Stanford Speaks

Universities are a fundamental force of good in the world. At their best, they mine knowledge and understanding, wisdom and insight, and then freely distribute these treasures to society at large. Theirs is not a monopoly on this undertaking, but in the concentration of effort and single-mindedness of purpose, they are truly unique institutions. If Aristotle is right that what defines a human is rationality, then they are the most distinctive, perhaps the pinnacle, of human endeavors. I share this thought to remind us all why we do what we do – why we care so much about Stanford and what it represents. But I also say it to voice a concern. Universities are under attack, both from outside and from within. The threat from outside is apparent. Potential cuts in federal funding would diminish our research enterprise and our ability to fund graduate education. Taxing endowments would limit the support we can give to faculty and the services we can provide our students. Indiscriminate travel restrictions would impede the free exchange of ideas and scholars. All of these threats have intensified in recent years – and recent months have given them a reality that is hard to ignore. But I’m actually more worried about the threat from within. Over the years, I have watched a growing intolerance at universities in this country – not intolerance along racial or ethnic or gender lines – there, we have made laudable progress. Rather, a kind of intellectual intolerance, a political one-sidedness, that is the antithesis of what universities should stand for. It manifests itself in many ways: in the intellectual monocultures that have taken over certain disciplines; in the demands to disinvite speakers and outlaw groups whose views we find offensive; in constant calls for the university itself to take political stands. We decry certain news outlets as echo chambers, while we fail to notice the echo chamber we’ve built around ourselves. This results in a kind of intellectual blindness that will, in the long run, be more damaging to universities than cuts in federal funding or ill-conceived constraints on immigration. It will be more damaging because we won’t even see it: We will write off those with opposing views as evil or ignorant or stupid, rather than as interlocutors worthy of consideration. We succumb to the all-purpose ad hominem because it is easier and more comforting than rational argument. But when we do, we abandon what is great about this institution we serve. It will not be easy to resist this current. As an institution, we are continually pressed by faculty and students to take political stands, and any failure to do so is perceived as a lack of courage. But at universities today, the easiest thing to do is to succumb to that pressure. What requires real courage is to resist it. Yet when those making the demands can only imagine ignorance and stupidity on the other side, any resistance will be similarly impugned. The university is not a megaphone to amplify this or that political view, and when it does it violates a core mission. Universities must remain open forums for contentious debate, and they cannot do so while officially espousing one side of that debate. But we must do more. We need to encourage real diversity of thought in the professoriate, and that will be even harder to achieve. It is hard for anyone to acknowledge high-quality work when that work is at odds, perhaps opposed, to one’s own deeply held beliefs. But we all need worthy opponents to challenge us in our search for truth. It is absolutely essential to the quality of our enterprise. I fear that the next few years will be difficult to navigate. We need to resist the external threats to our mission, but in this, we have many friends outside the university willing and able to help. But to stem or dial back our academic parochialism, we are pretty much on our own. 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.

  • John Etchemendy: ‘The Threat From Within’

  • Marc Tessier-Lavigne: 'Remarks on Our Campus Climate for Discussing Divergent Views'

  • John Hennessy: 'The True Test of Free Speech'

  • Gerhard Casper: 'Die Luft der Freiheit Weht - On and Off'

  • Gerhard Casper: 'Statement on Corry vs. Stanford University'

  • Gerhard Casper: 'Concerning Culture and Cultures'

Stanford_University_Main_Quad_-_7_June_2009_(cropped) (1).jpg

I would like to address the nature of the conversations and discussions we have in our university community. Over the past several months, including in recent days, the provost and I have heard repeatedly from people of varied perspectives in our university community expressing concern that others, who hold different views from their own, are engaging in speech that intimidates, or silences, or otherwise harms people. We’ve heard these concerns from students, and also from faculty and staff. Sometimes, it has to do with an incident that has occurred on social media. In other cases, it’s about something that has occurred in a class or in our community at large. The concerns come from people on all sides of the political spectrum, and different issues have had often very different levels of visibility to the broader community. These concerns are fundamentally about the climate we have in our community for the discussion of divergent views. What I would like to express today has two parts: First, free expression is essential to the life of the university. Second, what is legally permissible to say is not necessarily the same as what we should aspire to as an intellectual community. We should seek a higher level of discourse than we sometimes see at Stanford. Several years ago, Persis and I posted a piece on the web, titled “Advancing free speech and inclusion,” that explained our approach to these issues. First, as a university, we deeply value free expression. The ability to express a broad diversity of ideas and viewpoints is fundamental to the university’s mission of seeking truth through research and education, and to preparing students for a world in which they will engage with diverse points of view every day. The administration is not the speech police; on the contrary, we seek to facilitate the exchange of a broad diversity of ideas. Second, when there is speech or conduct that someone objects to, we have processes in the university for reviewing specific complaints and determining if the action violates university policy. It’s important to understand that the bar is high for determining that speech has violated our policies. For instance, under the Leonard Law in California, the university cannot discipline students for speech that is protected by the First Amendment. The speech must meet a high legal threshold for unprotected speech, such as establishing a clear physical threat toward a specific individual. But the fact that one is free to say something in a particular way doesn’t mean that one should. This is a choice each of us has to make. And I believe, as a university, we should seek a high standard for the quality of discussion and debate in our community. Actions aimed not at engaging with and debating ideas but rather at suppressing them, including using social media to name-call or shame those with particular views – these go counter to what is needed to foster the open inquiry that our mission calls for. As president, I cannot mandate that people engage with each other in respectful ways, and the university cannot sanction people for what they say, absent a finding in a university process of the kind I mentioned. But I can champion respectful engagement; and I believe it is critical to this university that we are able to hear views and perspectives from across the ideological spectrum, and that we are able to engage with and debate those views in constructive ways. As members of this community, we will disagree on many things. We also have much to learn from one another and our differing views. Our common humanity should compel us to honor the dignity of one another as members of this community, even as we disagree. We also should value and model reasoned, fact-based discussion. It will produce deeper understanding, more learning from one another, more receptivity to the viewpoints we are seeking to advance, and a greater capacity to adjust our preconceptions in light of new information. I believe it is the kind of discussion our broader world needs, as well.

jeremy-bezanger-Fsjs5NS-QLw-unsplash.jpg

The word university derives from a Latin term that essentially means “combined into one.” This centuries-old notion that many disciplines come together to form a whole is still at the center of how we understand the mission and life of Stanford and other great universities. I believe that this combining within the university goes beyond a mixing of disciplines. A university is also a mingling of scholars, experts and novices, from different backgrounds and with different values. It is a blending of scholarly approaches, experimental and theoretical. A university often hosts a rainbow of viewpoints on the most topical issues of the day. One goal of this amalgamation is to encourage all members of the community to think creatively and rigorously and to use the interplay of scholarly commentary to sharpen their insights. The exchange of contending and supporting ideas generated by insightful and engaged minds makes the position of university president one of the most interesting jobs in the world. The combination of intelligent, creative people and contentious issues can also be a volatile mix in any community, and perhaps especially so in a tightly knit intellectual community. It is very much in keeping with Jane and Leland Stanford’s original vision of the University that such issues would be part of the academic conversation. But what happens when the debate inspired by these issues is accompanied by passionate beliefs and widely divergent points of view? This year, in particular, the question has proved to be far more than hypothetical. Since students returned in September, a host of political and social issues have emerged, many of them affecting Stanford: the conflict in Israel and the occupied territories, the prospect of war with Iraq, terrorism and civil liberties, and affirmative action, to name a few. While the debates around some of these issues bring out the best thinking in people, they also engender strong feelings that can make civil intellectual exchange difficult. In fall quarter, for example, two speakers with disparate perspectives on world events addressed the Stanford community during the same week. The former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, MS ’79, spoke to a capacity audience at Memorial Auditorium. A few days later, poet and activist Amiri Baraka spoke before a group at Kresge Auditorium. Without comparing or equating these men, I can say they both elicited strong support from some and criticism from others. In the week prior to their speeches, there had been heated debate about their respective opinions and experiences, as well as whether each individual “deserved” to speak at Stanford. In advance of the speakers’ arrival, I wrote a letter to the Stanford community to reaffirm the principle of open, diverse and mutually respectful dialogue, especially on the controversial and difficult issues facing our nation and our world. My letter drew from the memorial service for Stanford’s renowned constitutional scholar Gerald Gunther, held just a few weeks earlier. At that service, President Emeritus Gerhard Casper recalled some of Professor Gunther’s most powerful words. “University campuses,” Gunther wrote, “should exhibit greater, not less, freedom of expression than prevails in society at large. . . .” In my letter, I recalled Professor Gunther’s words and reminded all members of the community of the importance of civil dialogue and freedom of expression, no matter how strongly they might disagree with a speaker. The speeches of Mr. Barak and Mr. Baraka brought us face to face with the often-repeated insight about free speech: defending the right of others to speak freely is easy when you agree with them, but the true test of the principle comes when it requires defending the rights of those espousing ideas directly in conflict with your own beliefs. The commitment to free and open speech runs deep at Stanford and is conveyed in the University’s motto, “The wind of freedom blows.” I am proud to say that both speakers were heard without interruption that week, and I was equally proud of the insightful and provocative questions posed to the speakers by Stanford students. The interactions between speakers and intelligent questioners demonstrated that civil dialogue does not inhibit the exploration of controversial issues or the ability of a questioner to challenge a speaker’s views. Instead, an open and civil debate encourages thoughtful and illuminating interchange. I sincerely believe that the challenging issues we face in the coming months will provide an opportunity for the Stanford community to show our fellow citizens that important and contentious questions can be addressed in a way that embraces the best values of free speech and academic freedom in a democratic society.

