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FAQs: Race and Ethnicity Re-Survey

1. Why has Stanford University asked its current employees to self-identify their race, ethnicity and veteran status?
2. Why is Stanford asking the race and ethnicity question in a two-question format?
3. Why is Stanford inviting employees to select more than one race and or ethnicity category if they would like to?
4. Why is Stanford University not collecting or providing employees with more race and ethnicity categories from which to self identify?
5. Who has access to the race and ethnicity data that employees have provided?
6. How are the race and ethnicity data utilized?
7. What if I decline to state my race and ethnicity?
8. Can my race and/or my ethnicity data be used in making employment decision(s)?
9. Will I be able to change my race and/or ethnicity data?
10. Does Stanford have staff affinity groups that I can join? 
11. Who can I contact for more information, questions or concerns regarding the invitation to self identify my race, ethnicity and veteran status?

1. Why has Stanford University asked its current employees to self-identify their race, ethnicity and veteran status?

Stanford University is a federal government contractor and is legally obligated to comply with a number of requirements and regulations. The US Department of Education (DOE) mandates that institutions of higher education that receive federal assistance collect and report race and ethnicity data using new race and ethnicity categories for faculty, staff, and students. Similarly, the Department of Labor requires federal contractors to collect data on gender, race and ethnicity, and veteran status.

2. Why is Stanford asking the race and ethnicity question in a two-question format?

The DOE collection and reporting requirements mandate that institutions of higher education make an initial inquiry about an individual's ethnicity (in terms of whether her or she is Hispanic/Latino), and then ask about his/her race, using the following racial categories: White, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native.

3. Why is Stanford inviting employees to select more than one race and or ethnicity category if they would like to?

The DOE requires that the race selection question invite the responding individual to select one or more of the specified race categories if he/she wishes to identify as multiracial rather than only one racial identity.

4. Why is Stanford University not collecting or providing employees with more race and ethnicity categories from which to self identify?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) revised the race and ethnicity categories a few years ago, and these categories are now in use by other government agencies. EEOC also created a two-step process that federal contractors are to use. The first step is to inquire about ethnicity: individuals are asked to indicate Yes or No to the question of whether they are Hispanic/Latino, regardless of race. The second step is to then select a racial group from the following categories: White, Black or African American, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Asian, American Indian or Alaska Native. Stanford invites respondents to select one or more of the race categories, and also provides a "Decline to State" option as to race and ethnic background.

Due to resource constraints and the costs required to store and maintain additional personnel data, the University has decided that, at this time, the race and ethnicity categories will be limited to those required to meet our legal obligations.

5. Who has access to the race and ethnicity data that employees have provided?

The race and ethnicity data (along with veteran status) are considered confidential employee information and are used for evaluation and reporting purposes only. A limited number of administrators such as Human Resource Managers and senior managers have access to this information.

6. How are the race and ethnicity data utilized?

Each year the University is required to conduct various analyses of its workforce and develop an Affirmative Action Plan. The University conducts an analysis of the utilization of women and minorities in our workforce as well as an analysis of the personnel actions that have taken place during the year, such as hires, promotions, and terminations. These analyses assist the University in identifying potential barriers to equal employment opportunities, especially with respect to women and minorities.

7. What if I decline to state my race and ethnicity?

The invitation to self-identify your race, ethnicity and veteran status is voluntary, and every employee has the option of choosing the "Decline to State" option (box). Checking this box will not affect your employment status.

8. Can my race and/or my ethnicity data be used in making employment decision(s)?

The race, ethnicity and veteran status information you provide is confidential employment-related information and will not be used as the basis for any employment decision affecting you.

9. Will I be able to change my race and/or ethnicity data?

Yes, the "Stanford You" website will continue to include the "Maintain your personal data" section which you can view and change at any time.

10. Does Stanford have staff affinity groups that I can join?

Yes, Stanford has eight staff affinity groups. All staff and faculty are welcome to join the group(s) and/or be added to their distribution lists
(list of staff groups and contact information).

11. Who can I contact for more information, questions or concerns regarding the invitation to self identify my race, ethnicity, and veteran status?

You may contact the University's designated compliance officer for the federal and state equal employment opportunity and affirmative action regulations and obligations. Stanford has designated the director of the Diversity and Access Office as the compliance officer for these regulations. You can contact the director at: equalopportunity@stanford.edu or (650) 723-0755.