PHOTOESSAY: Turner Case Elicits Alcohol Policy

by Aditi Madhok

The purpose of the following assignment was to explore a story with a topic and theme, and to convey its meaning through photographs in a journalistic point of view. It has been written objectively—but in no means indifferent to the situation. Unfortunately, Stanford University was not in session during the time these shots were taken. As a result, rather than delving into the broader picture of the Brock Turner case and the narrow angle being if the Alcohol policy was a response to it as originally planned, this is more of a summary and setting-the-scene type of project in what actually happened. I have chosen this issue based on the lack of knowledge, conversations, and attention about it on Los Altos High School campus. Ideally this piece will serve to inform and educate the public about what the case is like within Stanford University, where the viewer can have a better sense of understanding on the subject of sexual assault on college campuses.

Despite Stanford University being known for their high academic and athletic rankings, the prevalent issue of sexual assault has also been persisting on its college campus. Recently Brock Turner, a suspended student and former swimmer, has been released from his three month sentence after digitally raping an unconscious woman during a frat party. The victim was older, working full time, and decided to attend the party with her sister. Although Turner was not a frat himself, several instances of sexual aggression towards other woman at past parties have been reported.

The incident happened in an isolated area, before two Swedish students on bike discovered what was going on. Although this is not the exact location, the victim had been lying on the ground behind a dumpster when the paramedics arrived.

Stanford University is not in session until late September, yet a poster on the issue was taped on a pole near the parking lot of the library.

There has been a ban on hard alcohol, but light alcohol is still approved.

Junior Stanford student says, “I think the hard alcohol ban was influenced by the case and all the media attention. But Stanford’s intention was campus safety and it happened in an untimely manner.”

Several blue emergency poles are based around campus for easy access, with a telephone attached to call 911. They serve the purpose of reporting felonies and suspicious activity immediately to the Stanford Department of Public safety.

Questions on whether fraternity culture has been promoting alcohol abuse and contributing to these cases are being brought up by students. According to the Stanford Daily, Matthew Baiza, co-founder of Stanford Association of Students for Sexual Assault Prevention, claims that the ban “has people talking now on the issue of victim blaming and how alcohol can play a role in that.” He advocates, “These are the types of conversations we need to have.”