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Stanford Law Diversity Dean Placed On Leave, Student Disrupters Will Be Re-Educated Not Disciplined

Stanford Law Diversity Dean Placed On Leave, Student Disrupters Will Be Re-Educated Not Disciplined

Law School Dean Jenny Martinez: “the hate mail and appalling invective that have been directed at some of our students and law school administrators in the wake of March 9 are of great concern to me.”

The latest development in the Stanford Law School shout-down of 5th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan has focues on the antics of Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach. I concluded that The Stanford Law School Culture, Not The Diversity Dean, Is The Problem (but I repeat myself).

Then things got worse when it was revealed Stanford Law Protester Screamed At Conservative Judge: “We hope your daughters get raped!”

The latest news is that the Diversity Dean is on leave, though the exact circumstances and terms are not known. That was revealed in a letter sent to the Stanford Law Community by Dean Jenny Martinez. You can read the full letter here. The main focus of the letter is to portray Stanford Law as the victim because of the negative reaction from the public:

As my message to you last week indicated, I had hoped to wait until after final exams concluded at the end of this week to offer any further comments on the disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan’s speech at a student Federalist Society event on March 9, 2023, and the school’s response to that disruption. However, continuing outside attention to these events, as well as the volume of hateful and even threatening messages directed at members of our community, have led me to conclude that a more immediate statement is necessary.

As we consider the role of respectful treatment of members of our community, I want to be clear that the hate mail and appalling invective that have been directed at some of our students and law school administrators in the wake of March 9 are of great concern to me. All actionable threats that come to our attention will be investigated and addressed as the law permits.

She then addressed the claim by some students that heckling and disruption was their own free speech:

Some of the protestors at last week’s event stayed within the bounds of permissible, non-disruptive counter-speech, while others crossed the line in sustained heckling that disrupted the event. Some students contend that the judge invited the heckling with offensive comments or engagement with protestors. These arguments misunderstand the nature of the disruption policy. The policy would not be meaningful to protect the carrying out of public events and the right of attendees to hear what is said if it applied only when a speaker said things protesters in an audience found agreeable. Nor does the fact that the speaker departs from their planned remarks and engages with the hecklers justify further heckling that disrupts the event. The Stanford disruption policy prohibits not just conduct that literally drowns out the speaker, but also that which “disrupt[s] the effective carrying out” of the event (emphasis added).

The President of the University and I have apologized to Judge Duncan for a very simple reason – to acknowledge that his speech was disrupted in ways that undermined his ability to deliver the remarks he wanted to give to audience members who wanted to hear them, as a result of the failure to ensure that the university’s disruption policies were followed. That apology, and the policy it defends, is fully consistent with the First Amendment and the Leonard Law.

The Stanford Dean rejected the claim that law schools as institutions must have a political position on issues. That is a common problem where institutional positions end up enforcing orthodoxy. It was a problem for me at Cornell Law School in June 2020 when the now-former Dean announced an institutional position against my criticism of the Black Lives Matter movement organizers and lead activists.

The Stanford Dean wrote:

At the same time, I want to set expectations clearly going forward: our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is not going to take the form of having the school administration announce institutional positions on a wide range of current social and political issues, make frequent institutional statements about current news events, or exclude or condemn speakers who hold views on social and political issues with whom some or even many in our community disagree. I believe that focus on these types of actions as the hallmark of an “inclusive” environment can lead to creating and enforcing an institutional orthodoxy that is not only at odds with our core commitment to academic freedom, but also that would create an echo chamber that ill prepares students to go out into and act as effective advocates in a society that disagrees about many important issues. Some students might feel that some points should not be up for argument and therefore that they should not bear the responsibility of arguing them (or even hearing arguments about them), but however appealing that position might be in some other context, it is incompatible with the training that must be delivered in a law school.

In concluding, the Dean announced that Steinbach is on leave, and the disrupting students will be re-educated not disciplined (emphasis in original):

In closing, I will address some issues that have been the subject of many inquiries from inside and outside the university,2 and then I will discuss what steps the law school is taking to ensure that these events are not repeated.

First, Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach is currently on leave. Generally speaking, the university does not comment publicly on pending personnel matters, and so I will not do so at this time. I do want to express concern over the hateful and threatening messages she has received as a result of viral online and media attention and reiterate that actionable threats that come to our attention will be investigated and addressed as the law permits. 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.

