $25 million (unless the commitment is otherwise provided under SLAC’s M&O contract or under investment authority otherwise granted to SMC),
  • Is for creation of new development on a previously undeveloped site, or
  • Will result in the change in use of an existing site

Back to top

3. Delegation from University President to University Officers, Deans and Directors

The President may delegate signature and financial approval authority to each Officer, Dean, and Director reporting to the President (AGM 9.1.1: President and Officers Reporting to the President) or Provost (AGM 9.2.1: Provost and Officers Reporting to the Provost). Individual officers’ specific scope of responsibility and limits of specific reserved delegations are documented, retained and available for review in the Delegation Repository on the Fingate website. The dollar limit to this authority, to the extent that it relates to financial approval authority, is documented in the university’s Authority Manager System

Financial commitments (as defined in the Definitions section) that are reasonably expected to accumulate, over the course of the current or ensuing fiscal year(s), to a level in excess of an individual’s delegated signature authority must be treated as being outside of the limits of delegated authority. Such financial commitments must be approved by a delegate with the appropriate level of authority, if any, or by the Board of Trustees.

Back to top

4. Sub-Delegations

Within the scope of authority documented above for each Officer, Dean and Director reporting to the President or Provost, that individual may further sub-delegate signature and/or financial approval authority within their line of reporting, unless specifically prohibited. Such sub-delegations must also be documented, retained and available for review in the Delegation Repository on the Fingate website.

Signature authority sub-delegations should be limited, to the extent possible, to the next level of direct reports. All additional financial approval authority sub-delegations must be documented and maintained in the university Authority Manager system. Sub-delegations must be commensurate with the responsibilities of the sub-delegate. For example, it is generally not appropriate to sub-delegate more than half of one’s financial approval authority to another individual. 

Sub-delegation of authority does not equate to delegation of responsibility. It remains the responsibility of the person granting the authority to exercise appropriate oversight to ensure that sub-delegates exercise their sub-delegation with care and responsibility.

Back to top

5. Documentation

Documentation of all delegations and sub-delegations is retained and available for review in the Delegation Repository on the Fingate website. For information about requesting or modifying a delegation, see the Fingate website.

Back to top

6. Reserved Authority

Regardless of the scope of an individual’s delegated authority, execution of certain types of transactions and agreements is reserved for specific offices within the university, as further described in the applicable policies referenced below. 

a. Accepting Gifts on Behalf of the University

In general, only Office of Development (OOD) may accept gifts (e.g., cash, property, charitable gift trusts or other types of assets) on behalf of the university. In limited circumstances, individual departments (e.g., libraries and museums) are authorized to accept certain types of gifts (e.g., books, archival materials, and arts). OOD should be consulted in the gift solicitation and acceptance process as stated in AGM 4.2.1: Receiving and Processing Gifts.

b. Construction or Remodeling

Construction of new buildings or remodeling involving a major exterior design change is managed through Lands, Buildings and Real Estate (LBRE). Within policy, LBRE may grant approval for Departmentally Managed Projects (DMP), facility and infrastructure projects that are managed by staff within individual schools and departments; see the Departmentally Managed Projects (DMP) policy.

c. Employment Policies

The Provost, for faculty and academic staff appointments, and the Vice President for University Human Resources, for regular staff and contingent positions, have responsibility for establishment of employment policies.

d. Investments

Stanford Management Company (SMC) has signature authority for its management of the Merged Pool and the Intermediate Pool, and any other investments that it manages or administers. Signature authority related to the School & Department Investment funds is documented in individual delegation letters for the applicable School/VP Area. SMC reserves the authority to direct other pools of investment capital not managed by SMC as needed to avoid conflicts with the Merged Pool and the Intermediate Pool.

e. Purchasing

University Procurement, within Financial Management Services, has responsibility for purchasing, placing orders and executing contracts for goods and services for the university, subject to the receipt of an approved Purchase Requisition. Procurement is the sole holder of this authority at the university, with the exception of sub-delegations that have been granted by the University President or otherwise approved by the Vice President for Business Affairs & CFO. Procurement maintains the list of exceptions as stated in AGM 5.1.1: Procurement Policies.

Individuals with sufficient financial approval authority may make purchases of commercially available off-the-shelf items and related services of $25,000 or less as long as the purchase does not require a signed agreement. These purchases must be reasonable and necessary, consistent with established university policies and practices applicable to the work of the university, including instruction, research, and public service, and must be consistent with sponsor or donor expenditure restrictions.

Intra-university service agreements, such as requests to university service centers for catering, maintenance or telecommunication services, are outside the purview of University Procurement and may be signed and negotiated by the applicable office and academic unit, as long as the transaction is routed to an approver or approvers with a sufficient level of PTA Authority.

f. Financial Accounts and Debt Issuance

Opening, maintaining and closing bank accounts is restricted to authorized staff members within the Office of the Treasurer (OoT). Additionally, OoT has responsibility for debt issuance. See AGM 3.6.1: Bank Accounts.

g. Related Entities

The authority to create, acquire, dispose of or terminate legal entities is reserved to the Office of General Counsel and the Vice President of Business Affairs & CFO, except as otherwise provided in the applicable policy. See AGM 3.7.1: Establishment and Governance of Legal Entities.

h. Research-Related Agreements

The authority to sign research-related agreements for sponsored grants, contracts, awards, and sub-awards is reserved to the Office of Research Administration (ORA), the Office of Technology Licensing (OTL), the Industrial Contracts Office, and the School of Medicine Research Management Group (RMG).

