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Frequently Asked Questions

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  • What safeguards are in place for sexual violence reporting?
    • Sexual Violence1 and COVID-19 are both urgent public health matters. Stanford requires that students engage in COVID-19 health and safety measures, including not having gatherings and visiting other students’ rooms, and there can be consequences for not complying with these COVID-19 health and safety measures, including those specified in the Campus Compact.

      Meanwhile, we know that unfortunately Sexual Violence does happen on our campus. We do not want to chill victims’ willingness to seek help or report matters, nor do we want to create an environment in which predators encourage victims to violate social distancing rules to avoid consequences for committing Sexual Violence.

      Accordingly, Stanford will not impose consequences for COVID-19 health and safety violations, including those in the Campus Compact, on anyone who reports experiencing Sexual Violence (as defined in footnote 1). Similarly, Stanford will not impose consequences for COVID-19 health and safety violations, including those in the Campus Compact, by witnesses who aid any report of Sexual Violence. To do so might chill reporting and negatively impact student safety.

      1The term “Sexual Violence” as used in this FAQ includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and all other Prohibited Sexual Conduct described in Stanford Administrative Guide 1.7.1 whether under Title IX or some other University rule, or an attempt to commit or to knowingly aid or facilitate another person to commit any of the above).


  • Why have a compact? 
    • The compact reflects the state and local county orders that we are required to abide by as a university to stay open.  We created the compact to reflect those orders and to provide clarity on local rules for students, especially those arriving from other parts of the country or world.  As well, for what we hope and expect to be only rare infractions, our normal student rules and means of accountability, through the Fundamental Standard and Judicial Charter, can take months to complete and are not well suited to the COVID-19 world where a more rapid response may be required for public health reasons. 

      This is why, for students, we created the administrative processes of the campus compact: to provide for swift action in order to prevent heightened risk of community spread. Of note, unlike in our normal judicial process, actions taken under the compact will NOT become a part of a student’s disciplinary record.  We know there is a lot of fear and anxiety about removal from Stanford housing being our default response to any compact violations.  Please know that is not the case.  Removal from housing will be the last resort action taken by the panel to mitigate a serious public health risk.  Faculty and staff did not need a new mechanism as their terms of employment subject them to a disciplinary process that can be acted on quickly.

      In creating the compact, we consulted with leadership in each of the schools and looked at documents from our peer institutions who have similar compacts, but we recognize that our initial construct and its communication were problematic and caused distress among many students.  We did not foresee, nor would we have ever intended, that something meant to bring us together in protecting our collective health would become divisive.  We regret not having more student involvement early on and are sorry that this process has brought up fear and uncertainty for some of our students.

  • Will contact tracing and exposure notification information be utilized in a compact investigation?
    • The Dean of Students Office will conduct compact investigations. Such investigations will not incorporate contact tracing and notification information managed by Vaden Health Services for students who test positive for COVID-19.

  • Why does the compact restrict visitors to student residences? And if I live in non-Stanford housing, do I have to follow this requirement?
    • Students living in Stanford housing are asked to “refrain from having any guests (including fellow students) in my apartment or in common areas of my apartment building, per California state orders, other than a necessary childcare worker instructed to practice prevention guidelines.” The State provides legally binding guidance about visitors to any campus site (see 2. General Guidance: Limit, to the greatest extent permitted by law, external community members from entering the site and using campus resources, as the number of additional people onsite and/or intermixing with students, faculty, and staff increases the risk of virus transmission.) and specific guidance about housing provided by the university, which for Stanford includes on campus housing and Stanford-controlled off campus sites (see 7. Housing Under Authority of the IHE: Restricting building access by non-residents, including outside guests, non-residential staff, and others. These restrictions may not apply to some people, such as personal care attendants for students with disabilities.) 

      Students who live in off-campus housing that is not subsidized by Stanford should follow the local guidance for the county and state in which they are living.  This may or may not include limiting visitors to your residence.

  • Does the compact restrict significant others who do not reside with us from our residences?
    • We have received additional guidance from the county on visitors or guests in student residences. Students’ spouses/partners and students’ minor dependents are allowed as essential visitors under county and state orders. The campus compact’s provisions regarding guests and visitors are being amended to reflect this clarification. Note that childcare providers are already included under the essential visitors classification.  

