Stanford Law Dean of DEI on leave after failing to uphold free speech policy

In an absolutely refreshing (and quite heartening) turn of events, Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez released a statement in which she firmly stands by her decision to apologize on behalf of the school to Judge Kyle Duncan. The Dean, in a ten-page letter to the Stanford Law community, also announced that Diversity, Equity,and Inclusion Dean Tirien Steinbach has been placed on leave:

If you’re not familiar with the backstory on this, Judge Kyle Duncan was invited to speak by the Stanford chapter of the Federalist Society. His speech was drowned out by student hecklers, and the administrator in the room didn’t exactly help matters:

The full statement outlining the defense of the apology and the plan to prevent future disruptions is here, and it’s well-worth a read, but this excerpt makes it pretty clear that the Dean Martinez means business:

In the message below, I respond below to many of the questions I continue to receive about
why I apologized to Judge Duncan, why I stand by that apology, and why the protest violated
the university’s policy on disruption. I articulate how I believe our commitment to diversity
and inclusion means that we must protect the expression of all views. And, I outline some of
the steps the school will be taking in the wake of this incident, including the adoption of
clearer protocols for managing disruptions and educational programming on free speech and
norms of the legal profession.

It’s a bit disconcerting that we’re at the point that we have to cheer when the Dean of a law school stands up for free speech, but we’ll take it.

Here’s hoping this is a trend in the right direction.


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