Good manners and free speech are evidently no longer given any quarter on Stanford University campus.
The dean of Stanford’s law school has been targeted for abuse by leftists on campus in response to her decision to apologize to a conservative judge whom censorious students tried to shut up.
What is the background?
An esteemed Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judge was invited to speak to the Federalist Society at Stanford university last week about the dialogue between the Supreme Court and the Fifth Circuit concerning authoritarian COVID-19 restrictions and gun laws.
“You’ve invited me here and I’m being heckled nonstop,” says the Trump-appointed judge in a video captured during the event.
Although there was at least one other adult in the room, Tirien Steinbach — a diversity, equity, and inclusion associate dean — she did little to help the situation.
“In my view, this was a setup, [Tirien Steinbach] was working with students on this,” Duncan later told Reuters.
Duncan later demanded an apology, noting that the anti-free-speech protesters had treated their peers like “dogs**t.”
He later told the Washington Free Beacon, “If enough of these kids get into the legal profession, the rule of law will descend into barbarism.”
Following the incident, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez penned an apology to Duncan, noting, “What happened was inconsistent with our policies on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus.”
“We are very clear with our students that, given our commitment to free expression, if there are speakers they disagree with, they are welcome to exercise their right to protest but not to disrupt the proceedings,” said the letter. “Staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.”
The president and dean claimed they were “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”
Duncan said in a statement obtained by National Review that he appreciated the apology and was “pleased to accept it.”
“I particularly appreciate the apology’s important acknowledgment that ‘staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech,'” wrote Duncan. “Particularly given the depth of the invective directed towards me by the protestors, the administrators’ behavior was completely at odds with the law school’s mission of training future members of the bench and bar.”
Extra to suggesting that the members of Stanford’s Federalist Society were most deserving of an apology, Duncan wrote, “Given the disturbing nature of what happened, clearly concrete and comprehensive steps are necessary. I look forward to learning what measures Stanford plans to take to restore a culture of intellectual freedom.”
Anti-free-speech activists strike again
The apology enraged leftists on campus.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that hundreds of anti-free-speech activists crowded the hallways of the university Monday, protesting Martinez and her apology.
Martinez found that activists had plastered the whiteboard inside the classroom where she teaches constitutional law with placards denouncing Duncan along with copies of her apology.
One flier said, “We, the students in your constitutional law class, are sorry for exercising our 1st Amendment rights.”
Another flier, which was mass-produced, advanced the Orwellian claim that “‘COUNTER-SPEECH’ IS FREE SPEECH.”
This claim — that censorship constitutes free speech — was reportedly scrawled across the masks of the anti-speech extremists haunting Martinez’s classroom, dressed all in black.
Martinez’s faceless critics were joined by the majority of her pupils. Nearly 50 out of the 60 students enrolled in the first-year class got involved in the anti-free-speech protest, reported the Free Beacon.
Those who refused to participate were stigmatized.
“They gave us weird looks if we didn’t wear black,” first-year law student Luke Schumacher told the Free Beacon. “It didn’t feel like the inclusive, belonging atmosphere that the DEI office claims to be creating.”
Students writing on behalf of the Stanford chapter of the American Constitution Society condemned the apology, telling Marinez that Duncan was not a victim, but had “himself made civil dialogue impossible.”
The juvenile chapter of the ACS further implored the administration to “clarify that Judge Duncan’s behavior does not meet the standards this university expects of invited speakers,” suggesting that he had “walked into the law school filming protestors on his phone, looking more like a YouTuber storming the Capitol, than a federal judge coming to speak.”
According to Schumacher, when Martinez left the building, the anti-free-speech activists began to cheer and weep.
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