Stanford Debates Free Speech After Flyers Supporting Law Enforcement Are Torn Down As Hate Speech

ANTI-ICEPRO-ICEAccording to Stanford University students, one of these flyers is a public service and one is hate speech.  There is a controversy at Stanford University reported by College Fix over the distribution of the flyer on the right — a satirical jab at posters encouraging students and faculty to report any ICE activity.  It is clearly satirical and political, but some Stanford students declared it to be hate speech and filed complaints with the university that they now felt unsafe and threatened on campus. The flyers were removed by residential staff. 


In a column for the Stanford Review, student Isaac Kipust  discusses the incident.  To the credit of Stanford, it belatedly saw the free speech implications of its actions.  Lead Residence Dean Lisa De La Cruz-Caldera eventually concluded that such posting are expressions of political viewpoints and should not have been taken down. However, the university has not announced any discipline for those who destroyed the posters.We have discussed the courageous stand of the University of Chicago in favor of free speech (a position followed by schools like Purdue).  Nevertheless, free speech is being rapidly diminished on our campuses as an ever-widening scope of speech has been declared hate speech or part of the ill-defined “microaggression.”

This is an example of how students today believe that they have a right to be protected from opposing views and values — declaring any opposing statements to be “hate speech” or threatening conduct.  There is a growing number of schools that reinforce and even encourage such objections — often targeting conservative students and faculty.

In my view, both posters are free speech and express political and associational rights.


One concern is that anti-free speech activities are rarely punished when faculty or students target conservatives. We have been discussing how faculty around the country are supporting the abandonment of free speech principles to bar speakers and speech with which they disagree. The most extreme form of this rejection of classical liberal values is the antifa movement.  We have seen faculty physically attack speakers or destroy messages that they oppose.  We have also seen faculty physically attacked and intimidated.  In some of these incidents, other faculty have supported students in shutting down speakers or fellow academics (here and here).

Cruz-Caldera has promised to look into a new policy to address such vandalism (though clearly will not punish the vandals).  Of course, there was a preexisting “policy” that once defined our schools. It was called free speech.

27 thoughts on “Stanford Debates Free Speech After Flyers Supporting Law Enforcement Are Torn Down As Hate Speech”

  1. I’m Isaac kipust. You got some of the facts of the story wrong. 1. I asked to attend the meeting with the associate dean. 2. Residential staff not students took down my flyers.

  2. There is a blog out on the web which someone accuses the Stanford President of having had sex with a cow back when he was in college. Part of a frat boy prank. Is this true? Chimne in if you know.

  3. The students who tore down the posters and threatened the student who posted them should be punished according to the rules of the school. The Dean who called the student before him to explain his free speech should face some consequence for his poor handling of the situation.

    It’s really simply. You explain to students that myriad opinions will be found at universities – religious, political, cultural, or otherwise. Students will be expected to tolerate different opinions, and fighting with other students based on content bias is not allowed.

    When did college students lose the ability to debate a position? When did they need to be protected from opposing ideas for the sake of their mental health? That is not adult.

    People who voice support for unfettered illegal immigration, and who oppose ICE, are just as welcome to state their case as those who rationally support the law. It’s just talking.

    1. Content bias against anyone who isn’t far Left on university campuses has got to stop. It is anathema to higher reasoning in education.

  4. Do actual, real students at Standford or Cal-Berkeley behave this way or are these radical, democrat-paid demonstrators-for-hire?

    What’s the GPA of rioters-of-higher-learning?

  5. Reblogged this on The Inquiring Mind and commented:
    Another example of how free speech is eroded through people choosing to be offended and how the term hate speech is used to oppress views other than those of the offended

  6. I am surprised the administration, even at Stanford, got satire. Maybe someone explained it to them? The fact that they are not going after the other students is telling and sets a double standard. Those students (who don’t recognize satire) will strike again.

    1. Jonathan Swift is a dead “Caucasoid” European guy and thus tossed upon the burn heap. These students are consequently incapable of identifying satire.

      1. Prairie Rose – so is Ben Jonson. However, someone got a classical education. 😉

        1. Paul, ..
          -Have you heard of, or read, Bill Ayres “Teaching Social Justice”?
          There’s been recent frequent mention on other JT threads about a guy….he’s been dead for 10 years, and I’ve never heard of him and don’t recall his name….with an evil oligarchical plot to influence education.
          I HAVE heard of “Weather Underground” Bill Ayres, and his objectives and efforts in shaping how students are taught.

        2. Paul S.,
          You are quite correct. However, if I had named more than one great ‘Caucasoid’ European satirist I would guilty of encouraging the reading of the Canon! Egad! 😉

  7. Bravo, Jon. There’s a reason it’s in the first amendment, and those Targeting it know it. As far as the kids go, I can understand this is a misguided attempt at making themselves feel better, so clearly someone did a terrible job explaining actual threat vs. imagined threat to them, and to be fair that’s on the parents, not the universities. What would it be like if kids showed up to college confident and curious, if green, to begin with (as they did pre-millennial)? The administration would be in a very different position, methinks. This is straight-up userous and transparent, it’s about tenure and $$$ on the part of admins and staff.