ashim-d-silva-nPCS-0i1ouU-unsplash.jpg

Every so often, Stanford wonders how it came by the German motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht."1 The basic outlines of the story are by now well established, including the fact that the "German" motto is actually the German translation of a Latin text. However, the accounts that I have seen are rather unsatisfactory concerning the question of how President Jordan came to embrace it. Jordan himself does not tell us. I should like to do two things today. First, I should like to shed some fresh light on the matter of David Starr Jordan and the motto. This effort will take us back to Indiana University. Second, I should like to begin an effort to trace the motto's fate at Stanford more fully than has been done so far. To set the stage, I begin by reminding you of what is known. Jordan has given us a couple of fairly meager reports on how the motto was introduced at Stanford. For instance, in 1917, in an extemporaneous Founders' Day address, then Chancellor Emeritus Jordan told how, "[I]n connection with one of my early speeches, I had occasion to quote what Ulrich von Hutten said when Luther was being persecuted. 'Don't you know that the air of freedom is blowing?' This pleased Mr. Stanford and it pleased the faculty, and somehow 'Die Luft der Freiheit weht' got on the seal of the university of those days."2 A year later, he gave a slightly different and slightly fuller version: "In the first year of the University I tried to tell the story of this martyr of democracy. Mr. Stanford was impressed with the winds of freedom - which we hoped would continue to blow over Stanford University. . . . And so on the temporary seal adopted by the professors for their convenience, we put these German words."3 What the second version suggests is that in 1891/92, Jordan gave a talk about Ulrich von Hutten, referred to the winds of freedom, and found Senator Stanford "impressed." An undefined "we" then placed the words on the "temporary seal of the faculty." "We" may refer to Jordan and Stanford, or to Jordan and the faculty, or to all three of them. No evidence has been found of the faculty formally adopting a seal, nor of any official embrace of the motto by the faculty. The University Archivist, Maggie Kimball, speculates that, given the small size of the faculty and Jordan's relationship to each member, the faculty could have accepted the Hutten motto informally.4 There is no existing evidence of a seal used by Jordan or the faculty that carries the motto.5 A few reminders about Hutten, a humanist who was associated with Johannes Reuchlin, Albrecht Durer's friend Willibald Pirkheimer, Erasmus of Rotterdam, and Sir Thomas More. Hutten was born in 1488. He belonged to the lesser German nobility that at the time found itself severely squeezed by the princes of the Holy Roman Empire and by the Church. In 1521, when Martin Luther was called before the Diet of Worms to abjure his beliefs and teachings, Hutten, in support of Luther and the "cause of truth and freedom," published, in Latin, three so-called Invectives. In the third of the Invectives, he admonished his own and Luther's enemies among the clergy with the words videtis illam spirare libertatis auram.6 Literally translated this means: "See," or better, "Recognize that the wind of freedom blows." The Latin "aura" can be rendered various ways. The German term "Luft" means "air" rather than "wind," though "wind" is clearly appropriate. Indeed, one might argue that Der Wind der Freiheit weht would have been a better translation of the Latin into German.7 The words videtis illam spirare libertatis auram constitute the beginning of a sentence, the remainder of which tells the Catholic clergy that people are tired of the present state of affairs and want change. Now, why do we have Hutten's words in German? The answer to this question is rather more complex than one might expect and involves 19th- century intellectual history. I begin by discussing Jordan's source for the Hutten text. In 1885, only 13 years after graduating from college and 5 years after he had become professor of natural sciences at Indiana, Jordan, age 34, was made president of Indiana University. The following year, 1886, he published, in two parts, a long article about Ulrich von Hutten in a Chicago literary journal by the name of Current.8 A lightly edited version, under the new title A Knight of the Order of Poets, appeared in 1896, after Jordan's move to Stanford, in his book The Story of the Innumerable Company and Other Sketches.9 It was also published as a separate in 1910 and 1922.10 In short, throughout his life, Jordan publicized Hutten. Hutten had been poet laureate of the Holy Roman Empire. His German poetry resonated with Jordan. Jordan translated some of Hutten's poems in his sketch, just as he had previously, when still a student at Cornell, published translations of other German poetry.11 In the 1886 version, Jordan offers an explanation for his effort that, in this form, he eliminates from the 1896 edition. I quote: Almost four hundred years ago began the great struggle for freedom of thought, which has made our times what they are. Modern science, modern religion, modern freedom alike date from this great struggle which we call the Reformation. I wish to give in this paper something of the history of one who was not the least in this struggle, one who dared think and act for himself, when daring to think and act was costly, one to whom the German people, and we their English-speaking cousins, owe a debt not yet wholly paid or appreciated.12 It is later in this 1886 article about Hutten, "this lover of freedom," that "the wind of freedom" makes its first appearance, however, in English only. Jordan's source was not Hutten's writings themselves, but rather the German theological critic David Friedrich Strauss. Jordan's piece on Hutten begins with an asterisked footnote: "For many of the details of the life of Hutten, and for most of the quotations from Hutten's writings given in this paper, the writer is indebted to the charming memoir by David Frederick Strauss, entitled 'Ulrich von Hutten'. . . . No attempt has been made to give, in this brief paper, a full account of Hutten's writings, only a few of the most notable being referred to at all."13 I have not found any information on how and where Jordan came across Strauss' biography of Hutten. The book was first published in three parts in 1858-60. Jordan refers to the 1878 fourth edition. A one- volume English translation made its appearance in London in 1874. Among the protagonists of humanism, Ulrich von Hutten was a rather minor, and in some ways problematic figure.14 Outside Germany, 19th- century interest in him may have had more to do with the person of the biographer, Strauss, than the humanist himself. Strauss was a fairly famous, even notorious, author who, in the 1830s, had caused a considerable stir with the publication of two volumes entitled The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. The book treated the Gospels as "myths" rather than history. An English translation by no less a writer than George Eliot appeared in 1846. Later in life, Strauss received the honor of being singled out by Nietzsche in 1873, in the first of his Unfashionable Observations, as the foremost among "cultivated philistines" who, following the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, engaged in a nationalistic glorification of German culture.15 Strauss died in 1874. There is no indication that Jordan's interest in Strauss went beyond his having been captivated by the liberal Protestantism of the Hutten biography and the questioning, critical spirit that characterized Hutten. At the end of his sketch, Jordan sums up what Hutten's life, as characterized by Strauss, meant to him. Hutten, Jordan said, was one of the first to realize that religion is individual, not collective: "It is concerned with life, not creeds or ceremonies. In the high sense no man can follow or share the religion of another. His religion, whatever it may be, is his own."16 Returning to the "The Wind of Freedom" phrase, I should like to quote, from Jordan's 1896 paper about Hutten, the entire paragraph in which the phrase makes its appearance. The 1896 version is identical to the 1886 one but for a starred footnote that gives the crucial sentence in German.17 Hutten, on his sick-bed at Ebernburg, not far away, was full of wrath at the trial of Luther. "Away!" he shouted, "away from the clear fountains, ye filthy swine! Out of the sanctuary, ye accursed peddlers! Touch no longer the altar with your desecrating hands. What have ye to do with the alms of our fathers, which were given for the poor and the Church, and you spend for splendor, pomp, and foolery, while the children suffer for bread? See you not that the wind of Freedom* is blowing? On two men not much depends. Know that there are many Luthers, many Huttens here. Should either of us be destroyed, still greater is the danger that awaits you; for then, with those battling for freedom, the avengers of innocence will make common cause." * "Sehet ihr nicht dasz die Luft der Freiheit weht?" If one compares the third Invective in its original Latin with Strauss' account of it, one notices that Strauss takes elements out of sequence, in short, rearranges the text. Furthermore, Strauss renders the Latin text from which the Stanford motto derives into German by transforming the affirmative statement ("Recognize that the wind of freedom blows") into a rhetorical question that Jordan translates into English as "See you not that the wind of freedom is blowing?"18 Indeed, one wonders whether Jordan was under the mistaken impression that Hutten's original text was in German. Jordan's starred footnote to his summary of the Invective in the 1896 version of the sketch supplies, and thereby emphasizes, the German text of the wind of freedom passage. Furthermore, in his 1918 article about the motto, Jordan quoted the German in a context in which he emphasized that Hutten was one of the first scholars in Europe to throw aside the Latin "and speak in a tongue the people could understand."19 A close reading of Strauss and his footnotes would seem to rule out the possibility that Jordan could have been mistaken about the language in which Hutten had written the Invectives. And yet he might have been. Occasionally, all of us may become neglectful of our sources as we become enamored of their contents. Can any light be shed on the question why, in 1886, while he was at Indiana University, Jordan makes so much of Hutten and freedom? In 1887, after he had become president of the College Association of Indiana, Jordan gave a substantial talk on "The Evolution of the College Curriculum" in which he lends forceful support to the elective system of course selection. "Freedom is as essential to