      Students hosting essential visitors must be mindful of the guest policy as articulated in their residence agreement, including ensuring the agreement of apartment mate(s), and visitors must adhere to all campus policies and public health orders. We are developing a process for providing essential visitors with written permission to access campus zones otherwise closed to the public. More information will be available soon. 

  • Why are we not allowed to form social bubbles with the persons with whom we gather?
    • Stanford is in active discussion with the county about allowing defined student social groupings (“pods”) and will share additional information as soon as available.

  • How can I submit a concern or potential violation of the compact?
    • We hope that each of our community members will be able to address minor concerns with one another, for example, asking a fellow student who has removed their mask to replace it.  We can best keep our community healthy and safe by connecting and communicating with one another.  In the circumstances when a colleague or classmate is not responsive to feedback or when you determine the behavior is egregious, any community member may submit a concern here or send an email to with complete details. Submissions may be anonymous but please provide as much detail and information as possible about the individual(s) involved and the incident. Cooperation is imperative to addressing a concern swiftly to preserve the health and safety of the community.   Each of us play a role in keeping our community safe and we expect that each of us will engage with one another and this process as necessary.

  • How will the Compact Review Panel function?
    • The Compact Review Panel will be made up of faculty, staff and students and is intended to be able to respond quickly with the goal of reinforcing safe behaviors and protecting public health in our community. It is administrative, not disciplinary, and no actions of the panel  will appear on a student’s record. Students will be members of the panel. Student cooperation and forthrightness with the panel process will be taken into consideration. Removing a student from enrollment at the university is not among the actions this panel may take.

      The hope is that reminders about safe behaviors throughout campus and thoughtful conversations among apartment mates, neighbors and Residence Deans/GLO Deans and professional staff living on campus will address most issues before they reach the level of the Compact Review Panel. The panel will take strong action only on serious violations that put the community at risk, for example hosting or attending “super-spreader” events, repeated or reckless behavior that compromises the health or safety of the community, or creating significant risk to your fellow students by consistently refusing to follow the requirements of the compact.  

  • What are examples of behaviors that could result in a student being removed from a campus housing assignment?
    • As students have requested, we have also created guidelines to help inform students of what actions the university might take in response to specific student behaviors. This information is meant to serve as a guide; it is not comprehensive, as the unique details related to the specific circumstances of a given incident will always be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate public health response. We’d like to thank the graduate and undergraduate students who have provided extremely helpful feedback on this project. The guidelines are posted here.  As you can read, the interventions are focused primarily on education, and only in the most extreme circumstances do they lead to more serious consequences.

  • What academic activities are allowable?
    • We have received many questions about what gatherings are allowable at Stanford under state and county orders. The university has provided this update and summarized applicable information here. The compact restrictions on gatherings and activities do not apply to classes and/or department sponsored research activities.  That said, all activities are subject to applicable state and county guidelines.

  • Could the restrictions on travel be clarified?
    • The following information is for students who travel during the quarter outside Northern California, as defined here. University-wide guidance says community members who travel outside Northern California must self-isolate for 14 days upon return. For graduate and professional students, the period of self-isolation can be shortened if the traveler tests negative for COVID through tests administered 0-2 days and 5-7 days after the student returns to Northern California. Verily Life Sciences is conducting COVID-19 testing for students who travel. You’ll find more information here.

      Students traveling during the quarter should make plans to self-isolate off campus until they receive negative test results. The university will do its best to provide self-isolation housing for students who must travel due to family obligations or emergency situations. For more information on self-isolation housing, please contact the Graduate Life Office.

      To be clear, this guidance does NOT apply to new students or continuing students who are arriving to campus for the fall. Guidance for these students can be found in this communication.  

  • Does the Compact apply to faculty and staff?
    • Some students have asked why students are required to sign a compact, while no such document exists for the faculty and staff who access campus. The student compact was created for two primary reasons. First, we want to ensure that the requirements we are living under are clear to students arriving on campus from other U.S. regions or other countries where public health orders may be quite different from Santa Clara County’s. Our faculty and staff live here year-round and have been able to follow these orders as they have developed.

