Stanford President, Law School Dean Apologize To Judge After Verbal Assault On Campus

Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez delivered an apology on Saturday to Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan, after he was verbally attacked by student protesters and a school administrator.

“We write to apologize for the disruption of your recent speech at Stanford Law School. 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 letter stated.

The apologetic missive went on to lament the fact that there were school officials who were aware of the situation and did not take action when they should have, saying “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.”

The confrontation began when protesters descended upon a Federalist Society event — where Duncan had been invited to speak at the Palo Alto campus — calling the federal judge a “liar,” a “scumbag,” and shouting obscenities.

When Duncan called for a school administrator to deescalate the situation, what he got was Tirien Steinbach, Stanford’s associate dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — and she used the opportunity to lecture him instead of the protesters.

“We believe that the way to address speech that feels abhorrent, that feels harmful, that literally denies the humanity of people, that one way to do that is with more speech, and not less. And not to shut you down or censor you, or censor the student group that invited you here. That is hard, that is uncomfortable, and that is a policy and principle that I think is worthy of defending, I think, even in this time,” Steinbach said.

In one of the most disgraceful displays in recent memory, a 5th Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan was shouted down when he tried to speak to law students at Stanford. DEI Dean Angela Steinbach then appeared and lambasted Judge Duncan.

— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 10, 2023

Accusing Duncan of being “divisive,” Steinbach asked him directly, “Is the juice worth the squeeze? Is it worth the pain that this causes and the division it causes? Do you have something so incredibly important to say about Twitter and guns and COVID that that is worth this impact on the division of these people?”

Three other Stanford administrators were reportedly present as the scene played out, but none stepped in as Steinbach berated the judge.

“Don’t feel sorry for me,” Duncan told the Free Beacon after the incident. “I’m a life-tenured federal judge. What outrages me is that these kids are being treated like dogs*** by fellow students and administrators.”

He later responded to the apology from Tessier-Lavigne and Martinez as well, saying, “I am pleased to accept their apology. I particularly appreciate the apology’s important acknowledgment that ‘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.’”

Duncan went on to say that he would like to see an apology directed to the people who were most harmed by the treatment protesters and Steinbach had subjected them to – the Federalist Society members who had invited him to speak in campus in the first place.

“Given the disturbing nature of what happened, clearly concrete and comprehensive steps are necessary. I look forward to learning what measures Stanford plans to take to restore a culture of intellectual freedom,” Duncan concluded.

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