scholarship as to manhood. Not long since I met a young German scholar, a graduate of a Prussian gymnasium, who has enrolled himself as a student of English in an American college. To him the free air of the American school was its one good thing" [emphasis added].20 Later in the same speech he says: "The ideas of 'Lehrfreiheit' and 'Lernfreiheit,' - freedom of teaching and freedom of study, - on which the German university is based, will become a central feature of the American college system."21 He meant these two sides of the academic freedom coin to be central features of Indiana University. Jordan was the first Indiana president not to be an ordained minister, a "Darwinian extrovert among Hoosier fundamentalists," as Thomas Clark has said.22 When he became president, chapel attendance every morning was still mandatory. The faculty was small and old and the curriculum was that of an "antebellum classical college."23 In Jordan's words: "The college course in those days led into no free air" [emphasis added].24 Jordan, on the other hand, was caught up in that vast transformation of American colleges and universities that took place during the last third of the 19th century and that was associated with such names as Charles Eliot of Harvard, Daniel Gilman of Johns Hopkins, Andrew White of Cornell, and William Rainey Harper of the University of Chicago. Jordan wanted science to invade the college and he wanted faculty to be as inspiring and open as had been his own teacher Louis Aggasiz, who "believed in the absolute freedom of science and that no authority whatever can answer beforehand the questions we endeavor to solve."25 On Charter Day 1893, at Berkeley, Jordan delivered a lengthy address in defense of public universities in which he denied denominational colleges any role in higher education and asserted that, about universities, one should ask only, "in the words of the old reformer, Ulrich von Hutten, if 'die Luft der Freiheit weht?' - whether 'the winds of freedom are blowing'.26 After my inauguration in 1992, I turned to the then president of Indiana University, Tom Ehrlich, who was also the former Dean of our Law School, to determine whether, at Indiana, they knew what had been the catalyst for Jordan's interest in Hutten. He wrote me back that there was nothing in the Jordan Papers at Indiana that gave a clue. But, Ehrlich said, he was persuaded that Jordan's interest in Hutten "was a result of Jordan's own struggle to obtain freedom - for Jordan, this meant academic freedom, but he well understood the term in all dimensions."27 I think this is the correct view of the matter. Hutten's appeal to Jordan had first of all to do with the most fundamental of Protestant tenets: the right of individual interpretation, the "priesthood of all Christians." Jordan appreciates Hutten primarily as an early example of Protestant individual daring - a point Jordan makes much of in a rather nonreligious, "general theory of life" sort of way that reflects Jordan's attenuated universalist religiosity. In his Hutten sketch he sums up: "The issue was that of the growth of man. The 'right of private interpretation' is the recognition of personal individuality."28 When David Starr Jordan decided to leave the Midwest to come to Stanford, he wrote to his mentor Andrew Dickson White, the president of Cornell, that he was prepared "to take whatever came." Jordan's nonreligious, secular use of Hutten is evidenced by the fact that even on this occasion, hardly a religious turning point, he quoted two lines from a very militant, "Protestant" poem by Hutten entitled "Hutten's Song": "With open eyes I have dared, and cherish no regret. . . ."29 However, in the context of university building at Indiana and Stanford, Hutten's significance for Jordan lies in his association with the fight for the freedom to challenge established orthodoxy and perhaps the most important freedom that the humanists battled for: the pursuit of knowledge free from constraints as to sources and fields. As to this, Jordan employs the Hutten motto in a secularized, somewhat attenuated way - as if Hutten had been a precursor of the scientific spirit that Jordan, along with many other American educators, found epitomized in the German university of the second half of the 19th century. Indeed, the point about science is made explicitly in the opening paragraphs to the 1886 version of the Hutten sketch when Jordan refers to the Reformation as the source of "modern science, modern religion, modern freedom."30 Once at Stanford, Jordan seemed to localize the motto and discover in it an expression of what we might call Stanford's "Western" spirit, a way to capture the spiritus loci of a campus, then without any ivy, stretching more or less from "the foothills to the Bay." The only mention of the motto in Jordan's 1922 autobiography occurs in a quote from an article by Ellen Elliott, wife of the registrar, about the experiences of the "Cornell Colony" in Stanford's early days. Jordan quotes: Perhaps it is the spirit of the West, perhaps it is the vital breath of the Pacific, coming in to us over the mountains, but whatever it may be, some enchantment has blinded us to the crudities, the drawbacks, the limitations of our state. The giants looming in the path of the pioneer appear but frivolous windmills in our eyes. Come not out to us, O doubting Cornellians, thinking to return untouched by the unreasonable enthusiasm. Christmas shall bring you, and the months of spring shall bring you, critical, skeptical, curious, speering after our library, questioning about our funds, and you shall return - if you return at all - chanting as fervently and irrelevantly as we, "Die Luft der Freiheit weht."31 The motto was certainly not irrelevant when Stanford University, nine years after its opening, had its first academic freedom controversy, resulting from Jane Stanford's displeasure with the political activities of Edward Ross, a professor of sociology.32 At the time, faculty contracts were renewed annually and Ross had been advised by Jordan that he would not be reappointed at the end of the academic year 1900/01. Whereupon Ross, in November of 1900, announced that he had been forced to resign. The "Stanford University scandal" led other faculty members to quit in protest and the Ross affair became "one of the most celebrated academic freedom cases in United States history."33 What I am concerned with is the fact that the affair was viewed as testing the motto's implications for academic freedom. The most interesting and telling comment is perhaps a well-known one by Ray Lyman Wilbur, then a first-year assistant professor of physiology at Stanford. In his memoirs he wrote: "Up to the time of our difficulty with Dr. Ross we had taken as a matter of course at Stanford the right of every man to express his opinion. We gave it no more thought than the air we breathed. We were all for Dr. Jordan's slogan which was popularly adopted as a Stanford motto, 'The winds of freedom are blowing'."34 As a result of the Ross affair, academic freedom at Stanford had a more precarious status. Among the faculty members who resigned was the economist Frank A. Fetter, who later would become President of the American Economic Association. He left Stanford not out of solidarity with Ross but because Jordan refused to accept his condition for returning from a leave at Cornell. Fetter, to whom Jordan had given the task of recruiting new faculty, demanded from Jordan formal statements, in writing and in public, that members of the economics department would be guaranteed "as large a measure of academic freedom as is enjoyed in any university." The members of the department were to be "free to teach and discuss any question within the range of their studies; that they shall not be called to account for any opinion on social questions which they may hold, or for the public expression of their views; that they shall not be limited by the university in the exercise of any political rights or the performance of any political duties pertaining to good citizenship."35 Jordan replied that he could not issue such a statement nor "pledge the University in any unusual manner." Instead, he insisted on the customary "unwritten contract": "Liberty of thought, speech and action, on the one hand; reasonable discretion, common sense and loyalty on the other."36 I did not have the time to examine papers related to the Ross case to see whether and how the motto was employed by the various parties to the issue. What does seem clear is that the aftermath of the turmoil did not substantially diminish the motto's overall popularity. B. Q. Morgan reports that, prior to World War I, all the seal stationery, all the shields and jewelry, and other mementos sold at the Stanford Bookstore showed the German phrase on the Stanford seal.37 So did the many plaques, cast in bronze, since the first decade of the century by generations and generations of engineering students learning the skills of foundrymen at the foundry of the engineering laboratories under James Bennett Liggett.38 To Wilbur, the Ross case seems not to have affected the fundamental situation at the university. He writes: "As we knew first-hand what remarkable freedom we had at Stanford that did not seem much of an issue to us."39 However, Wilbur notwithstanding, the motto's implications for academic freedom had become somewhat of an issue and the motto was seen, at least by some, with a certain ambivalence. One of the most intriguing episodes in the history of Stanford's motto came in the first decade of the century when the Board of Trustees adopted a seal for itself. Among the most influential early trustees was George E. Crothers who had concerned himself as a committee of one with designing a seal for the Board that, in 1903, had taken over Jane Stanford's role in the governance of the university. In 1908, the Board chose a seal with the Latin motto Semper Virens meaning "ever greening" or, staying forever young and vital. The Board's motto is a reference to the Sequoia sempervirens, the tall redwood for which Palo Alto is named, but also, in Judge Crothers' words, stands for "perpetuity of life, growth, and strength"; "a pledge and resolve that the University shall never become stagnant, unprogressive, self-glorifying, or petrified in its imperfections."40 According to Crothers, the Board acquiesced in his selection without ado. "I [had the seal] cast and adopted by the Board of Trustees without mentioning 'Semper Virens', lest the wisdom of the selection, not to mention its correctness or suitability, should result in a discussion sure to result in many other suggestions, perhaps better ones."41 The year before, in 1907, Crothers had, however, consulted Jordan concerning the matter of an official seal and motto. This led to a fascinating exchange of letters between the two men. Jordan suggested "that a motto if used should be short and in a foreign language." He refers to Die Luft der Freiheit weht, makes some other proposals, but expresses a preference for a Latin aphorism that was inscribed over the bedroom of the great Swedish botanist and taxonomist Linnaeus: innocue vivite, numen adest. Jordan renders this as "live blameless [sic!] in divine presence (divinity is here)." Bartlett's Familiar Quotations gives the text as "Live innocently; God is here."42 I am not sure about either translation. Another possibility would be: live righteously, God helps you. Be this as it may. What matters is the fact that Jordan concludes his letter to Crothers by indicating his preference for the Linnaeus motto, "with the German one as second choice."43 Jordan previously had invoked the Linnaeus maxim in his address at the opening of Stanford on October 1, 1891. I quote: "For the life of the most exalted as well as the humblest of men, there can be [no] nobler motto . . . . 