Stanford Student's Viral Email About Her Sexual Assault Prompts Major Campus Protest

A large group of Stanford University students rallied Thursday to support a female undergraduate who has publically criticized the school's sexual assault policies after she was a victim of rape earlier this year.

Stanford senior Leah Francis' account of navigating the university administration after reporting a sexual assault by another student - and their seemingly lenient ruling after he was found guilty - is quickly making its way around campus as a viral email, student newspaper The Stanford Daily reports. According to documents obtained by The Daily, the university found Francis' rapist guilty of forced sexual assault.

"His punishment was a five-quarter suspension, 40 hours of community service and completion of a sexual assault awareness program. However, the suspension does not take effect until summer 2014 and includes summer quarters, so Francis' assailant, a member of the Class of 2014, can graduate on time and return in a year for graduate school," according to The Daily.

Additionally, Francis told the newspaper that her rapist was initially going to be allowed to walk during the university's Commencement, which was reversed after she complained to Stanford's Title IX coordinator.

You can read the full decision against Francis' rapist via The Daily.

Many Stanford students rallied on Thursday to support Francis, using the hashtag #StandWithLeah:

#StandWithLeah. Students are arriving to create signs! @Stanford #NerdNation

- Brianne Huntsman (@ceohunty) June 5, 2014

We #StandWithLeah because everyone deserves to feel safe where they are @Stanford

- Some Of Us Are Brave (@KaelaSimone) June 5, 2014

#standwithleah #stanford

- Andie Grossman (@andiejg) June 5, 2014

I #standwithleah. Will you, Stanford?

- Ryan Globus (@ryanglobus) June 5, 2014

Here is an excerpt of Francis' email, which you can read in full via The Stanford Daily:

Dear Fellow Stanford Students, Classmates, and Staff:

Five months ago, I was forcibly raped by another Stanford student. I reported the sexual assault at the beginning of Winter quarter and then I proceeded to go through the ARP (Alternative Review Process). Months later, the student who raped me was found by Stanford to be responsible for sexually assaulting me through use of force.

Stanford did not expel the man who raped me. They suspended him effective 2014 Summer quarter so that he could finish his classes and walk at graduation. They also moved him out of Stanford housing, required that he complete community service, and required that he complete a sexual assault awareness program before receiving his degree or coming back to Stanford for grad school.

What this amounts to:

After his suspension (gap year) is complete, Stanford invites my rapist back to campus for grad school (where he has already been accepted) as long as he agrees to do community service and complete a sexual assault awareness course. Should he change his mind and decide to go to grad school elsewhere, he can choose to walk away from Stanford with no significant undergraduate consequences for forcibly assaulting me.

Read more about Leah Francis and Stanford University's sexual assault policies at The Stanford Daily >>

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