Faced with a stark choice that other major law school deans (like the Georgetown Law Center’s Dean William Trainor) have botched during The Great Stupid, Stanford’s dean courageously chose the values of free speech, academic freedom and pluralism over the currently more popular progressive law student fad of censorship, mandatory wokism, and totalitarian tactics. She’s undoubtedly expecting a protest from her fetal lawyers, and surely will get it.
Responding to the school’s national embarrassment when a mob of students shut down the speech of an invited federal district court judge whose opinions they didn’t like—aided and abetted by the school’s “DEI” dean—Stanford’s Jenny Martinez announced yesterday that the students involved as well as the rest of the student body will attend a mandatory half-day training course on “freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession.”
“I believe we cannot function as a law school from the premise that appears to have animated the disruption of Judge Duncan’s remarks — that speakers, texts, or ideas believed by some to be harmful inflict a new impermissible harm justifying a heckler’s veto,” Martinez wrote in a 10-page letter to the law school community. She also said that Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach, the DEI administrator shown above telling Judge Duncan than she hates him, had been placed on leave, though she did not specify whether the leave was paid or unpaid. Steinbach should be fired, as EA noted in an earlier post. Indeed all “diversity/equity/inclusion” administrators should be dismissed or reassigned and the insidious are be recognized for what it is rationalized unlawful discrimination.
Perhaps Dean Martinez’s brave stand against the predominant culture in her own university will prove to be a catalyst. We can hope.
15 thoughts on “Ethics Hero: Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez”
Color me skeptical. Although the statement is fine (and oh-so-carefully crafted), the timing and solutions are highly suspect. My guess is that the Regents got an earful from alumni, Stanford president Tessier-Levigne got an earful from the Regents, and Ms. Martinez, Esq., got an earful from the president.
Half a hero. Everyone has to get educated on free speech? Including the Federalist Society members? The re-education should be limited to the DIE dean and the asshole students. Punishing the innocent is classic lefty stuff.
Agree with Arthur and Other. Thus far feels like weak response. If DEI admin is terminated, that would be something.
Even better: terminated and not replaced. THAT would be a statement.
I read the letter, and overall, I agree it is a step in the right direction for Stanford. I am disappointed that the Dean ignored the harrassment some of her students – the Federalist Society members, whose photos and names were publicized to shame them.
Jonathan Turley had a piece on this.
I have to agree with him that the lack of consequences for the students who participated in this behavior severely undermines the statement.
Yep, as does the fact that all the students must pay penance for the misdeeds of a few. But the Dean has done far more than just about any administration to this point.
The only defense I can see to this (and, yes, I agree that making all students attend waters down the message) is that no one can claim ignorance in the future. Everyone is on notice about expectations.
Then, make it mandatory for all incoming 1Ls to put all incoming students on notice.
Jut, Null: I think making all students take the training is an acknowledgment that Stanford Law’s culture itself is at fault, and all of the students have been potentially misled. For the same reason, I can sympathize with not punishing the students harshly for behaving as they have been indoctrinated to do, on Martinez’s watch.
But it will take a lot more than a half-day training to fix the problem.
Shouldn’t it be adequately covered in one Con Law class?
It’s basic criminal procedure law as well. I literally learned it in as a first year law student. It was on the exam.
There is at least half a generation now who has been taught that there are never any consequences for their behavior if they are pursuing the correct ideology. Consequences only apply to those bad, evil, fascists who don’t agree with us about absolutely everything.
There are consequences to removing consequences for bad behavior. In this case, the consequence is going to be future lawyers and judges who don’t understand the first amendment and think destroying it is a noble cause. That is going to be a very large consequence.
Actions speak louder than words. Martinez can say whatever she likes, but if the actions she follows up with don’t match the rhetoric, it is meaningless. These are not children who are stomping around throwing tantrums. They are adults. Supposedly, they are intelligent adults. They knew what the policies were, and they simply believed that the policies did not apply to them. So far as I can tell, they are correct.
I think I might have to play by play this as I read it.
It is refreshing to see the correct opinion on freedom of speech being more than simply the right to speak. In the first section Dean Martinez has provided a perfect response to the assertion that counter-protest is simply countering free speech with free speech. I used to say that free speech was more than just the ability to speak, it was also the ability to hear if you wanted to, she’s cited the relevant case law.
“For these reasons, modern First Amendment law does not treat every setting as a public
forum where a speech free-for-all is allowed. To the contrary, First Amendment cases have
long recognized that some settings are “limited public forums,” where restrictions on speech
are constitutional so long as they are viewpoint-neutral and reasonable in light of the forum’s
function and all the surrounding circumstances. See Christian Legal Soc. Chapter of the
Univ. of Cal., Hastings College of the Law v. Martinez, 561 U.S. 661, 679 (2010); Arkansas
Educ. Television Com’n v. Forbes, 523 U.S. 666, 676-78, 688 (1998). As Justice Ginsburg
cautioned in a prominent case, such speech restrictions may be especially reasonable “in the
educational context,” which requires “appropriate regard for school administrators’
judgment” in preserving a university’s mission and advancing academic values. Christian
Legal Soc., 561 U.S. at 685, 687.”
“Finally, it should be obvious from what I have stated above that at future events, the role of any
administrators present will be to ensure that university rules on disruption of events will be followed, and all staff will receive additional training in that regard.”
Again… I think other commenters are correct, I think this signals that Martinez believes that the school is at fault for allowing a culture like this, and that the school needs to set better guidelines and give better signals. I mean, I don’t know whether Steinbach is on paid or unpaid leave, and frankly, despite how disappointing it is to not know, I think actually telling us would be wrong. Regardless, neither paid or unpaid would surprise me, although I would expect paid. Again… The school bears some responsibility: They hired a DEI dean. These are assumptions, but frankly, I doubt very much that what she was doing was drastically outside the mandate she was given. And if I’m right: How do you punish someone for doing exactly what you hired them to do?
Ergo, fire the dean and dismantle the DEI arm of the administration. Bring in a new dean who will sweep the place clean. Mabe Victor Davis Hansen.