Stanford GSB Investigates Racial Slurs Written Outside 2 Student Dorm Rooms

Stanford Graduate School of Business


In October 2017, someone drew a swastika on a pillar of the GBS faculty building. That incident came after an increased number of hate-related incidents reported on campus the year before, according to the Department of Public Safety’s 2017 Safety, Security and Fire Report. Six instances of hate crimes were reported at Stanford in 2016 compared to two incidents in 2015 and three in 2014.

According to the 2021 report, there were six hate crimes reported on Stanford campus in 2018, five reported in 2019, and 10 reported in 2020.

  • 2018: Incidents included four vandalisms and two thefts, including a swastika found carved into a piano inside a campus concert hall.
  • 2019: Incidents included two counts of battery and three intimidations. In one of the batteries, the victim was pushed off her bike as her attacker used a racial slur. In one of the cases of intimidation, a noose was found in a large bush outside a student residence.
  • 2020: Incidents included three batteries, three intimidations, and four vandalisms. In one of the intimidation cases, a car pulled up alongside the victim’s car at a stop sign at a campus exit. The occupants used a racial slur against the victim, pointed a gun at the victim, and told the victim to “get out of here.” One of the vandalism cases involved a swastika drawn in black marker on the wall of Memorial Church while another involved defacement of a Black Lives Matter sign.


The following is the full email sent to GBS students on March 2, from dean Levin and associate deans Oyer and Hayes.

Dear Students,

I, along with Dean Oyer and Dean Hayes, am writing to provide an update on the incident last week in Jack McDonald Hall.

Last week, you heard from classmates, faculty, and staff about why this event is so upsetting, infuriating, and painful. We are upset because it violated our deeply held campus values. The individual or individuals who wrote a racist slur on two student doors violated the personal honor, and the respect for the dignity of others, that we expect at the GSB and affirm in Stanford’s code of conduct. It is unacceptable. What is worse, the GSB residences are homes for GSB students. The perpetrator violated the basic right to safety and security we deserve in our homes.

Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin on the impact of the pandemic on Stanford, its MBA students and the future of business education

Stanford GSB Dean Jonathan Levin

We know that everyone in the community wants to understand what is being done to increase security, what is being done to identify the perpetrator, and what disciplinary actions might result. To that end, we want to share the following:

Security in the GSB Residences. The GSB employs two on-site security personnel in addition to the comprehensive security provided by Stanford’s Department of Public Safety (DPS). We are increasing our security detail from two to four during the evening and overnight shifts. While we are adding staff, our current personnel are focused on the GSB Residences. In addition, DPS has offered to have their community service officers make walk-throughs in the residences. We will work with students who have expressed security concerns to determine whether that is desirable.

Investigation. We received an update from DPS on Monday night in a meeting with BBSA leadership. Since responding to the initial report last Tuesday, DPS has gathered evidence, conducted interviews, and is following up on information they have received from students. The investigation is active and DPS wants to hear from anyone who has information. To provide it, you can call (650) 329-2413 (24/7) and ask to speak to an investigator. You do not need to give your name. You can also submit a confidential anonymous tip through the Palo Alto Police Department, which also provides dispatch services for DPS.

Disciplinary Actions. We have received questions about potential disciplinary actions should a perpetrator be identified. Typically, if a DPS investigation results in the identity of a perpetrator, the District Attorney’s Office determines what, if any, criminal charges are filed. Within the university, violations of Stanford’s Fundamental Standard are adjudicated through a disciplinary process overseen by the Office of Community Standards, and are punishable by sanctions up to and including expulsion.

Support Resources. The end of this message provides specific contact information related to mental health and academic support, at both the GSB and the university, that you should not hesitate to access.

Our first priority at this time is restoring the safety and security that was abrogated last week. Looking forward, we are reminded of the importance of the GSB’s Action Plan for Racial Equity, which we established eighteen months ago. The plan sets systematic goals around representation, inclusion, impact, and accountability. We have made real progress against those goals. Today, the SA, with input from the BBSA and other students, have shared specific student needs and priorities that will be valuable in sharpening our focus on areas that need attention, so we can act on them.

Jon Levin
Paul Oyer
Margaret Hayes

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