'This', said Linnaeus, 'is the wisdom of my life'. Every advance which we make toward the realization of the truth of the permanence and immanence of law, brings us nearer to Him who is the great First Cause of all law and phenomena."44 It seems somewhat strange that Jordan would propose as his first choice for the Board of Trustees' motto a maxim of this complexity that pertains to bringing individuals nearer "to Him who is the great First Cause of all law and phenomena." Had the Ross affair, during which he had been widely and publicly attacked,45 left Jordan with reservations about whether the Hutten aphorism could be reconciled with "reasonable discretion, common sense and loyalty"? Crothers, responding to Jordan's suggestions, is explicit about his reservations concerning Die Luft der Freiheit. I quote: I personally prefer a motto in either English or Latin, preferably the former. The words "truth" and "service" come about as near to expressing the aim which the founders had in founding the University, and the ideals which the University should have in the execution of the founders' purpose, as any words which occur to me. I think that the word "truth" implies "freedom." The motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" is certainly a splendid motto, with splendid associations, but my recollection is that it includes a freedom both on the part of the student and the professor as to what is learned and the method of learning, and what is taught and the method of teaching which is not really recognized in any American college.... Would not its adoption imply the adoption of the German university system of instruction and teaching under quite different conditions? 46 In short, Crothers had come to understand Jordan's earlier "more idealistic professions"47 quite accurately. As I have pointed out, the wind of freedom, to Jordan, originally also meant Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. The Republican lawyer from San Francisco was, however, worried whether these were alien, "un-American" concepts. Jordan himself obviously had reservations about professors who appeared to be using their position for political propaganda.48 Jane Stanford, following the Ross affair, in 1902, had amended the Founding Grant to stress the nonpolitical, nonpartisan nature of the university.49 It was as if an age of innocence about academic freedom had ended: What the wind of freedom actually meant had become problematic. Ironically, only a few years later, Jordan's own political activities as a pacifist became the target of others who thought the motto alien. In the years immediately preceding World War I and American entry into the war, the most controversial person at Stanford was easily its former president. Jordan would have retired from the presidency in the ordinary course of events in 1916 when reaching the age of 65. Jordan himself had been ambivalent about waiting that long, given his ever increasing efforts on behalf of world peace50 and his vision of a better world, one ruled by ideas, not by guns, bayonets, and poison gas. A new trustee by the name of Herbert Hoover, who had joined the Board in 1912, arranged matters. He saw to it that Jordan, in 1913, was "relieved of routine work for the remaining three years" of his administration by being given the title Chancellor. This freed Jordan to pursue his work for peace in Europe and what he called "my propaganda against the war system."51 Jordan's friend and colleague (and Hoover's former teacher) John Casper Branner became Stanford's second president, to be succeeded in January of 1916 by Ray Lyman Wilbur. In those years, Jordan gave hundreds of lectures, both here and abroad, for the cause of peace. As Edith Mirrielees puts it dryly: "Dr. Jordan had preached peace when peace had been everybody's good word. He went on preaching it now."52 But now he became viewed by some as an "unwitting," "deluded tool" in Germany's "plot against humanity,"53 by others "as actively Pro-German before the entrance of the United States into the war."54 After the United States declared war on Germany in April of 1917, Jordan issued a statement that began with the words "Our country is now at war and the only way out is forward."55 Nevertheless, Jordan remained a target of accusations and attacks. For instance, in May of 1918, members of the Cornell class of 1873 called on the Board of Trustees of Cornell University to revoke his degree.56 Jordan had to spend endless time and effort to defend himself against charges and distortions. In a letter to Senator Lee Slater Overman, of North Carolina, who chaired a special investigating committee of the United States Senate, Jordan wrote on December 23, 1918: "For myself, I wish to deny emphatically that I have ever been actively or otherwise 'pro- German'. For eight years I have openly and vigorously opposed the German emperor and the system he represented. In 1910, I spoke publicly in the German language in Berlin against German militarism, and later in the fall of 1913 in the cities of Southern Germany, from Frankfort to Munich. Among other things I said that the German war-system had 'perverted and poisoned all teaching of history, of patriotism and even of religion'. I believe that I am the only outsider who has thus spoken in Germany in open meetings in the German language."57 The Chancellor Emeritus was forced to worry about the impact of it all on the university and to bend over backward to distance it from himself. There is an almost pathetic letter from Jordan to President Wilbur, dated September 9, 1918, responding to some document attacking Jordan that had been addressed to Wilbur. I quote: I send you my answer, by which you will see that the charges are based on accident and misinterpretation. I have used great care not to entangle the University in any opinions of mine. But to avoid misapprehension, I shall send out no printed matter of any kind, and shall use only plain envelopes, posting my letters outside the campus. At the bottom of the letter is a note in Jordan's handwriting that reads: "Kindly show the document to Mr. Hoover. I regret the whole business very much on my own account but more especially on that of the University."58 In May of 1918, the university felt obliged to deny reports "apparently circulated" by "subtle German propagandists" that, "on the official seal of Stanford appears a phrase in the German language." The Daily Palo Alto wrote: "Unofficially, a motto in German has sometimes been used at Stanford, but Acting President C. D. Marx said . . . that it never was adopted by the trustees, that it appears nowhere on official University stationery or documents, and whatever use may have been made of it at any time has not received the sanction of the Board of Trustees or of the Academic Council of the faculty." I guess in order to make the point how unfamiliar they were with the motto, the editors of The Daily Palo Alto went on to quote the motto as "Die Luff [sic!] der Freiheit Weht."59 At the same time, The Stanford Illustrated Review published an article by Jordan entitled "The Wind of Freedom." The article is prefaced by the following editorial comment: "German propaganda made it necessary for the University to issue recently a statement explaining that the University has no German motto on its seal. This history of the phrase by Chancellor Emeritus Jordan is timely as well as interesting." And interesting, if somewhat disingenuous, it is. I should like to quote the first three paragraphs. Some one in a spirit of illiterate intolerance has lately ventured to criticise Stanford University for its alleged German motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" (the wind of Freedom is blowing). As a matter of fact this is not the motto of the University, as it has never been officially adopted and does not appear on the University official seal. It is not the policy of the trustees to use a living language for this purpose, and the only motto I know to have been actually considered is "Semper virens" (ever green, or practically, ever growing), the scientific name of the redwood tree (Sequoia sempervirens) which is the central figure of the University seal. But the German phrase has a noble history in which Stanford is in a degree concerned. Then follows an account of Hutten and the previously cited mention of Jordan's exchange with Senator Stanford about Hutten and the winds of freedom back in 1891/92. The article concludes with the sentence: "Meanwhile it is still true that 'the wind of freedom is blowing', and it will in due time sweep over the whole earth."60 It appears that the "alleged" motto that, at best, had been adopted by custom, though never "officially," returned to ordinary use no later than 1923.61 Just before the beginning of World War II, when the Stanford Alumni Association commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the laying of the cornerstone for the university with a 250-page "pictorial record," the seal with the motto in German decorated the cover.62 Of course, contrary to the hopes of Jordan who had died in 1931, the wind of freedom was not sweeping over the earth. Nazi Germany had started a second world war. Among the devastations of World War II and in the wake of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis, Stanford invoked its motto in defense of the values the motto represented, especially and poignantly Lehrfreiheit and Lernfreiheit. American universities now stood for the very values that Wilhelm von Humboldt's University of Berlin had symbolized since the 19th century, but, in 1933, abandoned. Two months before Pearl Harbor, on October 1, 1941, the university celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of its opening. At a dinner in San Francisco, attended by more than a thousand alumni, faculty, and friends, the Stanford Associates invited their guests to