Ellery Dake graduated from Stanford in 2014, but whatever demons she possessed as an undergraduate have never left her. And she apparently has many demons, all of which were awakened by her #MeToo moment. And eight years later, she demands “alumni justice.”
While Ellery Dake ’14 was a Stanford undergraduate, another student — then a member of the football team — allegedly raped her. Nearly eight years later, this January, Dake began pursuing punitive action against him through Stanford’s Title IX Office.
The lede is somewhat misleading. Apparently Dake was raped with some regularity, and this is but one of them. And before she sought “punitive action” against a guy eight years later, after both had taken their diplomas and moved on, she engaged in “self help” by writing letters, as her feelings compelled her to do as her demons demanded.
On Jan. 22, inspired by the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct, Dake began writing letters to men who she felt had sexually violated her while she was an undergraduate. Dake sent letters to seven former Stanford football players, six of whom she said verbally degraded her and one of whom allegedly raped her. Dake also wrote a letter to a second alleged rapist, who is a non-Stanford affiliate.
These were not alleged rapes as in “thrown in the bushes, gun to the head” type rapes. These were the “she was drunk and had sex” type rapes. Dake appears to have been a pretty heavy undergrad drinker.
Dake says that the Stanford football player who raped her did so in the spring of 2010, on a night when she was too drunk to consent to sex.
“I woke up naked in my roommate’s bed in a puddle of my own urine, vaginally sore and confused after a night of drinking,” Dake told The Daily. “The soreness in my vagina persisted for almost a week. I was devastated.”
That was 2010. This is 2018. That was when they were students at Stanford. This is when they are Stanford alumni. That was when she chose to do nothing. This is when she decided to act.
Title IX provides:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Was Dake denied the benefits of a Stanford education? That seems to be water under the bridge, a horse that’s left the barn, pick your metaphor, but clearly no. Even if her allegation against the former football player, not to mention a slew of other men who she claims raped her or “sexually humiliated” her, or otherwise hurt her feelings, is true, it did not deny her an education. But that’s not her concern.
And so Dake embarked on a journey through the Title IX bureaucracy, shocked to learn they didn’t turn out the SWAT team to round up her male nemises, as she explains in brutal detail. Stanford had less to say about it.
Kreple, Khan and Tuttle did not respond to repeated requests for comment on this story. Because Dake declined to waive her privacy rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law that protects access to student education records, both University administrators and Title IX investigators were limited in their ability to discuss her case.
But according to Title IX Coordinator Catherine Glaze ’80 JD ’85, Dake’s story is sketchy.
“I have spoken with the members of the office who met with you, and their recollections of the conversations differ [significantly] from yours,” Glaze wrote in an email to Dake that Dake shared with The Daily.
The Title IX office decided not to proceed on Dake’s complaint because she and her accused rapist were alumni, and therefore outside of their jurisdiction. This, of course, infuriated Dake, and the Stanford Daily noted that Dake isn’t the only former Stanford student to return after graduation to seek punishment of the men who wronged them.
Should Title IX follow former students in perpetuity? The Daily turned to a law professor for an answer.
For instance, following a request for comment on Dake’s case, law professor and activist Michele Dauber pointed to Policy 1.7.3 “Prohibited Sexual Conduct” of the Stanford Administrative Guide, which outlines the University’s policies and jurisdiction surrounding sexual assault claims (among other types of sexual misconduct).
The policy applies to “all students, faculty, staff, affiliates and others participating in University programs and activities,” which Dauber said would presumably cover the case brought forth by Dake.
If the name Dauber sounds familiar, that’s because it should be.
“An [alumnus] seems to me to clearly fall under the category of ‘others participating in University programs and activities;’ for example, when he comes to Alumni Weekend or comes on campus for any other event or purpose,” Dauber wrote in an email to The Daily. “I am surprised that the University took [the position that it did] since it appears to be contrary to its own policy.”
Of course Dauber finds it “clearly,” but then she also see its purpose as “punitive action,” as does Dake. After all, the educational purpose of Title IX has been read out of the law, which is an alternative to vengeance for those who prefer not to put their accusations to the test of actual legal scrutiny in court. Or it could be rationally interpreted to relate only to sexual offenses that happen in the course of alumni “participation in University programs and activities,” not eight years earlier and some potential future activity.
Assuming, as Dauber would have it, that spurious connections between former students and their potential to return for an Alumni Weekend or perhaps a lecture would be sufficient to subject an alumnus to the Title IX process, what would be done about it? Ban them from campus for life? Retroactively deny them their diploma? Put them on a website of Stanford rapists?
Crazy? Berkeley does it.