Stanford Law Is Having a Free Speech Crisis

( – In the age of social media, viral videos have become the new must-see trend. You never know from where one will come, sometimes the origin is truly surprising. Last week of all places Stanford Law School (SLS) was the stage of one such video. What one would expect to have been a routine speech by a sitting federal court judge to a group of prospective lawyers followed by a case-based Q&A discussing legal theory turned into something more resembling the Jerry Springer Show. The videos shot by several students showing different angles and portions featured Federal Judge Kyle Duncan attempting to deliver remarks on guns, free speech, and Twitter. He was unable to even begin as the unruly students brandished signs, shouted, and heckled him from the onset.

That is only part of why the video attracted so much attention, Duncan asked an administrator to come to settle the room so he could proceed with some semblance of decorum. Instead what he received was a scolding lecture directed at him by Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Tirien Steinbach. She told him his presence caused the students pain and division. She wondered if “the juice was worth the squeeze” should he be allowed to speak. She professed her love for the students and assured them her own lecture the next day would counter anything the judge might say in his.

This episode shed light on something deeper and that is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programs. They’re everywhere now and SLS has been increasing theirs for the last five years. They took recommendations from their on-campus DEI working group and established a Racial Justice Center, DEI, and belonging sessions as well as a Critical Race Theory course and a multitude of campus speakers in-line with these narratives. One could say the culture of SLS overall is now that of ‘social justice’ above all else. Universities are currently averaging 45 on-campuses DEI staff throughout the country.

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