Comment Of The Day: “Stanford’s Disgraceful DEI Dean Throws Down The Guntlet…NOW Will Stanford Fire Her?”

EA has featured a lot of posts about the Stanford Law shout-down of a conservative federal judge and the school’s “DEI” dean’s complicity in making certain that he did not get a fair opportunity to deliver his remarks. It is, I believe, quite possibly a tipping point regarding many important cultural issues, including Leftist censorship, the decline of higher education ethics and academic freedom, the corruption of the legal profession, and most of all, the toxic influence of the “diversity/equity/inclusion” cult to undermine core societal values in the U.S. The mainstream news media is doing its best to keep the story and its implications far from the consciousness of the average member of the public.

Glenn Logan has offered a helpful Comment of the Day which analyzes Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach’s defiant and telling op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Glenn is one of many experienced bloggers in the Ethics Alarms commentariat, and at times like these it shows.

Here is Glenn’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Stanford’s Disgraceful DEI Dean Throws Down The Guntlet…NOW Will Stanford Fire Her?”


Steinbach wrote: “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 wrote that 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.

Steinbach wrote, “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 who 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.

Steinbach wrote,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 transparent gaslighting. Her question itself provides the answer — we should 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, in Steinbach’s world view.

Steinbach wrote, 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.

Steinbach wrote, “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 tenet 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 Stanford, even leaving aside the actions of the students, which, while worthy of opprobrium, pale beside her abject and deliberate dishonesty.

3 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Stanford’s Disgraceful DEI Dean Throws Down The Guntlet…NOW Will Stanford Fire Her?”

  1. Since WordPress is again allowing me to comment as the site proprietor and I don’t know how long that privilege will last, allow me to take advantage while I can. Comments:

    1. Glenn gets “Word of the Week” kudos. I had never encountered “dissimulate” before: i thought it was a typo. It means “to conceal or disguise (one’s thoughts, feelings, or character).”

    2. I don’t think the judge crossed the line in his harsh words to the hecklers, just as I don’t think Justice Kavanaugh crossed the line when he berated the Senators trying to smear him. It would have been tactically wiser had both kept their cool, but I increasingly see this as a Leftist gotcha: provoke someone with outrageous conduct and abuse, and when they react with anger, accuse them of “crossing the line.” It’s the Sixties campus radical game, and that of Occupy Wall Street and BLM: goad the victims into an emotional response, and then use that to deny that they were victims. To hell with that.

    3. I know I’m repeating myself, but when a university official vocally encourages students to violate school policy by saying that they are in the right from a position of authority, the administration cannot punish the students for taking her at her word.

  2. Thanks for the COtD, Jack, and for your additional points. Perhaps Judge Duncan didn’t cross the line, I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. I guess I just wish he had been a bit more circumspect.

  3. First, the Stanford Federalist Society invited Judge Duncan of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to speak on campus. However, leftist students, including members from the National Lawyers Guild, decided that allowing a conservative judge to speak on campus is intolerable and decided to shout him down and deny him a platform.

    Judge Duncan was planning to speak on the topic: “The Fifth Circuit in Conversation with the Supreme Court: Covid, Guns, and Twitter.” A video shows that the students prevented Duncan from speaking from the very beginning. Many called him a racist while others hurled insults like one yelling “We hope your daughters get raped.” Duncan was unable to continue and asked for an administrator to assist him.
    Diversity Administrator Steinbach then took the stage and criticized the judge for seeking to be heard despite such objections. Steinbach did not “defuse” the situation but fueled the rage with her comments. Steinbach went out of the way to show her agreement with the mob and said she knew that they were going to stop the event and sympathized with the protestors.

    This happened at a law school. Students who cancel events or classes on campus are taking a position that is not just antithetical to principles of free speech but of higher education. They should be suspended or, in extreme or repeated incidents, expelled.

    Otherwise, the law school is not teaching law, ethics to its students. It is professing a commitment to free speech while by inaction declining to enforce that commitment.

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