If there is a reported emergency on campus, AlertSU, Stanford's emergency notification system, will deliver time-sensitive emergency notifications to faculty, staff, students, postdocs and other members of the Stanford community via voice mail, email and text-messaging. Status updates will also be available online and through a recorded phone message.

Stanford's emergency website is: emergency.stanford.edu

Stanford's emergency information hotline is: 650-725-5555.

Violence on Campus - Information & Statistics

Stanford has university policies that address violence on campus - both for students and in the workplace. Stanford University also publishes an annual Safety, Security and Fire Report that contains helpful information on violence prevention as well as campus crime statistics from the previous three years for all of its campuses, in accordance with the Jeanne Clery Act. The federal government and other agencies have also done comprehensive studies on violence on campus and in the workplace.

We have included this information below for you to educate yourself about the issues and the reality of violence on campus in the United States. By becoming better informed, you will have a more grounded understanding of violence on campus and the efficacy of Stanford's efforts to maintain a healthy and safe academic, working and living environment.

University Policy

Students: The Fundamental Standard

The Fundamental Standard has set the standard of conduct for students at Stanford since 1896. It states:

"Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University."

Over the years, the Fundamental Standard has been applied to a great variety of situations, including the threat or use of violence.

Click here for more information on The Fundamental Standard

Faculty & Staff: Violence in the Workplace

Stanford University strives to provide employees a safe environment in which to work; therefore, the University will not tolerate violence or threats of violence in the workplace. All weapons, as defined by California Penal Code, are banned from University premises unless written permission is given by University Police. Employees who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees who intentionally bring false charges will also be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Non-employee violations of this policy will be handled in accordance with applicable laws.

Click here for Administrative Guide Memo 2.2.11 - Stanford University's complete policy on Violence in the Workplace.

Violence in the Workplace - Definitions

  • Acts of violence include any physical action, whether intentional or reckless, that harms or threatens the safety of another individual in the workplace.
  • A threat of violence includes any behavior that by its very nature could be interpreted by a reasonable person as an intent to cause physical harm to another individual.
  • Workplace includes all University facilities and off-campus locations where faculty, staff, or student employees are engaged in University business.

Annual Statistics of Violent Crime at Stanford University

The information contained in the Stanford Safety & Security Report is provided to members of the campus community in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act. The Department of Public Safety gathers statistical crime data from its own records and from information provided by the Office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and other designated Campus Security Authorities. University officials at each of the branch campuses gather the required crime statistics annually from their local law enforcement agencies and publish reports locally.

Summary of National Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education

The United States Secret Service recently released a comprehensive study entitled Campus Attacks – Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education. This study was done pursuant to the Virginia Tech incident and at the request of various departments within the federal government. The study primarily focused on 4,314 degree-granting colleges (60% of the total number of higher learning institutions in the country). Total enrollment was slightly over 11 million with 42.7% male and 57.3% female. The following information contains excerpts from this study that detail the actions of people who commit violent acts on campuses.

Statistics for Higher Education Institutions Nationwide

General Crime Information

  • A total of 174 homicides or non-negligent manslaughter occurred from 2005 through 2008
  • 13,842 forcible sex offenses occurred during this same time period (this training bulletin only speaks to homicide and related incidents such as an active shooter)
  • Incidents occurred throughout the calendar year not just during the academic year
  • While the first recorded homicide occurred in 1909, 59% of the total number of recorded homicides since then occurred from the 1990s to present day.
  • 36% took place in administrative/academic/service buildings; 28% took place in residential buildings; 27% took place in parking lots or other campus grounds

Suspect and Weapon Information

  • Most of the attacks were carried out by one person and 94% were male
  • 31% of the suspects exhibited external concerning behavior to others – threats, comments, evidence of planning and so forth
  • 60% were either current or past students
  • 11% were current or former employees
  • The average age of students was 25.5 years old; employee’s average age was 38.7
  • Firearms were used 54% of the time and knives 21%
  • Multiple weapons were used 10% of the time
  • 26% committed suicide; 4% were killed by law enforcement