Second, with respect to the students involved in the protest, several factors lead me to conclude that what is appropriate here is mandatory educational programming for our student body rather than referring specific students for disciplinary sanction (which at Stanford is administered by the central university’s Office of Community Standards and involves a deliberate process including fact-finding and hearings)….

There were easily a hundred students in the room, however, and some individual students crossed the line into disruptive heckling while others engaged in constitutionally protected non-disruptive protest, such as holding signs or asking pointed questions. Even if we could come up with a fair process for identifying and distinguishing between the two categories of students consistent with First Amendment values, the particular circumstances of this event raise additional concerns. Given the sometimes uncertain boundary between permissible audience reactions and impermissible disruptions at an event, “a warning and a request that defendants curtail their conduct” before proceeding to sanction can in some circumstances be important in preventing a constitutionally impermissible chilling effect on speech. In re Kay, 464 P.2d at 152. Such an onsite warning might not be required in all cases, and students had been generally informed of the policy against disruptions (including by schoolwide email the morning of the event). In this instance, however, the failure by administrators in the room to timely administer clear and specific warnings and instead to send conflicting signals about whether what was happening was acceptable or not (and indeed at one point to seemingly endorse the disruptions that had occurred up to that point by saying “I look out and say I’m glad this is going on here”) is part of what created the problem in the room and renders disciplinary sanction in these particular circumstances problematic.

There will be a half-day all-school reducation program as well (emphasis in original):

Accordingly, as one first step the law school will be holding a mandatory half-day session in spring quarter for all students on the topic of freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession.

The question is how abject a failure Stanford Law School was in not providing the students with the proper education in the first place.


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Freedom of speech and legal norms aren’t even worth a full day.

It should be at least a semester, but do the Stanford Law activists have the attention span?

    Louis K. Bonham in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | March 22, 2023 at 5:23 pm


    Very weak sauce, and the failure to punish *any* of the students involved (who can easily be identified from all the videos out there) shows her words are empty.

    She could easily have hung a couple of peasants in the square. The fact that some got away would not have lessened the deterrent factor.

      You may surmise from the long-windedness of Dean Martin (blather is always a cover-up, in effect) that she is doing her best not to offend the student hecklers. Can’t afford to kick them out of Law School, either; the negative financial impact on the School would be too great, might cause some administrators to go without pay!

So instead of any actual discipline against the miscreants responsible for the melee, Stanford Law plans to hold some kind of empathy orientation sessions that are mandatory for everyone enrolled there – including the ones who already know how to behave themselves?

    txvet2 in reply to Dagwood. | March 22, 2023 at 3:52 pm

    That’s how they always do it – punish the innocent so that the guilty don’t feel singled out.

      coyote in reply to txvet2. | March 23, 2023 at 8:51 am

      Yes and no. All the students know who’s guilty. By punishing everyone, the innocent end up censuring the guilty by marginalizing them. No one likes assholes.

    Joseph K in reply to Dagwood. | March 22, 2023 at 5:52 pm

    They could send them all out in full gear for ten mile run; then let the ones not involved put the beatdown on the miscreants for making it happen.

E Howard Hunt | March 22, 2023 at 2:27 pm

The Dean could use a copy editor to deal with her mishmash of run-on sentences, misplaced modifiers and subject/verb agreement. Stanford is toast. After all the terrible publicity, it releases this abortion of a letter?

When the bully gets his/their way, you’re assured of only one thing. I will happen again and again. The left uses this tactic repeatedly. So too Muslims.

In other words they did the same thing they always do in these situations.

Put her on paid leave for a couple weeks until it blows over, say that they did some ‘training’, and then hope people just forget about it. Until the next time it happens.

On leave and refresher courses in North Korea.

So, even the polite students must submit to mandatory educational programming.

LukeHandCool | March 22, 2023 at 3:05 pm

The letter is very gently worded. Nevertheless, I hope the dean doesn’t end up in the cornfield.

>> The question is how abject a failure Stanford Law School was in not providing the students with the proper education in the first place. <<

Stanford is usually ranked as a top five law school. Ergo, Stanford Law students are the creme de la creme. They are, in general, from families that are the MOST privileged in society. They graduated near the top of the best undergrad schools. Before that many of them attended the best east coast boarding schools.