Back to top

With respect to the reserved authorities detailed above, if local laws, the subsidiary’s corporate governance arrangements, or the university’s internal policies require the signature authority or financial authority to rest with the authorized representative(s) for the subsidiary, the subsidiary and the relevant offices should determine the appropriate process to review, manage and sign agreements for such reserved authorities. Otherwise, if specified in a delegation, an individual’s signature and financial authority may extend to such subsidiaries.

Back to top

8. Definitions

a. Agreement

An agreement is defined as any written or oral contract between the university (which includes any of its business units or related entities) and a third party that creates any legal obligation for the university. Agreements could include, but are not limited to:

  • Agreements that create any financial commitment, including the potential for a financial commitment, for the university, regardless of funding source, such as purchase orders or property leases
  • Agreements that set terms for acceptance of gifts and grants
  • Business Associate Addendum
  • Click-through Agreement
  • Collaborative Research Agreement
  • Corporate formation and maintenance documents for legal entities
  • Data Use Agreements
  • Letters of Intent
  • Licensing Agreements
  • Material Transfer Agreements
  • Memoranda of Understanding (if it contains any binding obligations)
  • Non-disclosure or confidential disclosure agreements
  • Permission to use the university’s name
  • Scope of Work/Proposal
  • Software or Software as a Service (SaaS) Licensing Agreement

b. Financial Commitment

A financial commitment is defined as all amounts and/or other financial value the university (or any of its business units or subsidiaries) will be legally obligated to pay or transfer to a third party during the term of an agreement.

c. PTA

An acronym used for a Project-Task-Award combination representing an account in Stanford’s financials system.

d. University Financial Systems

Systems maintained by the university for the purposes of facilitating and recording financial transactions.

Back to top

9. Special Situations

a. Internal Transfer of Expense

Internal transfer of expense, from one PTA to another, is not subject to this policy as long as the original approval of the expense was consistent with the policy documented above. However, the journal transaction must be routed to an approver or approvers with a sufficient level of PTA Authority. Reference Administrative Guide Memo 3.2.2: Cost Transfers for details.

b. Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Confidential Disclosure Agreements (CDAs)

The principle of openness in research, as stated in Research Policy Handbook 1.4: Openness in Research, sets forth freedom of access by all interested persons to the underlying data, processes, and final results of research, is of overriding importance at Stanford University. Because the university’s “open” environment is not conducive to maintaining confidentiality, generally, the university does not sign NDAs.

Principal Investigators, researchers, or others (collectively “Recipients”) may wish to accept confidential information, materials, or technology from a third-party sponsor or supplier that requires execution of a NDA. Recipients cannot sign on behalf of the university. However, Recipients may individually take responsibility for the acceptance and protection of the information, materials or technology being shared.

Standard NDA templates are available from Office of Technology Licensing (OTL) and Office of General Counsel (OGC).

If the sponsor or supplier agrees to use the university’s template without modifications, recipients may sign it with no further review.

Recipients should be aware that sponsor or supplier requested terms in NDAs may violate university policy. Therefore, if the sponsor or supplier presents their own template or requests modifications to the university’s template, Recipients should consult with OSR, OTL, the Research Management Group (RMG), the Procurement Contracts Office or OGC prior to signing.

c. Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) and Letters of Intent (LOIs)

While generally discouraged, in rare circumstances an MOU or LOI may be needed to advance a new relationship in anticipation of future formal agreements. 

See the Research Policy Handbook (RPH) for the full policy statement for such agreements, including a link to a standard MOU template.

d. Click-through Agreements

“Click-through” agreements are generally used in online transactions, such as purchasing of online services or licensing of software product, where a user is required to agree to terms prior to using the product or service. Click-through agreements can be legally binding and therefore are subject to this policy. 

If the click-through agreement creates binding obligations on the University, please review the terms before you click “accept” to ensure that the agreement does not contain terms that violate university policies. Examples of problematic terms include:

  1. Terms that involve use, license or transfer of the university’s name, logo, trademark, patents, copyright, and/or other intellectual property, including for marketing or other promotional purposes 
  2. Terms that may violate the university’s policies on openness in research
  3. Terms that may commit the university to binding obligations that are beyond the scope of the user’s delegated authority
  4. Terms that may conflict with the university’s privacy and security policies and guidelines. For example, click-through agreements should generally not be used for services involving the storage, receipt, processing or publishing of moderate risk or high risk data (e.g. unpublished research data, student records, protected health information, other personally-identifiable information) unless the service providers are reviewed and approved in accordance with applicable policies and guidelines.

Please consult with Procurement if you require assistance with a click-through agreement that may bind the university. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the university will not be bound to any click-through term or condition that conflicts with this policy or other university policies and guidelines. Also, please visit Essential Stanford Software or Software at Stanford for information on software available to use or purchase.

Back to top