At noon on Tuesday, Stanford College Republicans (SCR) hosted an event in White Plaza with the signs “Kavanaugh is innocent until Proven Guilty” and “Change My Mind.” Hours later, SCR made a post on its Facebook page to dox and make unequivocal claims denigrating Melinda Hernandez (and all Stanford liberals) without any substantive proof:
“Today, SCR experienced the violent and totalitarian behavior of the unhinged Stanford left. During a ‘Change My Mind’ tabling event regarding the presumption of innocence and the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, SCR’s President was assaulted by Melinda Hernandez. A sophomore at Stanford, Hernandez approached our President, hit him in chest and forcefully pushed him back. (Hernandez is shown in the striped top below).
Our President is pressing full charges against Hernandez. Violence is completely unacceptable, and we will not allow anyone to get away with it.”
Does anyone else see the irony? If not, read again.
SCR’s Facebook posts demonstrate that it doesn’t care about due process or rule of law—its judgment is clear. Stanford College Republicans don’t want to prevent violence—their only concern is how to use it to their advantage.
Did SCR care about the violence Professor David Palumbo-Liu faced from death threats after John Rice-Cameron and Anna Mitchell published a salacious hit piece in the Stanford Review? Did SCR care when Robert Spencer published students’ personal information and his followers sent them threatening emails? Did SCR care about the threats that Hamzeh Daoud received after SCR distorted and magnified the negative impact of what would have otherwise been a short-sighted and ill-considered post? Did SCR care about the rhetoric of violence when John Rice-Cameron wrote Niall Ferguson describing SCR’s intention: “Slowly, we will continue to crush the Left’s will to resist, as they will crack under pressure”?
I write to the Stanford administration and to my fellow student body: Is this now the feeling of being “crush[ed],” of being “crack[ed] under pressure?” On Tuesday, I stood helpless in White Plaza amid a crowd of concerned, courageous students, and across from us, the six or seven Stanford College Republicans, a police officer and a police car to their front.
I stood there with worry and trepidation, not because of the event, but because of the process that was and is yet inevitably to come. The unsubstantiated claims that the College Republicans will bombastically dramatize on its social media. The heavily biased Fox News-Breitbart-Jihad Watch articles. The hate mail and death threats that Hernandez will receive. It’s a familiar and disorienting process.
The Stanford College Republicans’ strategy is clever and multi-faceted. It’s not a fluke that on a campus where only 8-9 percent of students identify as conservative and only only 4% percent supported Trump’s election, this small group has been able to have such a disproportionate and negative impact on the Stanford body.
Their 60 members and 10 regulars who religiously show up to events and help plan have learned to appropriate left-wing activist tactics, like recording encounters with police for safety, and use them against fellow students to provoke them.
Instead of promoting dialogue, the group aims to goad. Liberal students are unable to level a proper response. Either they choose not to respond and have their views and existence attacked, or they can engage and expend endless energy refuting baseless, empirically rejected, claims like “[Planned Parenthood] depends on the government for blood money to bankroll their perpetual genocide against the unborn” (SCR Facebook comment 9/25) or “There is arguably no greater threat to the safety and security of the American people than radical Islamic terrorism.”
Maybe Stanford will one day take action. Maybe not. Either way we can be sure that as of now, it will not be SCR bearing the consequences of its actions. As has been demonstrated time and time again—and as the most recent assault charge directly shows—the pressure for a “liberal institution” like Stanford to appear non-partisan has rendered the Stanford College Republicans untouchable.
Editor’s note: a previous version of this article stated, “Did SCR care last November when Robert Spencer published students’ personal information and his followers sent them threatening emails?” The phrase “last November” has been excised to clarify that this dynamic did not apply only to Mr. Spencer’s campus visit.
Contact Justin Wilck at jwilck ‘at’ stanford.edu.