Hundreds of Stanford student activists on Monday lined the hallways to protest the law school’s dean, Jenny Martinez, for apologizing to Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan, whom the activists shouted down last week.
The embattled dean arrived to the classroom where she teaches constitutional law to find a whiteboard covered inch to inch in fliers attacking Duncan and defending those who disrupted him, according to photos of the room and multiple eyewitness accounts. The fliers parroted the argument, made by student activists, that the heckler’s veto is a form of free speech.
“We, the students in your constitutional law class, are sorry for exercising our 1st Amendment rights,” some fliers read. As a private law school, Stanford is not bound by the First Amendment, though California state law does apply some First Amendment protections to private universities.
The protest followed a flurry of open letters from student activists, who spent much of the weekend berating Martinez after she and Stanford University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne issued a formal apology to Duncan condemning the students who disrupted his talk and the administrators who stood by silently and watched them do so.
The apology also took a swipe at Tirien Steinbach, the law school’s associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion, who interrupted Duncan to lecture him about the “harm” he’d caused.
When Martinez’s class adjourned on Monday, the protesters, dressed in black and wearing face masks that read “counter-speech is free speech,” stared silently at Martinez as she exited her first-year constitutional law class at 11:00 a.m., according to five students who witnessed the episode. The student protesters, who formed a human corridor from Martinez’s classroom to the building’s exit, comprised nearly a third of the law school, the students told the Washington Free Beacon.
The majority of Martinez’s class—approximately 50 students out of the 60 enrolled—participated in the protest themselves, two students in the class said. The few who didn’t join the protesters received the same stare down as their professor as they hurried through the makeshift walk of shame.
“They gave us weird looks if we didn’t wear black” and join the crowd, said Luke Schumacher, a first-year law student in Martinez’s class who declined to participate in the protest. “It didn’t feel like the inclusive, belonging atmosphere that the DEI office claims to be creating.”
Another student in the class, who likewise declined to protest, said the spectacle was a surreal experience. “It was eerie,” said the student, who requested anonymity for fear of retaliation. “The protesters were silent, staring from behind their masks at everyone who chose not to protest, including the dean.”… (Read more)