  8. Back in December, J H Kunstler wrote a piece for the American Conservative. It makes this relevant point:

    The universities beget a class of what Nassim Taleb prankishly called “intellectuals-yet-idiots,” hierophants trafficking in fads and falsehoods, conveyed in esoteric jargon larded with psychobabble in support of a therapeutic crypto-gnostic crusade bent on transforming human nature to fit the wished-for utopian template of a world where anything goes. In fact, they have only produced a new intellectual despotism worthy of Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot.

    In case you haven’t been paying attention to the hijinks on campus—the attacks on reason, fairness, and common decency, the kangaroo courts, diversity tribunals, assaults on public speech and speakers themselves—here is the key take-away: it’s not about ideas or ideologies anymore; it’s purely about the pleasures of coercion, of pushing other people around. Coercion is fun and exciting! In fact, it’s intoxicating, and rewarded with brownie points and career advancement. It’s rather perverse that this passion for tyranny is suddenly so popular on the liberal left.

    Until fairly recently, the Democratic Party did not roll that way. It was right-wing Republicans who tried to ban books, censor pop music, and stifle free expression. If anything, Democrats strenuously defended the First Amendment, including the principle that unpopular and discomforting ideas had to be tolerated in order to protect all speech. Back in in 1977 the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march for their cause (National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43).

    The new and false idea that something labeled “hate speech”—labeled by whom?—is equivalent to violence floated out of the graduate schools on a toxic cloud of intellectual hysteria concocted in the laboratory of so-called “post-structuralist” philosophy, where sundry body parts of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Judith Butler, and Gilles Deleuze were sewn onto a brain comprised of one-third each Thomas Hobbes, Saul Alinsky, and Tupac Shakur to create a perfect Frankenstein monster of thought. It all boiled down to the proposition that the will to power negated all other human drives and values, in particular the search for truth. Under this scheme, all human relations were reduced to a dramatis personae of the oppressed and their oppressors, the former generally “people of color” and women, all subjugated by whites, mostly males. Tactical moves in politics among these self-described “oppressed” and “marginalized” are based on the credo that the ends justify the means (the Alinsky model).

    There is more at the link, and the article is worth a read.

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  9. Bring back the draft, a number of these morons don’t belong in college. They find themselves in college because they are a part of a gender or minority group that the college must admit.

    1. What makes you think the military wants them. Draftees are more trouble than they are worth and as a 24 year veteran of infantry that draft law needs to be repealed. If something is worth fighting for enough will come forward and if enough do not it isn’t worth fighting for period. The draft is the haven of the left and their place of refuge. In modern history only Charles Wrangel supported it openly AND tried to advocate mandatory military as some kind of baby sitting social service. You want to flush money down at very bad smelling toilet use the draft for social purposes and watch the dollars disappear with nothing to show for it.

      And it’s NOT constitutional no matter what Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Truman, LBJ etc. advocated. The imperial Presidents were looking for a way to man a schutzstaffel and nothing more. I did not list everyone Nixon was another one. and Obama as well.

      1. I’m not a 24 year vet but I am a combat vet with disabilities. I can tell you I’ve seen a number of men who took this nation for granted and changed their ways and attitude after two years of service. There will never be a greater educator then a US DI. I’ll bow to your 24 years of service and ask you what’s the answer?

  10. I used to put up small stick-em posters advocating for legalization of cannabis. I regularly had them taken down and torn up by right-wing nutjobs. At least they didn’t cry and act threatened at the sight. Bottom line: most USAnians support the 1st amendment when asked, but not in their daily lives. Idiots.

  11. “In a column for the Stanford Review, Kipust discusses the incident. To the credit of Stanford, it belatedly saw the free speech implications of its actions. Lead Residence Dean Lisa De La Cruz-Caldera eventually concluded that such posting are expressions of political viewpoints and should not have been taken down.”

    Where do I contribute to make more of these posters?

  12. Just more crackdown on free speech. When you live a dead-end philosophy, you have to stop any debate. The firemen will be busy soon.

  13. Add Stanford to the growing list of universities that hiring managers would be wise to avoid. Anyone hire someome from MIssouri or Berkley recently?

  14. Are opposing sides to an issue equally vaild? Who should decide which is valid and which is not? Should everyone decide for themselves? Must all view points be given equal time? Should majority rule? . As Professor Turley suggests, we should err on the side of free speech…..and individual relativism where resulting harm is debatable.

  15. Maybe, just maybe, the majority of climate change can be attributed to the ever increasing amounts of snowflakes that have been plaguing society the last generation.

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