dedicate themselves once more to the ideals upon which the university was founded and "to perpetuate," as the program said, "for all time Stanford University as a place where indeed the winds of freedom blow."63 In the spring of 1941, the University of Leyden in Holland had been closed by the Nazis. This event prompted, at the anniversary dinner, a "mask," a presentation by the Department of Speech and Drama, under the title "The Winds of Freedom Blow." The only speaker at the dinner was the President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Raymond B. Fosdick. His subject, likewise, was "Let the Winds of Freedom Blow." Fosdick began by talking about Leyden. Three hundred and sixty-six years ago, in one of the darkest hours that Holland ever knew, William the Silent founded the University of Leyden. He needed it in his struggle against Spain. He needed it as a weapon against tyranny. He realized that a university could be a mighty bulwark of liberty, a citadel of ideas which no physical force could permanently overthrow. For 366 years Leyden has stood for political and scholastic freedom; it has been the determined foe of absolutism in every form. It has welcomed scholars like Grotius, Arminius and Descartes - heretics in their day. It has been a center of intellectual ferment. For over three centuries and a half the cultural life, not only of Holland but of all of Europe, has borne witness to the influence of Leyden. Today Leyden is silent and isolated. When the Germans over-ran Holland, all Jewish professors were dismissed from the faculty, and three prominent Nazis were appointed to the chairs of political economy, history, and what is called "new philosophy." An outstanding member of the faculty who objected to these German measures was imprisoned; and when the student body held a meeting of protest and sang the Dutch national anthem, the institution was closed "until further notice." Judged by outward appearances the University of Leyden has ceased to exist as an effective force in the extension of knowledge and in the development of a free society. Fosdick went on to detail other instances, elsewhere in Europe, including Germany. He then reminded his audience that "the Nazi mentality is not necessarily confined to Germany" and that it "has a way of coming to life even in localities in the United States." I quote again: It may seem superfluous, especially before a Stanford audience, to underscore this matter of academic freedom, but in days like these when intolerance and public suspicion are so easily fanned into flame, there is an occupational hazard connected with some branches of teaching and research; and a university as an institution must be prepared to stand unfalteringly behind the isolated and perhaps dangerously exposed individual scholar.... Let the winds of freedom blow.64 I am coming to a close. The limited time available to me in my "off- hours" has not allowed me to go beyond World War II and what role, if any, the motto played during the periods of McCarthyism and of student protest against the Vietnam War. Since my Inaugural Address, where I spoke about what the motto might entail for a university's freedom, Die Luft der Freiheit weht has seen some modest revival. I say "revival" because it is my impression that it had somewhat fallen into desuetude. As its legitimacy is based on custom rather than formal adoption, we need to remind ourselves that custom is undone by nonuse. The seal with the motto now appears (apparently for the first time) on the President's stationery - and that is as far as my influence reaches. In my Inaugural Address, I spoke about nine aspects of a university's freedom. And most likely there are more than that. My nine are not easily reconciled with one another nor is it easy to arrive at syllogistic conclusions about their application to the demands of the hour. But then, contrary to the truly obnoxious habits of contemporary television and politics, few issues can be reduced to two opposing, sloganeering sound bites. May Die Luft der Freiheit always be understood as a guiding principle that - instead of being a slogan itself - blows away the slogans that stifle academic debate and freedom. * For research assistance, I am much indebted to Margaret Kimball, Head of Special Collections and University Archivist, and to Steven Martinez. The paper also reflects help I received in the summer of 1992 from two then graduate students at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Ed Callahan and Jonathan Strom. 1 Cf. David Starr Jordan, The Wind of Freedom, The Stanford Illustrated Review, May 1918, 297; B. Q. Morgan, How Stanford Selected That "Winds of Freedom" Slogan, The Stanford Illustrated Review, November 1937, 22-23; Gunther W. Nagel, M.D., The Legacy of Ulrich von Hutten, Stanford Review, March 1962, 12-15; Gerhard Casper, Inaugural Address, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 12-13, October 7, 1992. 2 David Starr Jordan, Founders' Day Address, The Stanford Alumnus, March 1917, 224. 3 David Starr Jordan, The Wind of Freedom, note 1 supra. 4 Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 7, 1995. Nineteen men were in attendance at the first faculty meeting on October 3, 1891; Edith R. Mirrielees, Stanford: The Story of a University, New York 1959, 58. 5 Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 25, 1995. 6 Ulrich von Hutten (Eduard Bocking, ed.), Opera vol. 2, Leipzig 1859, 34. 7 On the matter of translation, also see letter to the editor from Ronald Bracewell, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 3, October 14, 1992. 8 David Starr Jordan, Ulrich von Hutten, Current vol. 6, 357-59, December 4, 1866; 375-76, December 11, 1866. Cf. Alice N. Hays, David Starr Jordan: A Bibliography of His Writings 1871-1931, Stanford, Calif. 1952, 4. 9 David Starr Jordan, A Knight of the Order of Poets, in The Story of the Innumerable Company and Other Sketches, San Francisco 1896, 205- 44. 10 Alice N. Hays, note 8 supra, 4. 11 Id. at 3. 12 David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357. In 1896, Jordan substitutes "modern civilization" for "modern science, modern religion, modern freedom" and deletes the reference to the German people and their English-speaking cousins; Jordan, note 9 supra, 207. 13 David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357. 14 See Gerhard Casper, Inaugural Address, note 1 supra; also Gerhard Casper, Invectives, Stanford University Campus Report vol. XXV, 14, March 10, 1993. 15 See Friedrich Nietzsche, Unfashionable Observations, The Complete Works of Friedrich Nietzsche vol. 2, translated, with an Afterword, by Richard T. Gray, Stanford, Calif. 1995. 16 David Starr Jordan, note 9 supra, 244. 17 David Starr Jordan id. at 235. Cf. Jordan, note 8 supra, 376. 18 Ulrich von Hutten, note 6 supra; David Friedrich Strauss, Ulrich von Hutten 2. Teil, Leipzig 1858, 176. 19 David Starr Jordan, note 1 supra. 20 David Starr Jordan, The Care and Culture of Men, A Series of Addresses on the Higher Education, San Francisco 1896, 41. 21 Id. at 53. 22 Thomas D. Clark, Indiana University: Midwestern Pioneer, Bloomington, Indiana 1970-77, 211. I was referred to this account of Jordan's Indiana days by Myles Brand, President of Indiana University. 23 Id. 24 David Starr Jordan, note 20 supra, 184. 25 David Starr Jordan, The Days of a Man, Volume One 1851-1899, Yonkers-on-Hudson 1922, 113. 26 David Starr Jordan, note 21 supra, 111. 27 Letter from Thomas Ehrlich to Gerhard Casper, November 6, 1992. 28 David Starr Jordan, note 9 supra, 242. 29 David Starr Jordan, note 25 supra, 362. 30 David Starr Jordan, note 8 supra, 357. Hutten himself did display a bit of "modern" scientific spirit in his book about syphilis; see Gerhard Casper, Invectives, note 14 supra. He addressed the theory that syphilis was God's punishment for moral depravity. Hutten displayed his impatience with theologians who pretend to know God's will and firmly came down on the side of natural causes. I am indebted to Carlos A. Camargo, M.D., for having referred me to Hutten's text from 1519, an English translation of which appeared in 1540. 31 David Starr Jordan, note 25 supra, 420. 32 For Jane Stanford's views, see Gunther W. Nagel, Jane Stanford, Stanford, Calif. 1975, 134-44. 33 Warren J. Samuels, The Resignation of Frank A. Fetter from Stanford University, The History of Economics Society Bulletin vol. VI, issue 2, 16 (1985). 34 Edgar Eugene Robinson and Paul Carroll Edwards (eds.), The Memoirs of Ray Lyman Wilbur, 1875-1949, Stanford, Calif. 1960, 99. 35 Quoted in Warren J. Samuels, note 33 supra, 20. 36 Id. at 21. 37 B. Q. Morgan, note 1 supra, 23. 38 The Stanford Illustrated Review, June 1932, 395. 39 Edgar Eugene Robinson and Paul Carroll Edwards (eds.), note 34 supra, 100. 40 Letter from George E. Crothers, Stanford Alumni Review, February 1947. 41 Id. 42 John Bartlett (Justin Kaplan, general ed.), Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Sixteenth Edition, Boston, Toronto, London 1992, 312. 43 Letter from David Starr Jordan to George E. Crothers, August 10, 1907 (Stanford University Archives). 44 David Starr Jordan, note 21 supra, 263. 45 Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 105. 46 Letter from George E. Crothers to David Starr Jordan, August 27, 1907 (Stanford University Archives). 47 Edward McNall Burns, David Starr Jordan: Prophet of Freedom, Stanford, Calif. 1953, 168. 48 Id. 49 Stanford University: The Founding Grant with Amendments, Legislation, and Court Decrees, Stanford, Calif. 1987, 22. 50 Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 159 51 David Starr Jordan, The Days of a Man, Volume Two 1900-1921, Yonkers- on-Hudson 1922, 455. 52 Edith R. Mirrielees, note 4 supra, 183-84. 53 Letter from Bernard Bienenfeld to David Starr Jordan, March 29, 1917 (Stanford University Archives). 54 Letter from David Starr Jordan to Lee Slater Overman, December 23, 1918 (Stanford University Archives). 55 David Starr Jordan, note 51 supra, 735. 56 See Dorothy Driscoll, An Unjust Attack on Dr. Jordan, The Stanford Illustrated Review, June 1918, 331, 354. 57 Letter from David Starr Jordan to Lee Slater Overman, note 54 supra. 58 Letter from David Starr Jordan to Ray Lyman Wilbur, September 9, 1918 (Stanford University Archives). 59 The Daily Palo Alto, May 7, 1918 (Stanford University Archives). 60 David Starr Jordan, note 1 supra. 61 Memo from Margaret Kimball to Gerhard Casper, August 7, 1995. 62 Norris E. James (ed.), Fifty Years on the Quad, Stanford, Calif. 1938. 63 Program of the Stanford Associates dinner commemorating the university's fiftieth anniversary, October 1, 1941 (Stanford University Archives). 64 Raymond B. Fosdick, Let the Winds of Freedom Blow, Talk given at the Stanford Associates dinner commemorating the university's fiftieth anniversary, October 1, 1941 (Stanford University Archives).

