Students Protest Stanford's Decision to Not Expel Student in Sex Assault Case

A vocal protest took place at Stanford Thursday over the university’s decision to allow a student accused of rape to return to campus.

After a five-month investigation, the university decided the student is not a threat to the campus and will allow him to finish his senior year.

University administrators will withhold his undergraduate degree for two years and have ruled to deny him entry into graduate school until 2016.

Students, including assault survivor Leah Francis, spoke out to express their shock after Francis’s appeal was denied.

Francis and her supporters say that Stanford should expel the student who they say has been already found responsible for forcibly sexually assaulting Francis while they were back home in Juno. Alaska.

“He's walking away from his undergraduate career with almost complete lack of consequence for forcible raping another student,” Francis said.

Protesters held signs chanting and demanding action outside a faculty senate meeting.

Francis said that she felt like Stanford had “failed her and every survivor of sexual assault.”

“I feel like If students are sexually assaulted, the university won’t protect them,” she said. "Losing a Stanford degree is like the most minimal of consequences for something as horrible as rape.”

Since Francis and her alleged attacker dated before, she says the school ruled the circumstances did not show he was a continued danger to campus.

"A person who commits a sexual assault by force is by definition a danger to the Stanford community,” said Stanford law professor Michelle Dauber.

Dauber says she believes Stanford may be violating federal civil rights laws.

"I think that is a terrible road for Stanford to go down, it’s a giant step backwards,” she said.

NBC Bay Area has not heard from the alleged attacker, He has not been charged with a crime.

"He's a danger to whole Stanford community." Francis said.

Students who watched the protest had mixed opinions.

"I definitely think that the school should be very sensitive to how she feels and the situation she's been put in, but I also think that he deserves an opportunity to receive an education as well, so it's just a difficult situation." said Erin Ashby.

Last week, hundreds of students rallied behind Francis demanding better services for sex assault victims, and mandatory expulsion for sex assault attackers after she sent out an email to garner support.

A petition on by Francis, which calls for mandatory expulsion for individuals found responsible for sexual assualt, has received 3,000 signatures.

Stanford says it can't comment on this case, but take every assault case seriously.

“We will be working with students and others in the coming months on ways of further strengthening our approach to sexual assault cases,” the university said in a statement.

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