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A letter to President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell on Dinesh D’Souza

Authors’ Note: This article contains references to sexual assault, suicide, racism, homophobia, misogyny, violence and quotes of offensive statements that may be troubling to some readers.

Dear President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell:

Under the Fundamental Standard, “students are expected to respect and uphold the rights and dignity of others regardless of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or socio-economic status.” Stanford also calls upon all members of its community to treat “others with respect, integrity, honesty, and fairness.” The Stanford College Republicans’ invitation of Dinesh D’Souza violates these key principles by which our community is required to abide.

Dinesh D’Souza has built a career out of homophobic, racist, anti-Semitic and misogynistic speech. In college, he outed multiple gay classmates in a student publication, leading one peer to contemplate suicide. Since then, he has retweeted the hashtags “#burntheJews” and “#bringbackslavery.” He has made numerous racist statements in his book “The End of Racism,” including that American slaves were treated “pretty well.” He has accused Holocaust survivor George Soros of being a Nazi collaborator. And he has tweeted about “fake sexual assault victims,” propagating dangerous myths about survivors.

Furthermore, his ‘scholarship’ is antithetical to Stanford’s avowed academic principles. Victor Davis Hanson, a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, has called D’Souza’s work nonsensical and morally vile. D’Souza frequently engages in personal attacks against those with whom he disagrees, including mocking survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. We encourage you to read more about his moral repugnance.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time Stanford College Republicans have brought harm upon our community.

Last year, Stanford College Republicans invited Robert Spencer, a self-described Islamophobe, to speak about “Jihad and the Dangers of Radical Islam.” He actively targeted Stanford students who spoke out against his hatred, posting photos of them on Twitter and his blog, Jihad Watch, and issued a call-to-arms to his alt-right followers to come counter our student action at the event.

In a November 2017 Quad Blog post, you stated:

“We worry about the experiences of vulnerable or silenced populations within our community – those who seek an environment where their identities are welcomed, not challenged by hate or ignorance. We cannot dismiss their concerns, and we certainly don’t want them to remain silent. Instead we must continually find ways of providing meaningful support. Our university’s places of worship, community centers, and student organizations provide some of this support. We also will continue to call out hate when we see it” [Emphasis added].

We call on Stanford to meet its own standard. As of Feb. 25, 2019, our university’s top administrators have been silent. There has been no outreach to the communities most affected by D’Souza’s presence on campus. In the face of this harmful event, students of color, Jewish students, womxn and queer students have heard nothing from our university leadership.

We urge Stanford to both denounce Dinesh D’Souza’s abhorrent rhetoric as well as Stanford College Republicans’ habitual invitation of hateful speakers. The ethical standards of our university are at stake, but more importantly, so is the wellbeing of our community.

Sincerely,

Kimiko Estella Hirota ’20 & Bryce Tuttle ’20

Contact Kimiko Hirota at kimikohi ‘at’ stanford.edu.

Contact Bryce Tuttle at btuttle ‘at’ stanford.edu. 

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