Brock Turner’s Legacy


Mugshot courtesy of NPR

Maddy Fischer, Staff Writer


Mugshot courtesy of NPR

As an incoming freshman set to attend Stanford in the fall, a lingering thought in my mind–and the minds of many of my classmates–is the story of Brock Turner. For those who didn’t follow the case particularly closely, Turner raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, and received a meager sentence of six months for his crimes–only three of which he served. The way that the courts handled his case is indisputably despicable, but its lasting impression on prospective and newly admitted students often goes unnoticed.

From others in the class of 2023, I have gotten the impression that the case definitely had an impact. One admittee expressed that he now had a negative view of the Stanford swim team as a whole, due to Turner’s participation on it during his time at the school. Another, who happened to be residing on campus for a summer camp during the time of the trial, felt deeply unsettled as details of the story came to light. Through my conversations with several other admittees, it became clear that many of us were impacted by the case, developing concerns for our own safety should we commit to attend Stanford. At the end of the day, however, the case didn’t deter any of us from applying, and many are planning on committing to Stanford.

Personally, the news of the Brock Turner case impacted me greatly. Having looked up to Stanford as my dream school since I was a child, it felt as if my dream had been shattered. The reality of what had happened, and how that could affect me should I go to Stanford, began to sink in, and I was deeply disappointed. While that initial disappointment has somewhat faded, it is not due to an acceptance of Turner’s actions, or the way in which the university handled the situation in the aftermath. The Brock Turner case opened my eyes to the harsh realities of college, where one in five female students will be sexually assaulted during their four years. It opened my eyes to the numerous stories of assault on college campuses across the country (and across the world), and I had to accept that no matter what school I inevitably chose to attend, my mere existence on a college campus made me vulnerable. Whether I attended Stanford or CSU Fresno, was 3000 miles or 10 miles from home, I would be at risk.

The Brock Turner case exposed serious issues within higher education, particularly concerning how colleges process and work to prevent sexual assault. For us, as students, we have to recognize our power in acknowledging the faults in higher education, and be critical of the schools that we attend so that we may enact change. In order to address the serious issue of sexual assault on college campuses, we must push our student bodies to develop a zero-tolerance culture where an understanding of consent is key, and fully face the shortcomings of our universities so that we can strive to improve the very schools we have worked so diligently to attend.