As RedState previously reported, all hell broke loose Thursday at Stanford Law School after triggered students effectively shut down Judge Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee, as he attempted to give a speech at the invitation of the school’s Federalist Society group.
To quickly recap, video of the event showed the woke mob repeatedly heckling and shouting at Duncan, a 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, with no intervention from the school administrators who were in attendance beyond Tirien Steinbach, the Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
But instead of trying to restore order, Steinbach proceeded to lecture Duncan about how “uncomfortable” he made her and the students in the room because some of his decisions allegedly “[deny] the humanity of people” including a convicted transgender sex offender with who Duncan refused to play pronoun games in 2020.
After all was said and done, Duncan reportedly had to be ushered out by federal marshals in the interest of keeping him safe.
Though Stanford wrote an official apology to Judge Duncan two days later, which affirmed their supposed commitment to free speech and expression while promising to take “steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” they stepped in it yet again hours later with an email sent by Dean of Students Jeanne Merino, who advised students including those in the Federalist Society of “threat assessment” options and to reach out to, among others, DEI Dean Tirien Steinbach, in the interests of preserving their mental health:
There is much to process about Thursday’s event and its aftermath, but the focus of this email is to provide you with resources that you can use right now to support your safety and mental health. I’ve seen and heard from several of you who are concerned for your safety and are having a hard time processing last week’s events. I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this difficulty at all, much less now. Please pass this information on to your broader membership.
Please reach out to any of us here at SLS if you would like support or would like to process last week’s events: a. OSA (Jeanne Merino, [email protected], Holly Parrish, [email protected], John Dalton [email protected], and Megan Brown, [email protected]), b. DEI (Tirien Steinbach, [email protected]) c. Levin Center (Diane Chin, [email protected]; Anna Wang, [email protected]).
As George Washington Law School professor Jonathan Turley observed, advising conservative students to reach out to the DEI Dean, who stood in solidarity with the mob, is like “telling Chris Rock that Will Smith is available as an emotional support coach.”
“You know what is emotionally therapeutic for those denied free speech?” Turley went on to say. “Free speech.”
Turley also blasted Merino, pointing out that essentially what she wants is to address the free speech issues brought up by what happened Thursday by telling students that maybe they should… be quiet:
It is also worth noting that Merino suggests that the best way to deal with this free speech controversy is to curtail free speech. The email suggests that “Student organizations should consider pausing their student organization social media accounts until this news cycle winds down, as the law school and university have done. Try your best not to engage on Twitter or any other social media platform, as issues tend to escalate and trolls are looking for a fight.”
I understand that shutting down social media discussions can protect students from public criticism. However, it would also tend to reduce criticism of the law school from within the community. Any controversy will draw wider commentary and criticism. Is it better to avoid that public debate as a member of this community to avoid the trauma of contradiction? This is an existential debate over an anti-free speech culture at the school. If there is a time to be heard as a student or a group (on either side of this debate), it is now.
Sadly, these types of deliberate disruptions of conservative expression at higher ed institutions by supposedly “tolerant liberals” has become more the norm than the exception. Which is why it is imperative for conservatives to remember the old saying about how the best response to the attempted suppression of speech is to get even louder.