Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach, currently on well-earned disciplinary leave after her revolting handling of a law student effort to use the “heckler’s veto” to silence a Federal court judge invited to speak to a student group, has decided to challenge the Stanford dean and the school’s president by claiming that she was right to side with the disruptive students. Her defense relies on the currently popular diversity/equity/inclusion cant that free speech can be harmful, and must be “balanced” with DEI objectives.
Her message was relayed in a defiant (and dishonest) op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, ominously titled, “Diversity and Free Speech Can Coexist at Stanford We have to stop blaming, start listening, and ask ourselves: Is the juice worth the squeeze?”
The title itself signals Steinbach’s anti-speech point of view. The irritating metaphor “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” in this case means “Is freedom of speech worth the trouble?” That’s the calling card of an aspiring ideological censor and a totalitarian, giving off the stench of “safe spaces” and criminalized hate speech. She, and the op-ed that follows, advocates suppressing opinions and speech that she disagrees with, or in the world of the woke, that is “dangerous” and “wrong,” “wrong” meaning “not what we want to hear.”
First, however, Steinbach had to frame her argument in a lie. She describes the confrontation between Judge Duncan and an organized mob of protesters as merely a “heated exchange,” and “a verbal sparring match,” writing that “some protesters heckled the judge and peppered him with questions and comments” which the judge “answered in turn.” There is video of the event, and that’s not what was going on. Duncan was prevented from giving his prepared remarks, the students who came to hear them were prevented from doing so, and Duncan, far from answering questions, was reduced to calling out the students for their atrocious behavior.
Stanford Law School dean Martinez correctly characterized the attack on the judge as an intolerable violation of free speech principles and Stanford policy. In her apology to Judge Duncan, Martinez stated: “Freedom of speech is a bedrock principle for the law school, the university, and a democratic society.” Then in her follow-up letter to the university, Martinez said that “the commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion means that we must protect free expression of all views.” Stienbach contradicts her, and still asserts that her conduct, delivering a prepared statement criticizing the judge for his decisions (which were completely irrelevant to the responsibility of students to allow him to speak) and justifying the “heckler’s veto” by saying that it “pained her” that he should be speaking at all, were consistent with DEI principles.
They are! DEI is by nature anti-speech, anti-democracy, and anti-American values. That is why Steinbach needs to be fired, and the DEI obsession at universities and elsewhere needs to be deplored, ended, buried, and remembered only as a horrible mistake.
The nation is built on the revolutionary principle that the remedy for unpopular speech is more speech, and that democracy is only healthy and vigorous if all ideas can be expressed. Today’s crazy idea may be the key to unlocking the doors and windows to a better future, but present day progressives have come to believe that their fastest and surest route to the dubious utopia they crave is to control information and to intimidate opposition. By all means, let them advocate those Big Brother methods; we need to see clearly what they are and who favors them. At all costs, however, the righteous censors need to be kept out of power, whether it be in academia, corporate America or government.
It is the foundation of the unique American experiment that the juice is worth the squeeze—may I never have to use that again!—because the juice is liberty. The squeeze is free expression and speech.
15 thoughts on “Stanford’s Disgraceful DEI Dean Throws Down The Guntlet…NOW Will Stanford Fire Her?”
As a former student with two degrees from Stanford, I can no longer recognize the prevailing conduct at the university. Above all else, the diversity of ideas is the hallmark of an excellent university. She should be fired.
I think she’s expecting to be, and setting herself up as the DEI Avenger…
Powered by self-righteous indignation, with the power to whip people into a frenzy with authentic frontier gibberish, here comes DEI Avenger. Beware her withering shame ray; her weakness is the truth.
Published by Woke Comics and coming soon to snobbish coffee shops near you.
The demise of the American academy is the largest debacle of the fifty years since I graduated from what used to be a neat little college run by intelligent, conscientious adults dedicated to educating young people to become valuable members of a worthwhile society.
Here are my observations on Steinbach’s op-ed:
Regardless of where you stand politically, none of this heated exchange was helpful for civil discourse or productive dialogue.
True, but only because one side decided the right way to deal with debating controversial issues was to make sure that the other side of the debate could not be heard without wading through repeated ad hominem attacks and invective.
At no point does Steinbach recognize that the students were driving the lack of civility. It is also true that the judge’s remarks at certain points crossed the line, but he was under constant attack to the point that he was unable to deliver a coherent presentation. Steinbach either does not recognize these facts, or is okay with them. Based on her prepared remarks, the latter seems to be the betting favorite.
So how can this possibly square with her implied desire for civil discourse? Easy — discourse can only be civil when it’s hers, or she agrees with it, or it is had on her terms.
