Overrule your ‘rogue and irrational student government’
When the Stanford College Republicans complained that the university wouldn’t let them use a private donor to pay a $19,000 security fee, the administration said it was looking into “alternative arrangements” for their event with conservative pundit Dinesh D’Souza.
Those arrangements have apparently not worked out, because the CRs are threatening to sue the private university if it doesn’t overrule its “rogue and irrational student government,” the Associated Students of Stanford University.
Executive Director Quinn Barry told The College Fix the CRs were “in consultation” with the legal team for the Young America’s Foundation, which is sponsoring the “#FakeHistory Debunked Lecture Tour.”
“A number of lawyers including Shawn [Steel] have reached out to us,” Barry wrote in an email, referring to the Republican national committeeman who represented a student that was suspended for recording his professor’s anti-Donald Trump classroom comments.
“We’re not going to back down and Dinesh will be coming to campus, slated late February,” Barry said.
The Undergraduate Senate rejected the recommendations of an internal review on grant applications for student groups including the CRs in an “emergency” Sunday morning meeting, The Stanford Daily reported.
The review by ASSU financial and governance managers had recommended grant approvals of $3,617 for the D’Souza event and just under $111,700 for all grant requests, about 48 percent of the total requested money.
Senators who voted against the recommendations, a narrow majority, said the review itself had “inconsistencies.”
The vote means the funding decisions from last month’s Senate meeting will stand. About one in five funding applications was rejected completely, including for the CRs.
The club had requested $6,000 for the D’Souza event, $3,500 of which would cover security, but Appropriations Committee Chair Gabe Rosen flagged the request because it included a line item for alcohol. That was included by default by the caterer, not requested by the CRs, the club claimed.
The CRs were eventually granted $16.50 to cover “travel expenses” for D’Souza. Rosen’s targeting of the CRs application violated the Senate’s protocol of voting for all applications as a block. As a result, only a third of applications were fully approved.
By voting down the budget, the Senate is “holding funds for other groups hostage to stop our event,” the CRs wrote in a Facebook post after the Sunday vote: “That means all student groups will be granted the incorrect amount of funds previously allocated solely to prevent” D’Souza’s event.
The CRs are consulting First Amendment lawyers in the event that the administration doesn’t override the Senate vote or let the CRs use “donors and charities” to pay the $19,000 security fee, they said.
The club called out the university for its “parade of radical leftist speakers” this calendar year, including an event last week on “white nationalism in the Trump era” hosted by the university’s Center for Comparative Studies in Race & Ethnicity. “Is allowing Mr. D’Souza to challenge liberal revisionist history on campus, free of charge to Stanford, too much to ask?”
ASSU Senate Chair Leya Elias said she voted against the internal review recommendations because “specific groups” did not receive “proper funding” in her view, according to the Daily.
She didn’t respond to a Fix request to explain why the initial rejection of the College Republicans’ funding request would pass muster with a court if Stanford were sued, or how the student government would respond to the legal threat.
Rosen, the chair of the appropriations committee, said it was “bizarre” that the Senate rejected the recommendations of both the internal review and his own committee, the Daily reported. He called the Sunday meeting “improperly conducted” and “unprofessional.”
IMAGE: Dinesh D’Souza/YouTube