jorge-fernandez-salas-tEiaTenGXjs-unsplash.jpg

On May 2, 1994, nine Stanford students filed a lawsuit - Corry v. Stanford University - challenging the Fundamental Standard interpretation titled "Free Expression and Discriminatory Harassment." The Fundamental Standard has been the measure of conduct for Stanford students since 1896. It states: "Students at Stanford are expected to show both within and without the University such respect for order, morality, personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens. Failure to do this will be sufficient cause for removal from the University." The Student Conduct Legislative Council put the interpretation - popularly known as the Grey Interpretation - into effect in 1990, spelling out when the face-to-face use of racial epithets or their equivalent would be viewed as harassment by personal vilification, and, therefore, as a violation of the Fundamental Standard. The interpretation relied on the so-called "fighting words" exception to the First Amendment. All other forms of speech at Stanford were protected. Nobody has ever been disciplined under this interpretation. On Feb. 27, 1995, the Santa Clara County Superior Court issued its decision in Corry. The court held that the Grey explication of the Fundamental Standard was unconstitutionally overbroad; that it did not proscribe all fighting words and was thus an unconstitutional viewpoint-based rule; and that California's so-called Leonard Law was constitutional. The Leonard Law is part of the 1992 State Education Code and bars non-religious private colleges and universities from disciplining students for speech unless government could prohibit the same speech. I should like to begin my comments on the case by giving my view concerning what the decision is not about. Various newspapers have quoted one of the plaintiffs as saying that this was a victory for academic freedom and free speech. If it was, I do not believe that it was needed. At a university that is committed to speaking plainly, without concealment and to the point, a ban on insulting fighting words based on group characteristics is not likely to have a chilling effect on almost all relevant speech. Academic freedom and free speech were quite safe at Stanford University before the decision. I came to Stanford after adoption of the Grey Interpretation, and my experience has been that debate about scholarly issues, as well as public issues, has been and continues to be uninhibited, robust and wide-open here. Second, the decision is not going to unleash torrents of hate speech at Stanford. This university is characterized by a remarkable extent of peaceful interaction. In spite of occasional incidents that are played up in the press - indeed, universities are no ivory towers - there are few institutions in American society that are, comparatively speaking, more successful than universities at encouraging their members to cross bridges. The Grey Interpretation was meant to express our community's strong commitment to civility or, in the old-fashioned words of the Fundamental Standard, respect for "personal honor and the rights of others as is demanded of good citizens." Civility at Stanford will continue ,with or without the Grey Interpretation. And harassment, whether accompanied by speech or not, including harassment that is motivated by racial or other bigotry, continues to be in violation of the Fundamental Standard. Third, it is ironic that, while opposing the university's rule on First Amendment grounds, the court endorsed the Leonard Law. I thought the First Amendment freedom of speech and freedom of association is about the pursuit of ideas. Stanford, a private university, had the idea that its academic goals would be better served if students never used gutter epithets against fellow students. The California legislature apparently did not like such ideas, for it prohibited private secular universities and colleges from establishing their own standards of civil discourse. Religious institutions alone can claim First Amendment protection in this regard. However, I seem to be about the only person who finds that governmental intrusion troublesome and uncalled for. Therefore, as Justice Holmes once said, "if I am alone, probably something is wrong with my works." The San Francisco Examiner called my position a "laughable convolution." I guess the Examiner must be right. I was born in 1937 in a country where racism had become government policy. I grew up in that same country as government and private institutions attempted to rethink civil society in the wake of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis. Therefore I confess to possessing less certainty about absolute positions than do the plaintiffs in Corry. To be sure, rules such as the Grey Interpretation ultimately may be futile in fighting bigotry. But should a private university not be permitted to struggle with the issue in its own, if imperfect, ways? When I ask this question non-rhetorically, I am told that racists and sexists also invoke freedom of association. Well, so they do, and I have no difficulty acknowledging a compelling state interest in eradicating discrimination. Extreme cases, however, make for bad law, especially as concerns the fragile private sphere. I disagree with the court's statement that the Grey Interpretation has nothing do with the four freedoms of a university, as put forward by Justice Frankfurter in his famous concurrence in Sweezy v. New Hampshire, i.e. a university's freedom "to determine for itself on academic grounds who may teach, what may be taught, how it shall be taught, and who may be admitted to study." Until 1992, the State of California also respected a private university's right to set its own educational policies. Almost all other states do so to this date. Congress a few years ago resisted the temptation to do for the entire country what the state legislature has done for California. Principles of free speech are among those we most cherish, as Americans and as members of a university dedicated to the open, rigorous and serious search to know. Because these rights are so important and our country takes them so seriously, reasonable people entertain different views about doctrinal details, while strongly supporting the essence of free speech. Constitutional scholars - indeed, Supreme Court justices, even the four that attended Stanford - disagree about the line between what the Constitution protects and what it does not. For instance, the plaintiffs and the judge in this case rely heavily on a 1992 decision of the United States Supreme Court, R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul. I might point out that Justice Scalia's opinion in that case had the support of only four other justices. The four additional members of the Court agreed with the result but disassociated themselves from Justice Scalia's reasoning. After consulting with others on the matter and after listening to arguments on both sides, I have, nevertheless, concluded that, barring unexpected language in the final judgment, Stanford should not appeal the decision of the Santa Clara County Superior Court. I was not here when Stanford adopted the "Free Expression and Discriminatory Harassment" interpretation of the Fundamental Standard. Its passage by the Student Conduct Legislative Council after 18 months of discussion and debate left many on campus feeling ambivalent about it. I share that ambivalence. I am completely committed to Stanford's motto "Die Luft der Freiheit weht" - The wind of freedom blows. I do, indeed, believe that Stanford should voluntarily agree to be bound by the principles of free speech. However, such voluntary agreement to principles is not the same as being ordered by the state legislature to follow every twist of case law. In a perfect world of unlimited resources, we might test the court's ruling further. We do not live in that perfect world. With respect to this particular case, I have come to the conclusion that Stanford's limited resources of money, time, and attention are best kept applied to the central tasks of excellence and rigor in teaching, learning, and research. The 1990 interpretation was written narrowly as a statement of the university's belief that individuals should be free of harassment, intimidation, or personal vilification. Those acts have no place at Stanford or in any rational, civilized society. Among our most cherished values at Stanford are a belief in the power of reason, and in the right of each person to be accepted as an autonomous individual, free to speak and be listened to without regard to labels and stereotypes. As I have said, we have never had to use the 1990 interpretation. Harassment, threats or intimidation continue to be unacceptable. Should they go beyond what is protected by law, we will invoke university disciplinary procedures. Otherwise, we shall continue to do what we always have done. We shall counter prejudice with reason. The work of reason is hard work, as is the work of building and maintaining a great private university. I invite all faculty, students and staff to continue the work of reason.

