Stanford University: Viewpoint-Discriminatory Funding Retraction, Massive Security Fees for Student Group’s Conference

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Stanford University

On March 5, 2014, Stanford University’s Graduate Student Council revoked $600 in funding that it had previously approved for the Stanford Anscombe Society’s (SAS’s) upcoming conference on marriage and “sexual integrity.” The funding was retracted following complaints by Stanford students alleging that the conference promoted discrimination and would lead to an unsafe environment for LGBT students. Stanford additionally ordered SAS to pay $5,600 for security requested by the university. FIRE wrote to Stanford and its student government on March 20, explaining that the GSC’s blatant viewpoint discrimination is irreconcilable with the university’s obligations to protect to free speech. FIRE has demanded that the revoked funding be restored and that that the security fees levied by the university on SAS be eliminated.

  • Stanford ‘finds funds’ for pro-family conference after fight with conservative student group

    March 24, 2014

    by Kaitlyn Schallhorn at Campus Reform Stanford’s Anscombe Society had funding for its conservative conference withdrawn by the graduate student council at the behest of LGBT groups. The university told the Anscombe Society that they could still hold an event if they paid a $5,600 security fee. Stanford now says it will foot the bill for security. Stanford University has “found the funds” to pay for a 10-person security detail for a student organization’s upcoming conservative conference after initially asking the group to front thousands of dollars just two weeks prior to the event. Between a last minute retraction of funding and imposing […]

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  • Stanford to fund anti-marriage equality event after claims of censorship

    March 24, 2014

    by  James Hardy at Deseret News National After complaints that Stanford University was at risk of violating students’ First Amendment protections, school administrators agreed to pay the high cost of security for a controversial student-organized conference titled “Communicating Values” taking place next month. The student group organizing the April conference, Stanford Anscombe Society, describes the event as a chance to “engage in intellectual and civil discourse about the issues of marriage, family and sexual integrity.” The American Conservative reported that the event will promote ideas in opposition to marriage equality for all sexual orientations, which is a hot-button topic on the Stanford campus. […]

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  • Stanford gives up on using ‘security costs’ to cancel conservative students event

    March 22, 2014

    By Joel Gehrke at Red Alert Politics Conservative students at Stanford University won’t have to pay thousands of dollars in “security costs” to host an event on traditional marriage views, as the administration reversed course after the student group accused them of trying to tax free speech. Stanford made it sound as if the policy change took place after administration officials found unexpected $20 bills in their laundry. “Hi everyone. Found more funds to subsidize the full cost of the security, ” Nanci Howe, Associate Dean of Students and Director of Student Activities and Leadership, wrote in a Thursday email to the […]

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  • Did Stanford’s Student Government Break the Law?

    July 3, 2014

    This past spring, the Stanford Constitutional Council—the judicial arm of the student government, bound by a student constitution that essentially restates the First Amendment—made a remarkable pronouncement: “We do not feel compelled,” the four Stanford undergraduates on the panel declared in a ruling, “to follow the precedents set by the Supreme Court of the United States of America.”

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  • Stanford Student Government Steamrolls Club, Ignores Promises on Free Speech

    June 2, 2014

    STANFORD, Calif., June 2, 2014—In the wake of its heavily criticized, viewpoint-based retraction of funding to the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) student group for a conference on traditional values and marriage, Stanford University’s student government has ruled that the government’s Graduate Student Council (GSC) did not violate the group’s rights under Stanford rules. Additionally, the student government maintains that there is “simply not enough money” to fulfill requests for funding such as SAS’s request for $600—despite the fact that the student government has amassed a “Graduate buffer fund” of more than half a million dollars.

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  • Stanford Covers Security Fee, But Viewpoint Discrimination Remains

    March 21, 2014

    FIRE received word yesterday evening that Stanford would cover the costs of security after all. As SAS announced, it was informed via email that the university had “[f]ound more funds to subsidize the full cost of the security”—a lucky break, given that Stanford is only a “$4.8 billion enterprise.”

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  • When Campus Intolerance Means Free Speech Gets Torn Up and Run Over, Literally

    March 21, 2014

    Being offended is what happens when you have your deepest beliefs challenged. And if you make it through four years of college without having your deepest beliefs challenged, you should demand your money back. I have been saying that line in speeches on campus for more than a decade. Even though it often gets a laugh, the idea that students have an overarching “right not to be offended” seems more entrenched on campus than ever.

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  • FIRE to Stanford: End Viewpoint Discrimination Against ‘Sexual Integrity’ Group

    March 20, 2014

    FIRE today wrote Stanford University President John Hennessy and the school’s Graduate Student Council to protest the $5,600 “security fee” charged by the university to the Stanford Anscombe Society student group for its upcoming “Communicating Values: Marriage, Family, and the Media” conference, as well as the student government’s viewpoint-based refusal to provide partial funding for the conference.

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  • Stanford Student Group Denied Funding for Conference on Family Issues

    March 14, 2014

    Last week, the Stanford University Graduate Student Council (GSC) denied a request from a student group, the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS), for $600 to bring speakers to a conference on marriage and family issues. Critics of the event—including GradQ, an LGBT group for Stanford graduate students—objected to SAS’s decision to invite several speakers who advocate against same-sex marriage. Campus newspaper The Stanford Daily reports that GradQ members said the speaker list was “inappropriately controversial.”

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