Victim Information / Triggering Events

  • Students were the vast majority of victims
  • 34% had an intimate relationship with the suspect
  • 13.7% were retaliatory violent acts for perceived wrong-doing
  • 10% were obsession based or refused romantic overtures
  • 10% were in response to academic stress
  • 9.7% were acquaintance / stranger based sexual assault
  • 8% were the result of a psychotic episode
  • 6.2% resulted from a workplace dismissal or sanction
  • 3.1% need to kill
  • 3.1% to draw attention to self
  • 2.2% bias related

Victim Information / Triggering Events

  • Indication of pre-planning
  • Planned method of attack
  • Willing to travel to where victim was reasonably certain to be
  • Apparent triggering event is usually present
  • Often present were admissions of intent or other forms of communication by the subject before, during and after the attack
  • 73% targeted one or more specific individuals
  • 21% were random targets

General Conclusions

In general, violent crimes of this nature can occur year-round, involve a male suspect between 25 and 35 years of age, who is usually connected to the campus either as a student, employee or a romantic (or desired) acquaintance. They will use weapons to achieve their desired goal, usually preceded by a triggering event that leads them to conclude they have been wronged. The majority of the time they will survive the encounter. They will often communicate their intentions ahead of time – verbally, internet, written form – and exhibit concerning behaviors. The best way to prevent this kind of violence is to recognize danger signs, triggering events and trends and to have a sound communication structure for reporting behavior, threat assessment, early intervention strategies and rapid response by police.

Violence in the Workplace Resulting in Fatality (Cal/OSHA)

In 1993, the category of assaults and violent acts became the leading cause of occupational fatalities in California. The number of assaults and violent acts increased 23.3%, from 197 in 1992 to 243 in 1993. Occupational fatalities due to all other major causes (except fires and explosions) decreased from 1992 to 1993.

Most of the increase in fatal assaults and violent acts was due to a rise in the number of workplace homicides (the subcategory of self-inflicted injury, or suicides, increased by only three fatalities between 1992 and 1993). Thus, in just one year the number of workplace homicides increased 25.1%, from 163 deaths in 1992 to 204 deaths in 1993 and now represent 31.2% of the total fatalities--up 7.1% from 24.1% in 1992.

California now joins a growing list of states, and the District of Columbia, in which assault and violent acts represents the leading cause of death in the workplace.

The shift from traditional workplace hazards to homicides as the leading cause of workplace fatalities demands that federal and state occupational safety and health programs join with other government agencies, the public health community, employers, labor unions and employees, and workplace security professionals to develop strategies to prevent workplace violence.

Fatalities Among Women

The demographic profile of victims of fatal workplace assaults indicate that the majority are male. However, even though the overall fatal workplace injury rate for women is substantially lower than it is for men, homicides represent the leading cause of death for women in the workplace.

In 1993, 30 of the 62 occupational fatalities in women, or 48.4%, were the result of workplace homicide. In contrast, only 29.5% (174 of 590) of occupational fatalities in men were the result of workplace homicide.

Nonfatal Injury and Threat of Injury

Homicide is only part of the workplace violence problem--assaults which result in nonfatal injury, or in the threat of harm, are more common than those which result in fatal injury. However, much less data is available about the occurrence of workplace assaults which result in nonfatal injury and the occurrence of threats.

Efforts are now being made in California and other states to determine the prevalence of nonfatal workplace assaults and threats and the specific occupations at risk for such assaults and threats.

The National Crime Victimization Survey, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice, can be used to estimate the occurrence of workplace assaults which result in nonfatal injuries. In l992, the National Crime Victimization Survey found that approximately 670,000 American workers were assaulted (simple assault, aggravated assault, robbery or rape) while at work or on duty, which represents approximately 11% of all violent crimes in the United States.