Widgets Magazine

GSC denies funding for controversial “anti-LGBT” event

Last Wednesday evening, the Graduate Student Council (GSC) denied funding for an event hosted by the Stanford Anscombe Society (SAS) following community outcry over alleged “anti-LGBT” content.

SAS’s April conference, titled “Communicating Values,” has a two-fold purpose, according to SAS president Judith Romea ’14, between educating attendees on the public policy issues surrounding marriage and family and exploring how media, entertainment and technology can be used to better facilitate the communication underlying marriage and the family.

SAS had sought $600 in honoraria funds from the GSC for conference speakers. However, members of GradQ, the queer graduate student organization, criticized the speaker list–which included Robert Lopez, Kellie Fiedorek and Ryan Anderson–as inappropriately controversial.

Bringing the speakers to Stanford would threaten the safety of campus for the queer population, according to Brianne Huntsman ’15, who started a Facebook event to organize a rally at the GSC meeting on Wednesday night.

“A lot of students who are queer come to Stanford because it’s one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world,” Huntsman said. “I grew up in Utah, where it was really conservative and a lot of us come from similar backgrounds, and we feel that we every time we go home. Stanford is supposed to be a safe space for us.”

The GSC anticipated the influx of members from the community and changed rooms for its weekly meeting last Wednesday to accommodate the nearly 100 people who made it out to the council meeting.

GSC member Eduardo González-Maldonado, a developmental biology graduate student, emphasized the challenges facing the GSC as it made a decision. The GSC had previously deferred the decision whether to approve the funding for the event or not for an extra week.

“This issue walks a very fine line between the freedom of speech and the discrimination of a minority, but no one has anything but the right intentions in mind,” González-Maldonado said of the GSC members’ votes.

The GSC eventually voted 10-2 against funding SAS at the end of an extended meeting.

As a general fees group, SAS also reached out to the Undergraduate Senate for $5,000 in funding. However, the appropriations committee met with the group on Thursday night and voted not to recommend their funding application.

According to Senate Chair Ben Holston ’15, one senator voted in favor of recommending the request, while four expressed opposition and one abstained.

Despite the lack of funding, SAS’s Communicating Values Conference will still go on, according to Romea. The group will seek funding from local organizations, a process which will be in compliance with University guidelines for event funding.

In hopes of decreasing the tension between the two groups, GradQ offered to co-sponsor an event in lieu of the conference that SAS would have put together. However, SAS decided that the conference could not be replaced.

“We really do appreciate GradQ’s willingness to co-sponsor an event, and it’s an offer that we’ve accepted, but we felt that such an offer could not supplant the conference,” Romea said, explaining that reforming their conference would render their viewpoint censored. “We are very eager to co-sponsor…events in the future–[the proposal] just cannot supplant the current plans.”


Contact Catherine Zaw at czaw13 ‘at’ Stanford ‘dot’ edu.

About Catherine Zaw

Catherine Zaw was formerly the Managing Editor of News for Vol. 245 and Vol. 246. To contact her, please email czaw13@gmail.com.
  • cbl

    When’s Stanford going to call the Bible “hate speech”…book burning anyone.

  • terbreugghen

    Apparently the powers that be are making SAS “feel very unwanted.” Is that now an actionable offense on American campuses? My how things have changed on our intellectual high grounds. I thought reasoned debate was the goal of our universities. I guess I was wrong. Now it seems the goal is that no one feel unwanted. Except traditional conservative thinkers, that is.

  • terbreugghen

    No one is denied the right to marry. It is the definition and limit of what qualifies as a legitimate and legal marriage in the eyes of the state that is the center of the issue. Sexual orientation is not now and never has been an issue in this quesiton. If a queer guy and a lesbian decided to marry for convenience, it would be considered by the state to be a legal marriage. It would be nice to cut through the distracting rhetoric and hammer out a new cultural convention that makes sense instead of playing victim/identity politics. But BAMN appears to be the dominant feature of our current medium of cultural dialogue. More’s the pity.

  • Terbreugghen

    Add calling the dissenter gay to the list of lame responses. . . Come on, now, we can do better. Really.

  • Terbreugghen

    Its pretty clear what really went on. During the second meeting, the GSC was intimidated by the LGBT crowd into cancelling funding. The SAS correctly predicted that an open forum with the invited speakers would become a circus of hate-filled protestors eager for their 15 seconds of airtime in support of the LGBT orthodoxy, and precious little would be accomplished. I don’t blame SAS one bit. And it does seem to me that it wouldn’t take much searching to come up with well-funded and highly questionable events at Stanford that would make the funding refusal look like the obvious result of politically correct intimidation.

  • Daniel Berger

    Gays already have the right to marry — as long as it is a union between one man and one woman, a restriction that applies to straight people as well. Therefore there is no denial of equal protection.

  • geezer117

    Just say the obvious: Universities, particularly Ivy League universities, censor conservative speech, deny a forum for conservative Americans, and tolerate violent demonstrations to shut down conservative speakers.

  • The Independent Whig

    Ideology and morality differ in the degree to which they employ six psychological predispositions that evolved in humans to help us recognize social situations that might harm or help us. They are care/harm, fairness/cheating, liberty/oppression, loyalty/betrayal, authority/subversion, and purity/degradation These are tools of both kinds of cognition – intuition and reason – described in the book “Thinking Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman.

    Liberal morality and cognition use the first three almost exclusively, and of those mostly just “care.”
    Conservatism uses all six in equal balance. See “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt.

    This explains the thinking of liberals at Stanford around this conference on marriage.

    When half of morality is external to one’s intuitive and rational cognitive universe one has no logical, rational alternative but to conclude that those who don’t share one’s ideology or morality must be, can
    only be, afflicted with some sort of cognitive, emotional, psychological, or social disorder, like “hate,” racism, misogynism, lack of empathy, greed, etc.

    As R. R. Reno said in an article in “First Things” called “Our One Eyed Friends” in which he reviewed Haidt’s work, “Thus the profound problem we face. Liberalism is blind in one eye–yet it insists on the superiority of its vision and its supreme right to rule. It cannot see half the things a governing philosophy must see, and claims that those who see both halves are thereby unqualified to govern.”

    Here’s a Venn diagram of the foundations of morality and ideology based on Haidt’s work, from http://www.theindependentwhig.com :

  • Arlingtonvirginia

    I do pray liberals stop talking about “marriage equality” while thinking they should be able to deny polygamists and incestuous consenting adults from marrying. Kind of hard to claim you support “marriage equality” while denying them the same rights you claim you want. That makes you a hateful, intolerant bigot, and in addition, a hypocrite, worse than the people you call bigots.

  • momofthree3

    Gay parents who purchase either sperm or egg and/or rent wombs are essentially supporting and furthering a form of prostitution. They are buying the services of the fertile person. It is exploitative in the extreme. It is beyond understanding how they can reconcile this idea with morality. The same goes for a heterosexual couple who does the same, but at least that child will be raised with a mother and a father. Yes, there are some gay couples who adopt unwanted children, but many, many are purchasing their child. Supporting someone else’s decision to sell their child (egg or sperm) is abhorrent.

  • hopewell

    So if the LGBT community wants to host a conference advocating same sex marriage, the GSC must turn them down because it “threatens the safety of campus” for the straight population. Right?

  • Stanford student