Members of the Stanford college class of 1997 and those among you who have had the splendid good sense to transfer to Stanford: On behalf of the University's faculty and staff, and your fellow students, both undergraduate and graduate, I warmly welcome you. We have looked forward to your presence with pleasurable anticipation because we know, on the basis of what we have learned about you, that you will be superbly qualified to test our abilities. Equally warmly I welcome parents, other relatives, and friends who have come along to lessen the apprehensions that our freshmen might have. For many parents this is not the easiest of tasks since they themselves are full of apprehension about this rite of passage and great adventure and about what lies ahead for their daughters and sons. I understand this. After all, as somebody once said to me in a striking mixed metaphor: "The future is an uncharted sea full of potholes." A newspaper columnist for the Olathe, Kan., Daily News, David Chartrand, wrote recently about the life of college freshmen: "You'll know right off that this isn't high school anymore when you wake up and realize there is no one telling you: To get out of bed. To get back in bed. To turn off the television. To avoid strangers. To go to bed and I swear I am not kidding this time. . . . To help with the dishes. . . To make your bed. . . . To eat your dinner. . . . To grow up. To stop growing up so fast." At Stanford we have no ambivalence about your growing up, nor will you hear the admonition "to avoid strangers." Quite to the contrary, you will be encouraged to go out of your way to meet strangers, to talk to strangers, to befriend strangers. The university and your fellow students offer you rich intellectual opportunities to explore and understand the many faces of diversity, here and abroad. The Stanford college class of 1997 is exceedingly diverse by any measure of academic achievements and interests, artistic and athletic accomplishments. It is also diverse as expressed by common demographic yardsticks, even though some of these categories tend to be overly general. Indeed, they understate rather than capture your diversity. Nonetheless, here are some figures from the demographic profile of the Stanford college class of 1997. 2% American Indian 5% foreign students from 37 different countries 9% African-American 10% Mexican-American 24% Asian-American 50% in that residual category called "white." This last category, whatever the government may mean by it, refers, of course, only to students from the United States. The American students come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Very few among you have graduated from a high school or lived in a community with such diversity. Not many will have had much personal experience of interacting with people of different ethnic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. As you cross bridges to meet strangers at Stanford, the going will sometimes be rough. That, however, is an inevitable part of the excitement that college offers you. I should like to think through with you some of the issues that have become associated with diversity on college campuses. I do so because for you, our new students, these will be matters of great opportunity and challenge in the next few years. They are also, I am sure, of great interest, and sometimes concern, to you, the parents. Last May I received a letter from the parents of a graduating college student from which I should like to quote the most important passages. Dear Dr. Casper: Our son, Andy, graduates from Stanford in a few weeks. He has enjoyed Stanford... One of the reasons he elected to attend Stanford was the cultural richness of its student body. We recently received the Commencement schedule of events, and that concerns us. The following are some of the events shown: Chicano/Latino Graduation Ceremony Catholic Graduation mass and Reception Asian American Graduation Dinner Native American Graduation Dinner African American Graduation Program... We should like your thoughts on the policy apparently being fostered of separating students along racial, ethnic and religious lines as evidenced by the Commencement schedule. We noticed the same atmosphere at Stanford four years ago when we enrolled our son. There were admissions receptions for African American, Asian, Native American, and Latino students at that time. Interestingly, there appear to be no receptions or campus groups for white Anglo Saxon students - and well there are not. We applaud the efforts of Stanford to create a diverse academic atmosphere where various American cultures and ethnic groups can exchange ideas to enrich the whole academic environment. However, it appears that rather than creating an appreciation for diversity, Stanford is fostering separatism among its students. Isn't this the very thing Stanford is trying to eliminate in its admissions policies? Aren't we trying to create an amalgam of American culture rather than a cacophony? I sometimes get 50 or more letters a day. They address many issues and express very different opinions - indeed, they often make dissonant, cacophonous points. My staff and I answer almost all of them. My reply to Andy's parents stressed that Stanford is certainly not pursuing a policy of fragmentation. I did point out, however, that maintaining a diverse academic community does require that students and their families feel at ease, especially at such festive occasions as the opening of the freshman year or commencement. Alas, the pressures of time did not permit me to address the last paragraph of the letter. In a way, what I should like to do today is belatedly to think aloud about the questions it raises as to the multiplicity of cultures represented on campus and the university's own culture. Especially, I am interested in the letter's last question: "Aren't we trying to create an amalgam of American culture rather than a cacophony?" Let me begin by making the obvious point that students, like all other human beings, are individuals pursuing their individual aspirations, but they are also social beings. When they congregate with others on campus it does not necessarily mean that they are segregating themselves. Almost all of us have a tendency to hang out with people who are familiar, who share our background, who are "our own kind." We also have a tendency to form or join groups in order to accomplish some goals of ours. Any individual may associate with a range of different groups. The groups we belong to tend to maintain a group spirit. This is, incidentally, especially true as to the "group spirit" of American universities, Stanford included. The "Stanford spirit" was indeed one of the factors that enticed me to join the faculty last year. I trust you will embrace it quickly, because, whatever your differences may be, you have one thing in common - the choice of associating with Stanford. Individual development often takes place through groups. Our Constitution recognizes this fact and need by protecting the freedom of association as part of our First Amendment rights. Those who critically characterize various campus groups as students "segregating" rather than as students "associating" choose to construe the phenomenon, to quote Stanford alumnus Woodrow Myers, as alienation, rather than as a means for exploring cultural identity - though the latter interpretation is frequently the most plausible one. To be sure, the line between "congregation" and "segregation" is a fragile one. As you know, Stanford has a number of student residences that are designated as "theme houses" and some of these are ethnic theme houses. Stanford encourages interaction and guards against separatism by requiring that, in the case of the ethnic theme houses, no more than fifty percent of the residents may belong to the ethnic group that provides the "theme." This summer I talked with a student who during her freshman year had been assigned to one of these theme houses. She did indeed feel left out and ended up associating mostly with students from the "other" half. She liked neither the sense of exclusion nor the fact that, in this instance, "crosscultural interaction" did not work. Cases like this are bound to occur because universities are not immune to social developments and tensions. I do, however, view it as the institutions' responsibility, and indeed as the responsibility of Stanford students, Stanford parents, Stanford alumni to do their utmost to minimize the chances for exclusion, even as we provide opportunities for identifying one's social heritage. I shall return to this matter later on. The exploration of one's cultural identity has itself become a major theme in our country and our world. Experiences of social and political inequality have heightened emphasis on cultural differences. This in turn has led to what the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor refers to as "the politics of recognition." Taking off from the concept of the equal dignity of all citizens, we are asked to recognize the unique identity of an individual or group, their distinctness from everyone else. The phenomenon is both a domestic and a global one. Cultural conflicts seem to characterize our world at an ever escalating speed: with devastating and heartbreaking consequences in the former Yugoslavia or in Somalia, or in South Africa, where a few weeks ago, a former Stanford student, Amy Biehl, died while contributing to the dismantling of apartheid. More and more individuals seem to seek authenticity through some form of social identity and this social identity is, to a large extent, tied up with a notion of social heritage as one's "culture." I think it is very important to realize that this fairly old-fashioned definition of culture as "social heritage" owes much of its contemporary currency to the undeniable fact that minorities, in the United States and in many other countries, are emerging from experiences of subordination or even submersion. It is also the case that thinking in terms of "cultural wholes," in terms of distinct cultural identities, each more or less "complete," neglects the fact that there are myriad crossroads, bridges, and borderlands, especially in "a nation of immigrants" such as ours. To quote my Stanford colleague Renato Rosaldo: We all cross such social boundaries in our daily lives. Even... the nuclear family, is cross-cut by differences of gender, generation, and age. Consider the disparate worlds one passes through in daily life, a round that includes home, eating out, working hours, adventures in consumerland, and a range of relationships, from intimacy to collegiality and friendship to enmity. Radcliffe-Brown, the famous social anthropologist, spoke of culture as "the process by which a person acquires, from contacts with other persons or from such things as books or works of art, knowledge, skill, ideas, beliefs, tastes, sentiments." I, your