Hearing a few more center-right individuals is not going to cure the rot
Stanford University cannot fix its cultural problem by bringing in more speakers with center-right views – it must expel the rulebreakers and fire the “diversity, equity and inclusion” staff if it wants to start repairing its reputation.
In the wake of the disruption of a Federalist Society even with Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan, Princeton University Professor Robert George has proposed that “viewpoint diversity” would help ameliorate the problem, although he also supports disciplining the students.
I am skeptical that bringing in more conservative speakers or offering classes from a center-right point of view will be as helpful as disciplining students.
1/ The shameful incident at Stanford Law School happened because SLS, like so many other academic institutions, has become an ideological echo chamber. Such incidents can be prevented, but only by enhancing viewpoint diversity, especially among faculty and administrators.
— Robert P. George🇻🇦🇺🇸🪕 (@McCormickProf) March 12, 2023
The problem is that simply allowing students the opportunity to hear from conservatives will not work, as history has shown. Instead, the entire DEI complex at the school should be fired and the students who disrupted the speech should be expelled to send a message.
The tone-deaf response from university administrators in the aftermath of the disruption shows that the rot runs deep at Stanford. Tirien Steinbach, the DEI dean and former ACLU program officer who lambasted Duncan, must be fired. She can take her entire team with her.
Professor George’s premise is that if students heard more conservative or libertarian views, then they would not disrupt conservative speakers. But Stanford and its student groups, particularly the College Republicans, have offered plenty of opportunities and that did not prevent the disruption.
First, the students were protesting a conservative speaker. Their law school peers brought in someone to contribute to “viewpoint diversity,” and they rejected that speaker with the help of the DEI dean. I do not think that had Fed Soc brought in three or four speakers the situation would have been better.
Second, Stanford already hosts the Hoover Institution, a prominent center-right think tank led by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. But the university community has consistently rejected that “viewpoint diversity.”
For example, on Sunday night, just a few days after the disruption, professors at Stanford published a letter questioning why Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch is allowed to sit on the board of the Hoover Institution and by extension, be associated with the university.
The second listed signer is David Palumbo-Liu, who sat on a free speech committee at the university but also co-created the Campus Antifascist Network. Palumbo-Liu frequently tries to get the Hoover Institution canceled and criticizes the College Republicans. The linked article above details multiple incidents of anti-conservative and pro-leftist actions at Stanford, as detailed by the College Republicans.
Which gets to another point. Stanford students have had opportunities in the past few years to hear from a wide range of conservative speakers, many of whom have been targeted by the campus community:
–Daily Wire commentator Matt Walsh’s event was targeted by leftists who set event flyers on fire. This comes after the student government set aside money to fund protests against the event.
–Three fellows with the Hoover Institution were targeted by their peers (including Professor Palumbo-Liu) for baseless investigations. Those three were Scott Atlas, a former health policy advisor to President Donald Trump, Victor Hanson, a well-known conservative commentator and former professor, and Niall Ferguson, a conservative historian and author. Atlas is a frequent target of Stanford leftists.
–An instructor recently questioned why the College Republicans were allowed to bring unidentified “Islamophobic” speakers to campus.
The culture must change on campus. The campus National Lawyers Guild chapter said the disruption of Judge Duncan’s event “represented Stanford Law School at its best.”
Email Saturday from Stanford law school’s National Lawyers Guild chapter (“an anti-racist, anti-militaristic, anti-colonialist collective of law students dedicated to the liberation of all people – from Ferguson to Palestine”) shows it’s not on board with this free-speech idea. pic.twitter.com/MEOVI4dtS5
— Ed Whelan (@EdWhelanEPPC) March 13, 2023
Culture is downstream of politics and policy. Stanford needs to have a policy against campus disruptions and woke ideology if it wants to change its culture.
A few more conservative speakers or a class about the philosophy of Edmund Burke won’t do it.
IMAGE: Stanford Law School