      Second, our normal student rules and means of accountability, through the Fundamental Standard and Judicial Charter, are not well suited to the COVID-19 world. Our normal judicial processes can take months to complete. Although we hope and trust that members of our community will avoid behaviors that put fellow community members at risk, in rare cases where such behaviors may arise, we need more nimble and rapid ways to deal with them because of the pandemic. This is why for students we created the administrative processes of the campus compact: to provide for swift action in order to prevent heightened risk of community spread. Of note, unlike in our normal judicial process, actions taken under the compact will NOT become a part of a student’s disciplinary record.

      Faculty and staff are required to adhere to the same public health orders as students, but they are already subject to accountability measures that allow for swift and decisive disciplinary measures under the existing environmental health and safety provisions of university’s Code of Conduct and the university’s terms of employment; a change to the process for them is therefore not required. Again, we hope and trust that all community members will take great care in following public health guidelines and that neither the compact accountability process for students nor the faculty/staff disciplinary processes will be necessary.

  • How long will the compact be in effect?
    • We will have a student compact in place through the duration of the pandemic. As conditions improve or worsen, underlying policies will evolve based on state and county guidance. We will notify all students when significant policy changes occur that impact the campus compact. We do not expect the core components of the compact to change beyond what we have discussed to date as they reflect the core requirements of the county and state guidance for institutions of higher education.

  • What is the appeal process?
    • We have added to the compact an appeal mechanism for Compact Review Panel decisions that result in a restriction of access to Stanford facilities or removal from campus, including housing. Such decisions may be appealed directly to the provost.

  • What if I do not sign the compact?
    • The provisions of the compact are based on public health orders and university policy and they are not optional. All community members will be held to these standards. If a student chooses to not sign the compact, the expectations for behavior will remain the same; it is the adjudication process that will differ. To be clear, the following expectations and accountability process will be in place for students who live in university housing and/or plan to come to campus and do not sign the compact:

      • Students will be responsible for knowing and upholding all state and county orders, including the COVID -19 Industry Guidance: Institutions of Higher Education from the state of California, and all university policies and requirements, including university COVID-19 testing.
      • Students who violate these requirements will be subject to standing university disciplinary procedures, not the compact process.  
        • Because the university must act quickly to address public health concerns, students may be held accountable through the university’s administrative action provision to ensure campus safety, which does not include an appeal and will produce an outcome within a day or two in a situation where action is deemed necessary to protect the community.  
        • In addition, students may be held accountable through the Fundamental Standard process. A Fundamental Standard violation can result in a notation on a student’s disciplinary record.
        • For students in Stanford housing, this includes the Residence Agreement.  For sufficiently egregious infractions, students can be removed from housing through the Residence Agreement and the housing hold process.  
    • In sum, students who sign the compact will be governed by the standards of the compact and will have access to the Compact Review Panel as the means of accountability for these standards.  Students who choose to not sign the compact despite the significant changes made over the last few weeks will be held accountable to public health and university policies via the pre-existing processes described above. 


  • Who is responsible for enforcing the university policies and state and local county orders relating to COVID-19?
    • The Dean of Students Office (DoS) is responsible for responding to reported student violations of university policies and state and local county orders relating to COVID-19. This means the DoS will respond to reports submitted by any community member through this form. Fundamentally, this is a community-oriented process. We all need to work together to help keep one another safe. For those community members who feel comfortable doing so, we encourage you to reach out to one another and share concerns directly. For example, if a classmate has forgotten to put on their face covering, you may choose to speak with them directly.

      That said, we have heard from students examples of when their requests have been disregarded and/or students have been uncomfortable confronting violations, particularly more egregious ones, such as a party. In all situations, the Dean of Students office is ready to help and respond. The DoS is also here to support student leaders, such as Community Associates and Resident Assistants, in addressing concerns in their communities, and to identify intentional and relevant remedies that restore trust and safety in the communities that they know best. The goal is education: to share with students what they need to know to keep themselves and others as safe and healthy as possible.

  • What role does the Department of Public Safety (DPS) have in enforcing the campus compact, university policies, and state and local county orders relating to COVID-19?
    • For students, the Dean of Students Office is taking the lead in ensuring compliance with health and safety rules. As noted above, the Dean of Students is responsible for responding to concerns about the compact, which can be reported here. DPS is not enforcing the campus compact, but it is responsible for enforcing laws that are summarized within the compact, and are applicable to everyone on the campus. Both DPS and the Dean of Students Office agree: our goal is to educate students, and for DPS, the broader community, about the steps required by state and county law to keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible.