July 20, 2019

Update on a campus incident

We are writing today to follow up on the report of a noose at Stanford on July 12. We know this may be extremely disturbing to many of you, no matter where you are in the world, and whether you are an enrolled student, faculty, staff, alumni, parent or family member, or one of our many visiting summer students and associates.

A noose is widely recognized as a symbol of violence and racism directed particularly against African American people, as well as other people of color. Given a noose is a symbol representing a threat to life, it is a crime for an individual to hang a noose on a college campus for the purpose of terrorizing any person who is associated with the institution. Our community values affirm the dignity of all peoples and call upon us to speak out against racism and other forms of bias and discrimination in a voice of solidarity and shared humanity. Together, we must continue to strive for a just community in which discrimination and hate-fueled intimidation have no presence.

Below, we provide information to aid in clarifying what is known about the incident at this point in time as well as information about available support resources, and we discuss how, thanks to community feedback, we will seek to improve our responses in the future.

Incident information

The reporting party, a program lead for a camp taking place on campus, called 911 at 11:21 p.m., Friday, July 12, stating that a camp advisor had told her that the advisor had just seen a noose hanging from a tree in front of a student residence on the Stanford campus. At the time the call was initially made to the 911 dispatch center, which is managed by the Palo Alto Police Department, the Stanford Department of Public Safety (DPS) deputies were investigating a residential burglar alarm.

The 911 dispatch center notified the deputies about the reported noose at 11:37 p.m., immediately after the deputies completed the burglar alarm call for service. In route to the reported noose, officers were redirected to a different call in which several persons were observed using force to try to gain entry into a locked building. After completing that call for service, officers responded to the location where the noose was reported to be located, arriving at approximately 30 minutes past midnight.

The officers removed the rope, retained it as evidence, and spoke with persons at the residence, which was housing high school students who were attending a camp on campus. Then, they met with the person who had reported having seen the noose, who was residing at a different student residence and participating in a different summer camp on campus. Before leaving the area, the officers conducted a search for other possible evidence.

DPS has continued to investigate this matter throughout the week, including meeting with FBI agents who specialize in the investigation of hate crimes and civil rights violations, and who came to campus to provide assistance. We have received no further reports of similar activity on campus and believe this to be an isolated incident.

As the Department of Public Safety continues to investigate this serious matter, anyone with information is urged to contact DPS at (650) 329-2413.

Student support

DPS immediately contacted Stanford’s Acts of Intolerance office, which assists with bias-related incidents. The Dean of Students office (which includes the Acts of Intolerance, Residence Deans and Graduate Life offices), Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and the Centers for Equity, Community and Leadership began assisting.

CAPS offered drop-in office hours on July 18 at the Black Community Services Center, and our lead administrator for the Acts of Intolerance protocol will meet July 25 with the academic program affiliated with the program lead who called police. Our residence deans and graduate life deans have been available to meet one-on-one with students seeking individual help navigating our campus resources.

All of these offices are collaborating with Stanford Summer Session, Pre-Collegiate Studies, and Conference Services to provide information and assist those on campus for summer classes, camps and other events.


As we move into the weekend and next week, the Division of Student Affairs, including all the aforementioned offices, will continue to collaborate to reach out to students directly impacted. We would like to share with you resources available to Stanford community members, no matter where you are this summer:

• Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is available for students 24/7 at (650) 723-3785 and https://vaden.stanford.edu/get-help-now. Students who are off-campus and traveling can still contact CAPS as a resource.
• The Bridge Peer Counseling Center offers counseling by trained students and can be reached at (650) 723-3392.
• The Graduate Life Office is available 24/7 at (650) 723-7288. Please provide pager ID number 25085 to the operator. GLO can be reached during office hours at (650) 736-7078.
• Residence Deans (RDs) are available to help undergraduates during this difficult time. An on-call RD is available 24/7 at (650) 504-8022.
• The Office for Religious Life offers pastoral care and spiritual guidance and can be reached at (650) 723-1762.
• The Faculty Staff Help Center offers confidential assistance for faculty and staff. More information is available at https://cardinalatwork.stanford.edu/faculty-staff-help-center.

Next steps

Recognizing that this incident created fear, anger and frustration for many in our community, Students Affairs and the Department of Public Safety are committed to continuing to improve the response and communication around incidents such as this one. We will be meeting with community members in the upcoming weeks to discuss ways in which the university can best respond and communicate as well as support those who have been impacted. We embrace this opportunity to learn and to advance a more just, inclusive and equitable campus community through the work of our organizations.

In closing, we would like to thank those who brought this incident to the attention of our respective offices and to those who have provided information to further the investigation. We will continue to provide updates as they become available.


Susie Brubaker-Cole
Vice Provost for Student Affairs

Laura Wilson
Chief, Department of Public Safety