In short, they've been groomed their whole life for high status, prestigious positions. They've learned the proper language, manners, and social skills for their future stations.

They chose to ignore it all.

They don't need reeducating. They need psychiatrists to help them understand why they behaved like brats.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Groty. | March 22, 2023 at 5:08 pm

    Well, to be honest I think they should be reduced to plebian status and lose their Patrician status.

    Subotai Bahadur

I certainly hope someone records this “mandatory half-day session”. Reminds me of grade school when the teacher was too lazy to punish kids who misbehaved and made the whole class stay after school.

BierceAmbrose | March 22, 2023 at 3:57 pm

That response is better — less bad — than I expected.

Even so, it ain’t good that that response exceeds expectations.

I started to say “I despair”, but I don’t despair. I’m well past despair, wherever that puts me in the process: anger, denial, bargaining, depression, snarky bitchy making the best as in least-bad of a bad thing.

Sometimes the best result you can get comes from giving up all hope of winning. Weird, that. I do wonder what the world after the ashes will be like. Sorry to miss that, just out of curiosity.

I would bet that the “hate mail and appalling invective” is a very tiny subset of what is usually forked out by liberals, including those here that received anything. I bet they can still sleep in silence in their homes without protestors outside, dine out in peace, etc.

A half day re-education program for the students. Gulags? Back in the USSR.

Can I be put on indefinite paid administrative leave? A nice vacation in a sunny place would be nice about now.

John Sullivan | March 22, 2023 at 4:36 pm

On my first day of law school, during the week-long legal method course, the professor correctly informed us that, as of that day, we were deemed professionals. Accordingly, we would be treated as professionals and would be expected to act as professionals. It appears law schools no longer expect their student to act like professionals.. The next step probably will be the wtareing down of the character and fitness reviews so that no egregious conduct short of a felony conviction will preclude admission to a state’s bar. Rather than mature lawyers, we will get a bunch of spoiled baby lawyers who firebombing police cars duriung riots (Oh, wait…)

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to John Sullivan. | March 22, 2023 at 6:42 pm

    “ It appears law schools no longer expect their student to act like professionals.”

    Another example of the infantilization of the country.

    Back in the day, you had to make it until second year before professors would treat you like a member of the club. The difference from the year before was startling.

      John Sullivan in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | March 23, 2023 at 10:07 am

      The One-L year was still Socratic for the most part. We were not coddled.

      One piece of advice that professor gave us at that first class was if you get pulled over after having a few drinks, always decline the breathalizer. Losing your license for 6 months is a lot better than an a DUI conviction.

Even if we could come up with a fair process for identifying and distinguishing between the two categories of students consistent with First Amendment values

There’s copious HD video of the event. This is a smokescreen.

I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that training about how not to behave like jacobins.

FedSoc needs to man up and take care of their business. Salt some genuine brawlers in the crowd and let them take care of anyone who acts out. Busting up law school weenies should find easy takers for some cash and beer.

The dean is A problem; The people who hired her are THE problem.

I am in favor of sending these offending “students” to reeducation camps

This is actually better than I expected.
The DEI Dean who should have acted to hold students to the free speech policy literally encouraged them to break it. That could make it legal when going through the official disciplinary process to hold students accountable.
So, all students are required to go to the official half-day programming on the policy instead.
I’ll buck the trend and say this is a good thing.
1. The reason it is only a half-day, and not longer, is that the policy is simple. Simple statements are all that is needed.
2. This isn’t really about training these students. It is an official notice to them, like most training in corporate America that I’ve seen, that they have been informed. The reason they make everyone attend a session to hear things everyone already knows is to get everyone’s signature on a piece of paper saying they received that instruction. That makes the above-mentioned disciplinary procedures much smoother for the school to run on someone.

    Valerie in reply to SDWilson. | March 25, 2023 at 10:50 am

    Point taken. But mass punishment has become a hallmark of our entire educational system.

    This reaction will embolden the jerks, both on the faculty and in the student body. Unless there is a substantial change in the way the jerks behave, it will have to be deemed a failure. Will that happen? I suppose we will have to wait for the next obnoxious event.

