Stanford was once one of the world’s great universities. It birthed Silicon Valley in its prime. And along with its nearby twin and rival, UC Berkeley, its brilliant researchers, and teachers helped fuel the mid-20th-century California miracle.
That was then. But like the descent of California, now something has gone terribly wrong with the university.
Students at Stanford Law School recently shouted down visiting Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan. He had been invited to give a lecture by the school’s Federalist Society.
The judge never even got the chance. The law school students drowned him out. They flashed obscene placards. They screamed that he was “scum.” One yelled he hoped the judge’s own daughters would be raped.
Others bellowed, “You’re not welcome here, we hate you!” “Leave and never come back!” “We hate FedSoc [Federal Society] students, f–k them, they don’t belong here either!” and “We do not respect you and you have no right to speak here! This is our jurisdiction!”
When the judge tried to reply, they drowned him out with “liar” and “scumbag.” Then, mission accomplished, they smugly stomped out.
Note these were ostensibly not teenaged undergraduates. Instead, they were wannabe adult professionals, in law school to learn jurisprudence and to enter the elite American legal system that is supposed to have protocols separating it from the mobocracies prevailing abroad.
One of those foundational principles is to honor the Constitution’s protection of free speech and expression—not to mention the ancient idea of respecting an invited guest, or the custom to treat with deference a federal judge, to say nothing of the duty to honor the codes and laws of the institution that they have chosen to join which prohibit disruption of lectures and any effort to drive out public speakers.
When an exasperated Justice Duncan called out for a university administrator to restore calm, his podium was instead hijacked by Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach. She then gave her own preplanned, scripted lecture that sided with the disruptive protesters! Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
The diversity dean then turned on the speaker. She asked the startled judge whether it was even worth supporting his free speech rights, given he and his views were deemed abhorrent to the new absolutist Stanford.
Note well: DEI Deans normally do not attend law school lectures. She showed up because she apparently knew in advance that the law students would violate their own university’s codes of conduct and disrupt a speaker.
So she had planned, again in advance, to do nothing to stop them. Instead, she would prepare a performance-art speech for such a certainty, to chastise the speaker and defend the disrupters. She assumed correctly that none of the other administrators, who also strangely attended, would admonish her or the students for violating the laws of their own university. She apparently assumed, once more rightly, that her own leftist fides on campus would be enhanced.
So far neither the diversity dean nor the students have been disciplined by the university. When the dean of the law school, Jenny Martinez, offered an apology (but did not punish the students), most of her own class walked out on her. And dozens of Stanford’s law school students lined the corridor in attempts to intimidate her as if she was some sort of toxic pariah.
In a Soviet-style finale, the Acting Associate Dean of Students Jeanne Merino advised the Federalist Society students who were targeted by fellow law students that there were “resources that you can use right now to support your safety and mental health.” Then Merino directed them, inter alia, to none other than Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dean Tirien Steinbach herself, the very dean who had taken over the podium to lecture Judge Duncan!
The debacle revealed four disturbing characteristics about the Stanford law students: One, they acted as if they were bullies and cowards. Videos of the mess showed how they turned mob-like in their chanting, flashing creepy placards, and, like Maoists, walking out on cue. Yet, when the judge fired back at their rudeness, like wounded fawns they took offense and pouted. And later, when there was mention that the names or photos of the protestors might be published, tit-for-tat, in the manner they themselves had put up posters of the Federalist Society members, they screamed that such exposure was unfair.
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Author: Ruth King
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