STANFORD, California (LifeSiteNews) — A Stanford University dean has reportedly faced intimidation from students after she issued a joint apology with the institution’s president for the treatment of a conservative judge who was heckled, shouted down, and lectured by an administrator when he attempted to deliver a talk to the prestigious university’s law students.
Jenny Martinez, Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School, the second-ranked law school in the U.S., reportedly walked into the classroom to teach her first-year constitutional law class on Monday only to be met with opposition and intimidation from students.
According to a report by the Washington Free Beacon, Martinez discovered her whiteboard and desk covered with printouts of defiant statements from students who claimed Martinez was undercutting their free speech by apologizing for their behavior in heckling a guest speaker.
After class, hundreds of students clad in black and wearing face masks emblazoned with the message “counter-speech is free speech” formed a “makeshift walk of shame,” the outlet reported, lining the hallway silently staring down Martinez and those students who chose not to participate in the demonstration.
“It didn’t feel like the inclusive, belonging atmosphere that the DEI office claims to be creating,” Luke Schumacher, a first-year law student in Martinez’s class who didn’t engage in the protest, told the Free Beacon.
According to the report, Monday’s protest came after “a flurry of open letters from student activists, who spent much of the weekend berating Martinez.”
The students’ opposition to Martinez follows a classroom disturbance that made international headlines last week when Trump-appointed Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan, a conservative Catholic, arrived on campus Thursday at the invitation of the Federalist Society to give a talk at the prestigious and left-wing California university.
Duncan’s attempts to deliver remarks to the student were stymied when noisy hecklers shouted him down, with some calling him a “scumbag” and a “liar” and at least one making a vulgar sexual reference.
When Duncan attempted to call in an administrator to restore order, Stanford diversity dean Tirien Steinbach arrived and took the side of the disruptive students, proceeding to lecture the federal judge about his alleged errors.
Some of Duncan’s judicial opinions and behavior that have sparked outrage, include his 2015 filing of an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court opposing the federal enshrining of same-sex “marriage,” and his refusal in 2020 to use preferred female pronouns in court to refer to a man who pleaded guilty to attempted receipt of child pornography.
Duncan has also defended Christian craft chain Hobby Lobby’s right not to cover contraception, abortion, and sterilization in its employee healthcare plans.
During her Thursday tirade, Stanford’s diversity dean told Duncan he was “tearing the fabric of this community” by delivering his remarks and berated him for his judicial opinions that she characterized as “absolute disenfranchisement.”
In a March 11 letter, Martinez and Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Ph.D., jointly apologized for the way Duncan had been treated by Steinbach as well as the students.
“As has already been communicated to our community, what happened was inconsistent with our policies on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus,” Martinez and Tessier-Lavigne wrote.
“Our disruption policy states that students are not allowed to ‘prevent the effective carrying out’ of a ‘public event’ whether by heckling or other forms of interruption. In addition, staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech,” the letter read.
The officials added that they will be “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” and affirmed that “[f]reedom of speech is a bedrock principle for the law school, the university, and a democratic society, and we can and must do better to ensure that it continues even in polarized times.”
Duncan has accepted the apology and urged the university to similarly apologize to the members of the Federalist Society on campus.
Meanwhile, some Stanford students are arguing that the president and dean didn’t go far enough with their apology, pointing out that the administrator who took the side of the disruptive students remains in her job.
“If Stanford cares about free speech, it must fire any administrator who actively encourages these unruly actions against it,” students Josiah Joner, Thomas Adamo, and Walker Stewart wrote in an article titled “Fire Tirien Steinbach” for The Stanford Review.
According to the students, “Steinbach’s actions not only degrade the principles of free speech but degrade the prestige and reputation of Stanford Law School itself.”