Stanford's Comically Idiotic Response to Brownshirts Running the Show
I wish I were making this up, but my imagination isn't that good.
I discussed here and here the shouting down at Stanford Law School of a conservative US Circuit Judge, Kyle Duncan, and the ostensible abetting of that thuggish behavior by a high-ranking member of the School’s administration, Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach. Dean Steinbach added an especially nice touch by giving Judge Duncan a six-minute lecture on the “real harm” he was inflicting on students by, among other things, trying to talk to them. Although the Dean of the Law School and the President of the University have apologized to the Judge, not a single person at Stanford has apologized to the Federalist Society, which invited him to speak; or — most importantly — to the students who came in good faith to the auditorium but who were unable to hear the speaker because of the continuous and sometimes vulgar shouting and heckling. And as of this writing, no discipline has been handed out to (or, really, even very strongly hinted at) either Steinbach or the Brownshirt “students.”
Another high-ranking member of the School’s administration, Acting Dean of Students Jeanne Merino, has, however, delivered a message to Stanford’s students. In sum, it’s this: We’ll help you find a shrink so you can talk about your feelings. Or you can talk to Dean Steinbach herself! In the meantime, hush up yo’ mouth about this mess. It’s not doing Stanford any good.
If you find this hard to believe, which I hope you will, here, verbatim, is Dean Merino’s note.
Prof. Johathan Turley has a wonderful response:
In what may constitute the most tone deaf response to an academic scandal in history, Stanford University is advising conservative students involved with the recently cancelled Federalist Society event that they can “reach out” to various resources, including DEI Dean Tirien Steinbach who helped shutdown the event. It is akin to the Oscars telling Chris Rock that Will Smith is available as an emotional support coach. You know what is emotionally therapeutic for those denied free speech? Free speech.
That about nails it, except I would not say “tone deaf.” I would say it’s what you get when you cross the laughable with the repulsive.
Federalist Society leaders received an email (that went to all students) from acting Dean of Students Jeanne Merino to stress that traumatized students could seek “safety and mental health” support resources from various individuals, including Dean Steinbach.
In an earlier entry, I noted that, among the five things that are killing America, mush is right up there. I hardly expected such mind-bending proof so graphically so soon.
The email is also telling in its reflexive assumption that such conflicts are matters for emotional support. After Steinbach condemned Judge Duncan’s effort to speak as causing untold emotional harm to students, Stanford is now moving to deal with the emotional harm from Steinbach’s words . . . by directing them to Steinbach and others.
Honestly, truly, I am not making this up.
While the email is also meant to offer support for all students traumatized by the appearance of a conservative judge on campus, it is the receipt by conservative students that was most jarring. Conservatives and libertarians generally have not claimed that opposing views are traumatic exposures requiring safe spaces or counseling. What they seek is free speech.
This is not that hard. The problem is not “trauma.” The problem is Brownshirtism, and the answer is to force the Brownshirts and their enablers to pay a price they won’t forget. One might suspect that it is to obscure this fact that Stanford Law comes up with psychobabble nonsense. As Prof. Turley notes:
[I]t may be easier for Stanford to offer counseling than tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints. It could start by holding accountable those who are responsible for “deplatforming” and shouting down speakers. It would also involve adding true diversity of viewpoints on the faculty rather than an ideological echo chamber. Instead, the law school is treating conservatives like trauma victims and offering emotional support for an environment of its own creation.
Here’s the kicker:
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.”
Shut up, she explained.
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.
I hope alumni are withholding support. Jim Dueholm
I think one of the odder aspects is the assumption that those 'Federalist' students will need counseling. These students wouldn't be "Stanford Snowflakes" and then belong to the Federalist Society. It is almost unbelievable (but not quite) that someone in a position of authority at Stanford Law could be that obtuse.