Stanford approves plaque with quote by sexual-assault survivor Chanel Miller
STANFORD, Calif. - Following years of student petitions and protests, Stanford University officials have agreed to put up a plaque at the site where Brock Turner sexually assaulted Chanel Miller. It will feature a quote handpicked by Miller herself, but initially rejected by the university.
Three years ago, Stanford University had promised a plaque here. Now they intend to deliver on that promise.
It is supposed to have a quote, chosen by sexual assault survivor Chanel Miller.
In addition, it is supposed to turn the location of her sexual assault, into a healing, contemplative garden.
"And without that plaque, it's really hard to understand what the context is for this space. Is it just a nice garden? What's going on?" said student activist, Kimiko Hirota.
The sexual assault happened in 2015. The trial of Stanford student Brock Turner followed soon after. His sentence, six months of which he served three, sparked years of protests and even the recall of a judge.
However, the plaque never went up.
Administrators thought Miller's words, chosen from her victim impact statement, might be triggering for some.
They read, "You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice, until today."
Michele Dauber, a Stanford law professor, represented Miller in her dealings with Stanford.
"Remember Stanford made a legal settlement agreement with Miller and Miller did her part. She did exactly what she promised and Stanford did not. And that is disgraceful,” Dauber said.
Students felt so strongly about the plaque, which they protested, signed petitions, and even forced a vote by student and faculty leaders.
Secretly, activists even put up two small plaques of their own.
"After all these resolutions passed, and it was made very apparent to the provost that this is what people wanted, she said she would think about it,” Hirota said.
But now, an apparent change of heart.
The university provost released a statement this week saying not one, but two plaques would go up: One with the original quote, a second offering support resources.
Students say they are cautiously optimistic.
"Until the plaque is here and we see it, then sure,” said Hirota.
"You can't change history, all you can do is learn from it. And what Stanford should learn from this situation is that silencing and censorship are never the right answer. And you have to keep your promises,” said Dauber.
There's no timeline for when these official plaques will be installed, or information about what the wording of the second one will be. But Stanford officials say they'll up as soon as it's feasible.