“The first step is to remind our students and colleagues that those who hold views contrary to one’s own are rarely evil or stupid, and may know or understand things that we do not. It is only when we start with this assumption that rational discourse can begin, and that the winds of freedom can blow."
From Our Latest Newsletters
March 24, 2023
More About Recent Events at Stanford Law School
We have posted here some links to articles regarding recent events at Stanford Law School.
More About the Ballooning Administrative Costs at Stanford
We have added to our Stanford Concerns webpage some additional charts and articles about the ballooning administrative costs at Stanford.
From The Free Press – Stanford’s War Against Its Own Students
We have also posted at our Stanford Concerns webpage a recent article that raises concerns about Stanford’s Office of Community Standards and related administrative units, including their involvement in cases involving residential education, student discipline, the Katie Meyer suicide and other items.
Some Other Comments and Opinions
As a reminder, we have received a number of other comments and opinions from law school and other alumni expressing their concerns about recent events at Stanford, and we have posted some of those comments and opinions on a new Reader Comments page. Quote “Those who strike down free speech aren’t liberators; they’re oppressive (even when they silence powerful men). And when aspiring lawyers act oppressively, they don’t just undermine liberty; they undermine the very profession they seek to join.” -- David French in NY Times
March 19, 2023
Back to Basics at Stanford
We’ve updated our Back to Basics at Stanford white paper to recommend that every dollar that is saved by the suggested reductions in administrative staff and related overhead (salaries, benefits, other contract and overhead costs) should be devoted solely to scholarships, research grants and independent projects for undergraduates and to graduate student fellowships. We also have
suggested that the administration should publish a monthly or quarterly summary of the reductions that have been made and the amounts thus redirected solely to these undergraduate and graduate student programs. See also our prior posting about Stanford's ballooning administrative costs at our Stanford Concerns page. Commentary from Former Law School Dean Paul Brest We have posted at our Reader Comments page a commentary received from former law school dean Paul Brest saying that Stanford’s 1974 statement on academic freedom covers the recent concerns and why adoption of the Chicago Principles is not necessary. Stanford’s Role in Censoring Social Media and the Internet Matt Taibbi’s most recent release about the Twitter files is entitled, “Stanford, the Virality Project, and the Censorship of True Stories.” (https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1636729166631432195.html). Some Other Comments and Opinions We have received a number of other comments and opinions from law school and other alumni expressing their concerns about recent events at Stanford, and we have posted some of those comments and opinions on our new Reader Comments page. ******** “The fastest way for a great research university to lapse into mediocrity is to curtail in any way the relentless debate and discussion that alone can bring about scientific and social progress. Unless Stanford wants to take up the retrograde role of the inquisitors who silenced Galileo, it needs a course correction. Now.” -- American Council of Trustees and Alumni
Comments and Questions from Our Readers
See more reader comments on our Reader Comments page.
The Chicago Principles are Unnecessary and Inadequate for Stanford from former law school dean Paul Brest
Some Stanford faculty and an alumni group have urged the University to adopt the University of Chicago’s 2014 statement on academic freedom, the Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression, known as the “Chicago principles.”
See full comment on Reader Comments page
Concerns About Shoutdowns
I think this kind of atmosphere [Stanford Law School speaker shoutdown event] must have been present on campuses in Germany from 1918-1933. lliberal liberalism merges seamlessly into its opposite.
Question About Ties to the Alumni Association
Q. I notice that the SAA website contains no links to the Stanford Alumni for Free Speech and Critical Thinking. Why is that?
A. Our website is not linked at the SAA website since we intentionally did not seek to become an affiliate of SAA. Among other things, we wanted to maintain independence, including since SAA became a subsidiary of the university in the mid-1990’s. That said, there are a number of current and former Stanford administrators and trustees who receive our newsletters and read the materials that are posted at the website.
Stanford Alumni for Free Speech and Critical Thinking is an independent, diverse, and nonpartisan group of Stanford alumni committed to promoting and safeguarding freedom of thought and expression, intellectual diversity and inclusion, and academic freedom at Stanford.
We believe innovation and positive change for the common good is achieved through free and active discourse from varying viewpoints, the freedom to question both popular and unpopular opinions, and the freedom to seek truth without fear of reprisal from those who disagree, within the confines of humanity and mutual respect.
Our goal is to support students, faculty, administrators, and staff in efforts that assure the Stanford community is truly inclusive as to what can be said in and outside the classroom, the kinds of speakers that can be invited, and what should always be the core principles of a great university like Stanford. We also advocate that Stanford incorporates the Chicago Principles, the gold standard for freedom of speech and expression at college and university campuses, and that Stanford abides by these principles in both its policies and its actions.