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Remember... it is okay to not be okay.

 New undergraduate students – first-year and transfers – await the start of the 131st Opening Convocation Ceremony at Frost Amphitheater. Credit:  Andrew Brodhead /


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The University is committed to providing a safe living and learning environment, in which every person is valued, and free expression and debate are encouraged within a culture of inclusion and mutual respect.

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Why Does this Process Exist?

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


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

Specifically, this protocol establishes

  • A reporting process for any student who believes that they have experienced or observed a Protected Identity Harm incident.
  • Mechanisms for delivering a rapid response to reported Protected Identity Harm incidents.
  • A clearly defined consultation process to ensure broad collaboration for assessing incidents.
  • A statement conveying the University's commitment to creating a respectful and civil living and learning environment.

Definition of Protected Identity Harm incident

For the purposes of this protocol, a Protected Identity Harm incident is conduct or an incident that adversely and unfairly targets an individual or group on the basis of one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics:

  • race, color or national origin
  • sex, gender identity or expression
  • age
  • disability
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • veteran status
  • marital status or
  • any other characteristic protected by applicable law.

Definition of Hate Crime

Some acts of intolerance may rise to the level of a hate crime. A hate crime is a criminal act committed in whole or in part because of one or more  actual or perceived characteristics of the target or targets (age is not covered by federal or state hate crime laws). Hate crimes can include but are not limited to any crime involving bodily injury, assault, rape, vandalism, and intimidation. A hate crime is a violation of both California law and Stanford's Fundamental Standard.

Hate crimes should be reported to the Stanford University Department of Public Safety and to the Office of Community Standards (OCS). More information regarding reporting hate crimes can be found on the What Should I Do page on this website.   

Protected Identity Harm incidents that do not rise to the level of a hate crime or unlawful discrimination or harassment may involve constitutionally protected speech. Engaging in constitutionally protected expressive activities will not subject a student to discipline. Regardless, we encourage students to report Protected Identity Harm incidents through the process. The University may respond to these incidents through education. Protected Identity Harm incidents (or perceived Protected Identity Harm incidents) will be addressed by the University on a case-by-case basis.

Other Terms

Below are a few terms to help understand roles in this process:

  • Informing Party: Person who is filling out the PIH Reporting form.
  • Offending Party: Person/organization that is thought to have instigated the incident.
  • Responding Party: A person/organization that is thought to have played a part in incident, if they choose to partake in the resolution process.