Stanford University: Law Students, Administrator Disrupt Federalist Society Event Featuring 5th Circuit Judge


Stanford University

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Case Overview

FIRE Victory closed

On March 9, 2023, Fifth Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan attempted to speak at a Federalist Society-organized event at Stanford Law School when dozens of protesters heckled him, preventing him from finishing his remarks. A DEI administrator also took over Duncan’s podium with prepared remarks questioning whether Stanford’s commitment to free speech is worthwhile. The next day, FIRE wrote Stanford expressing concern for the university’s capitulation to the heckler’s veto and for Steinbach’s pro-censorship remarks. Later that day, Stanford Law Dean Jenny Martinez released a statement to all law students stating, “The way this event unfolded was not aligned with our institutional commitment to freedom of speech.” Martinez and Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne also publicly apologized to Duncan. On March 22, amid criticism of both the shoutdown and of Dean Martinez’s apology, she released a 10-page memo articulating strong support of free speech in higher education, in which she announced Stanford Law had placed the DEI administrator on leave and would mandate a half-day training dedicated to free speech for all students during the current semester.