president, am an immigrant which, of course, you would never have guessed listening to my accent. I came to the United States from Germany in 1964, at age 26, almost 30 years ago. When I moved initially to California my "cultural identity" was certainly predominantly German - whatever that means. It is said easily but there are, after all, many different ways to be German or Indian or American or Italian. The adage "When in Rome, do as the Romans do!" does not deprive one of choices. In my case the matter of identity was further complicated by the fact that there was little to identify with for somebody who grew up among the devastations of World War II and the cultural uncertainties and ambivalencies experienced by my generation in the wake of the horrors perpetrated by the Nazis. Since 1964 I have lived in the United States, and have had contacts with people in every part of the country, with books, architecture, art, music, even, believe it or not, football. I have acquired an American "cultural identity" intermingled with my original German and European identifications. For 26 years I lived in Chicago - as Saul Bellow has shown, a rather rich cultural challenge all by itself. I am now interacting with "the Stanford culture." In addition, I have played many different roles, some of them on both sides of the Atlantic: the roles of son, student, husband, father, professor of constitutional law, dean, provost, president, friend, citizen - to mention but a few. The content and demands of these roles have been changing for me, as they have been changing for all of you. We have a difficult time indeed as we attempt to distinguish those traditional contents of a role that are worth retaining from those that should be discarded. Each of us has so many different roles with changing demands that most of the time it even seems beside the point to search for a role model - even a single specific role can be played in various ways, just like Hamlet. I think I have only one identity, but my identity, like yours, reflects myriad cultural influences and role expectations, which I have fused, adapted, integrated in my own individual way. An acquaintance of mine who had come to the United States through various waystations from Eastern Europe, once said: "I would go back to where I came from, if I hadn't come from so many places." Each one of us is actually "multicultural," has come from "so many places." Each one of us will become even more multicultural as we befriend more "strangers." Indeed, it is the opportunity to meet "strangers" that adds special pleasures to life, especially at a university. So, were Andy's parents right when they rhetorically asked: "Aren't we trying to create an amalgam of American culture rather than a cacophony?" It may surprise you to hear that I do not think that they were right. There is a great difference between a distillation that you have freely produced yourselves and one ordained by the university in accordance with its social engineering schemes. "We," in this case Stanford University, have no particular mandate to create a "culture," be it an "amalgam" or a highly differentiated one. Each one of you will develop your own version of cultural identity, will become a person. Your fellow students and your faculty and members of the staff, and therefore, in a manner of speaking, "the" university, will obviously make many contributions to your cultural formation. All of this will happen whether any of it is intended or not. As T. S. Eliot has said: "Culture is the one thing that we cannot deliberately aim at. It is the product of a variety of more or less harmonious activities, each pursued for its own sake." Culture is a highly dynamic concept. No culture is ever frozen, not even those that are completely isolated. One's social heritage does not come neatly packaged in an ice cube that can be thawed for reference and use. Nor are we frozen into a particular culture. But it is not for the university in its institutional role to tell you to blend in or to remain separate, to embrace an "amalgam" or to reject it. Whether the United States is best understood as a "melting pot" or a "mosaic" you will decide. However, neither of these metaphors of rather dubious analytic quality is a normative component of Stanford's "mission statement." It is not our goal to mold you in a particular way. What is university policy is "a commitment to actively learning about and interacting with a variety of different people." If we at the university were not committed to interactive pluralism, education would become impossible. Of course, this does not mean that the university should ignore the fact that different students have different interests and wants and that the institution's diversity creates acculturation difficulties for individuals that need to be attended to with care. The university is an institution dedicated to the search to know, the search to know of each member in her or his individual capacity. You were admitted to Stanford as individuals not in groups. No university can thrive unless each member is accepted as an individual and can speak and will be listened to without regard to labels and stereotypes. While the university has no right to tell you who you should become, with what groups to associate or not to associate, university citizenship entails the obligation to accept every individual member of the community as a contributor to the search to know. In a university nobody has the right to deny another person's right to speak his or her mind, to speak plainly, without concealment and to the point. In a university discussion your first question in response to an argument must never be "Does she belong to the right group?" Instead, the only criterion is "Does she have a valid argument?" An argument must not be judged by whether the speaker is male or female, black or white, American or foreign. I could end here and thus avoid some additional problems. However, let me retain you for a few moments more. If what I just said suggests to you that I see the university as by and large neutral territory where cultures clash, interact, adapt, and change while the institution itself is committed to cultural relativism, with no ideas and values of its own, you would be quite wrong. A university has a culture, an identity of its own. Its identity is tied to its work. Its work, as I said, consists of the search to know. The search to know is carried out by critical analysis, according to standards of evidence that themselves are subject to examination and reexamination. They cannot be set by a political diktat. Thomas Jefferson spoke of freedom as "the first born daughter of science." What I like to refer to as the "republic of learning" is committed to, I quote the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, "the Stoic ideal of the kosmou polites, or 'citizen of the entire world', that is, the ideal of being a person who can argue intelligently about the most important matters with human beings the world over, not being shut out of such debate by narrowness or prejudice." As Randolph Bourne wrote during the first World War: A college where such a spirit is possible even to the smallest degree, has within itself the seeds of this international intellectual world of the future. It suggests that the contribution of America will be an intellectual internationalism which goes far beyond the mere exchange of scientific ideas and discoveries and the cold recording of facts. It will be an intellectual sympathy which is not satisfied until it has got at the heart of the different cultural expressions, and felt as they feel. It may have immense preferences, but it will make understanding and not indignation its end. Such a sympathy will unite and not divide. The work of the university is universal by aspiration and character. The "republic of learning" reaches from Florence to Stanford, from Stanford to Kyoto, from Kyoto to Santiago, from Santiago to Moscow - all places, incidentally, where Stanford has a presence, as it has in Paris, Berlin, and Oxford. I know few universities that are better positioned than Stanford on the Pacific Rim to be at the center of this "republic of learning." The "republic of learning" has values that it prizes above all others: freedom (not just academic freedom), nondiscrimination (you will be heard regardless of your sex, race, ethnicity, religion), and equality of opportunity. It is not a mere coincidence that these are also the values, if at times distorted or forgotten, of our country. Nor is it a coincidence that the culture envisioned by Jane and Leland Stanford, as put forward in the 1885 Founding Grant for the University, comprised "teaching the blessings of liberty regulated by law, and inculcating love and reverence for the great principles of government as derived from the inalienable rights of man to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." These purposes are not a coincidence, because studies cannot blossom and minds cannot move unless these rights prevail, unless the wind of freedom blows, not only at the university but also in the wider society. "The wind of freedom blows" - Die Luft der Freiheit weht - is the motto that appears in the seal of the President of Stanford University. It was chosen by Stanford's first president, David Starr Jordan. In a symbolic expression of the fact that the "republic of learning" knows no national or cultural boundaries President Jordan employed the motto that can be traced to the humanist Ulrich von Hutten in German rather than English. In June I wrote a letter to all Stanford alumni in which I discussed undergraduate education. The letter triggered responses from hundreds of our former students. Among them was one from Walter Pendergrass in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Pendergrass told me how, after the first train ride of his life, he arrived in September of 1942, "a very unsophisticated, shy and apprehensive seventeen and a half year old." He concluded his reminiscences by writing, and I quote: "So what do I remember from yesterday and hope for today, and tomorrow? A Stanford where there is a warm and honest welcoming to all; where there is exciting, challenging and rewarding opportunity to learn academically and to be a positive part of the world; and where there is opportunity to reflect that we are but a very small part of a very big picture." This is one summary of what I hope for you, the Stanford college class of 1997. It is also, in a way, a summary of what I have said this afternoon, if in a somewhat more elaborate and complicated way. It is an expression of the "Stanford spirit." Once again, Stanford extends a "warm and honest" welcome to all of you and to your families and wishes you an "exciting, challenging, and rewarding opportunity to learn" so that you may experience the pleasures that come from studies blossoming and minds moving.