Stanford Law School’s president and dean Friday issued a joint written apology to Fifth Circuit Appellate Court Judge Kyle Duncan.
President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Dean of Stanford Law School Jenny Martinez apologized for the disruptive behavior of their students that prevented Duncan from giving a speech.
“As has already been communicated to our community, what happened was inconsistent with our policies
on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus,” the law school administrators apologized.
The officials said they made it clear to students they are welcome to protest speakers they disagree with but not to disrupt their speech. Tessier-Lavigne and Martinez also apologized on behalf of other administrators who were present but did not enforce school policies.
“In addition, 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,” they wrote.
The dean and president assured Duncan the school is taking steps to avoid a repeat of the debacle he encountered Thursday.
“Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle for the law school, the university, and a democratic society, and we can and must do better to ensure that it continues even in polarized times,” they concluded.
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan was heckled, hooted at, shouted down and called a racist by students pursuing a career in law.
He was unable to deliver his prepared remarks Thursday although invited to do so by the school’s Federalist Society chapter.
Social media contains video footage of Stanford’s Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Tirien Steinbach, who sided with protesters. Steinbach spent many minutes lecturing the appellate court judge.
Your opinions from the bench land as absolute “disenfranchisement” of the students’ rights, Steinbach lectured Duncan. She claimed his rulings affected millions of people by “tearing the fabric of this community.”
When Steinbach wondered aloud whether the juice was worth the squeeze, the judge said he did not understand what she meant.
“Do you have something so incredibly important to say,” she asked him, that it is worth the “division of these people?” In other words, she explained, did he have something so important to share about Twitter, guns or COVID that it justified what she called the “harm” the students present suffered by his presence.
Judge Duncan accepted the school’s written apology, according to a National Review report. He expressed particular appreciation for their apology on behalf of administrators who intervened in an inappropriate manner, which likely referred to Steinbach.
“I hope a similar apology is tendered to the persons in the Stanford law school community most harmed by the mob action: the members of the Federalist Society who graciously invited me to campus,” the judge told National Review. “Such an apology would also be a useful step towards restoring the law school’s broader commitment to the many, many students at Stanford who, while not members of the Federalist Society, nonetheless welcome robust debate on campus.”
Three other administrators present did not intervene, according to Federalist Society member Tim Rosenberger.
Rosenberger named Associate Dean of Student Affairs Jory Steele, Associate Director of Student Affairs Holly Parrish and Student Affairs Coordinator Megan Brown as administrators present during the attempted speech, according to a Washington Free Beacon report. None told students to permit Duncan to speak without interruption, the report noted.
“Don’t feel sorry for me,” Duncan said after the incident, according to the report. “I’m a life-tenured federal judge. What outrages me is that these kids are being treated like dogshit by fellow students and administrators.”
If administrators are true to their word, it may be the last time a speaker invited to campus will be treated with such disrespect.
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