Steinbach said she “wanted Judge Duncan to understand why some students were protesting his presence on campus,” but it seems like the students were doing nothing but making him aware of that the whole time. I can’t imagine why she thought reiterating or amplifying those points would be necessary or helpful.
At one point during the event, I asked Judge Duncan, “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” I was referring to the responsibility that comes with freedom of speech: to consider not only the benefit of our words but also the consequences.
The judge was an invited speaker, known to lean conservative. The consequences of his comments were that they were always going to make one side of the political debate happier and the other side angrier. He was fully aware of the consequences, and was comfortable with them, as were those students who invited him to speak.
It is also clear that it was Steinbach and her fellow-travelers that were not comfortable with Judge Duncan’s planned remarks, and yet only Steinbach among all of those opposed was required to be in attendance — other than she, the rest had full control over this exposure to Duncan’s apostasy.
What happened in that room is a microcosm of how polarized our society has become, and it raises important questions: How do we listen and talk to each other as people, not with partisan talking points?
We will never know, since partisan talking points were the sum total of Steinbach’s prepared attack on Judge Duncan. So this isn’t just a rhetorical question on her part, but a transparent gaslighting. Her question itself provides the answer — we talk, not shout down, obstruct, parade with signs, and most importantly, not relentlessly hurl invective.
One of the most absurd and abused phrases currently in use (and repeated in her op-ed) is “hold[ing someone] accountable. Accountable for what? The condition of society, global warming, the tragic proliferation of game shows, Judge Judy wanna-be’s and superhero movies? What does that look like, exactly? Is a “heckler’s veto” how you hold people accountable? It would seem so.
Whenever and wherever we can, we must de-escalate the divisive discourse to have thoughtful conversations and find common ground. Free speech, academic freedom and work to advance diversity, equity and inclusion must coexist in a diverse, democratic society.
This, coming from her, is reduced to a base platitude, and a profoundly ironic one, at that.
It is How we strike a balance between free speech and diversity, equity and inclusion is worthy of serious, thoughtful and civil discussion.
The two things are in direct and irreconcilable opposition. You cannot strike a balance between two positions when a fundamental tenant of one of them is that the other must not exist at all, let alone have its validity presented at argument.
You’re right, Jack. Steinbach should be fired. She has demonstrated intolerable incompetence by not doing her job, then dissimulated about the entire affair in a widely-read op-ed. She has embarrassed Standford even leaving aside the actions of the students, which, while worthy of opprobrium, pale beside her abject and deliberate dishonesty.
“[D]iscourse can only be civil when it’s hers, or she agrees with it, or it is had on her terms.”
Exactly. This is the dreaded “teachable moment” or “we need to have a conversation” of the insufferably condescending Barack Obama. What these little obfuscations really mean is “Sit down. Shut up. Now listen to how the cow’s going to eat the cabbage, junior.” These are not conversations; they are struggle sessions. This is Saul Alinsky stuff. To which I say, cue Kevin Kline in “A Fish Called Wanda”: “Assholes!”
The judge was evidently targeted because he was part of a Fifth Circuit majority that refused a convicted felon’s request to have his record changed to reflect his new name as a transexual female. The horror! In other words, the judge’s presence on campus was physically threatening to trans people and their allies. The judge’s mere existence was objectionable. Insanity. Evidently federal record keeping regulations don’t respect peoples’ choices of pronouns and even proper nouns! This judge is a murderer. At least it’s good to know where these obnoxious brats were coming from.
HT is right. She won’t be fired. She was doing the job she was hired to do. She’ll only be fired if the entire DEI apparatus at Stanford were to be dismantled. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening. Who knows, she may prevail. The law school dean may be fired, and Steinbach will be promoted to replace her! I doubt the lefties on the Stanford faculties are going to take this lying down. They may very well go to the mattresses. Let’s get ready to rumble.
I will note here, as I decided not to do so in the post, that this is why I agree with the decision not to punish the students involved. The Dean of DEI, and presumably the rest of the culture on campus, led the students to believe that they were behaving consistently with the school’s desires. Under those conditions, punishing them would be a bait and switch.
They had no way of knowing “I hope your daughter gets raped” is punishable classroom behavior?
The DEI Dean says it’s free speech!
Yeah. And, to paraphrase my mother-in-law speaking to Mrs. OB sixty or so years ago, if the DEI Dean told them to jump off the roof, they’d do it. Cue Fred Rogers: “Can you say, ‘think for yourself?’ Of course you can.” These are nascent lawyers in their mid-twenties.
Why doesn’t diversity and inclusion allow for cultural perspectives that she disagrees with?
Do IPOC businesses and HBCU’s have DEI officials? If not why not if diversity creates stronger enterprises.
If everything’s supposed to look like America, why isn’t the NBA more than thirteen percent players of color?
Aren’t merit and excellence white supremacist constructs?