If the J6 protestors had been “re-educated,” they would have been back home three years ago.

I counted at least five students in that dogpile who looked every bit as outrageous as the QAnon Shaman, and were twice as obstreporous.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair | March 22, 2023 at 10:51 pm

As far as I can tell, Stanford Law is a pathetic mockery of a law school run by complete retards.

“mandatory educational programming” … WTFF?

    Yeah. It was once referred to as common courtesy. There’s something wrong with Stanford’s recruiting process if it feels necessary to try teaching it to a bunch of early- to mid-twenty something year old students, never mind its deans.

How fitting, Communists have always loved their re-education.

If the Stanford Law school was truly apologetic, the Law School Dean (or even the University President) would sponsor Judge Duncan for another talk this year – perhaps even as the graduation speaker. The topic could be the value of the 1st Amendment – specifically the right of free speech.

I guess we’re way beyond what once passed for plain old fashioned courtesy and courteous behavior, the kind of stuff mom and dad taught at home when we octogenarians were children. So, so glad I’m not confronted with growing up, going to school, serving in the military, mating, raising children, and living in today’s world.

Phillygirl1807 | March 23, 2023 at 9:14 am

The whole incident was disgraceful.

Unfortunately, Stanford is just one of many colleges and universities where nonsense like this is occurring regularly. Just Google “Yale Law School disruptions” to see how students at our “elite” colleges behave whenever a speaker shows up who has more conservative leanings.

I blame much of this on DEI policies that have been adopted will-nilly without determining exactly what the role of DEI “professionals” should be. The students at these schools have been allowed to get away with awful, disrespectful behavior for years! There are no consequences for their antics, and they know it. It’s time for all of these schools to reassess how they admit students and what DEI really means.

Apparently, “diversity of thought” or “diversity of political position” are not considered part of DEI. I thought justice, and the training of future attorneys was supposed to be “color blind.”

Steven Brizel | March 23, 2023 at 9:45 am

A half day seminar is not a substitute for a full semeser course in basic constitutional law.

Lucifer Morningstar | March 23, 2023 at 9:47 am


The latest news is that the Diversity Dean is on leave, though the exact circumstances and terms are not known.

We all know what the exact “circumstances and terms” the Diversity Dean got for leave. She disappears (with pay) for an appropriate period of time until the controversy dies down and then will be quietly reinstated to her position with no further penalty for her actions.

The fact that these adults acted like children does not negate the fact that they are NOT CHILDREN and if they need to be “re-educated” – suggesting they need to be reprogrammed from brainwashing – who would ever want someone that easily swayed about proper behavior and also moral issues for their ATTORNEY???????

Re-education? What garbage!

Who will deliver the “re-education”? Another Wokester for whom the freedom of speech is merely freedom to mouth obscenities in public, but for whom EmCeePeeCee lockstep thinking is de rigeur; the sort of people who have the “science is real-love is love-choose civility signs on their front yards, but who doxx people who call Bruce Jenner a eunuch in drag rather than a woman, and call for the harrassment of such doubters of the current GroupThink. The “woke” (actually, in the depths of dogmatic slumber) students need to have the Islamic Republic of Eastern Turkistan Flag tattooed on their foreheads and then dropped in front of the main People’s Armed Police facility in Urumqi, Xinjiang–or deported to North Korea.

    Ima_Uzer in reply to Kepha H. | March 27, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    We need to not necessarily celebrate, or giggle about, the “re-education”. Remember: The tables could very easily turn.

I am very strongly on Duncan’s side on this, but there are few cases where the score is 100-0, so I will make two contrary points.

1. Given that 150+ Stanford Law students “protested” the dean’s apology by wearing black masks and plastering her office with flyers, I think the mandatory lecture is appropriate. She needs to say it, and they need to hear it. Clearly, the rot at that school runs deep.

2. Duncan erred by allowing himself to be baiting into calling one student an “appalling idiot,” even if he is exactly that. I quote the old warning against wrestling a pig; regardless of the outcome, both the pig and the wrestler get dirty. He could have made the same point by using different yet colorful language.

Do NOT confuse my points above with sympathy for those students, approval of the “DEI” moron-ette, or approval of a heckler’s veto. Quite the contrary. I’ll leave it at that right now because I have errands to do.