This story contains references to gun violence that may be troubling to some readers.
The president of Stanford College Republicans, Stephen Sills ’22, sent an invitation and registration form for a Second Amendment workshop on Sept. 22. Several people have since reported the contents of the form as an Act of Intolerance.
In addition to collecting basic information about the prospective participants, including a non-Stanford email address, the original registration form (which has since been edited) sent to the SCR mailing list contained references to Kyle Rittenhouse, who was charged with first degree intentional homicide after killing two people and severely injuring a third in a counterprotest in Kenosha, Wis.
A question on the form asked “Did K*le R*ttenh**se do anything wrong?” The form offered the following options as a response: “No,” “Yes. He tagged #3 but didn’t bag him” and “Decline to answer without a lawyer present.”
According to ASSU spokesperson, Cricket Bidleman ’21, numerous people have reported the form as an AOI.
“I think it’s clear that the first draft of the form was incredibly insensitive, considering that these are references to current events that are happening because the reality is that Black people are being shot and that is not something that should be taken lightly,” Bidleman said. “I think what matters here is the impact that that had on people which overall was incredibly negative, it was traumatizing.”
Bidleman said she has been in communications with the Office of Student Engagement and was later referred to the Office of Inclusion, Community, and Integrative Learning. University services offered to brainstorm possible support for students like training on how to intervene and or a space to process.
“We should not have to deal with this on our own, because we don’t have the experience to be able to deal with this effectively, in a way that doesn’t damage our mental and emotional health,” Bidleman said.
In a statement to The Daily, Senior Director of Student Engagement Snehal Naik wrote that should students find any contents disturbing or concerning, they should refer to the Acts of Intolerance and the Office of Community Standards.
“On campus, speech that is constitutionally protected is best addressed by communicating impact, and this can be done through individualized or group educational intervention,” Naik wrote.
Asked about students’ complaints, Sills wrote in a statement to The Daily that “we have not heard of any discontent caused by this event other than what leftists at the Daily have expressed.”
According to the email, the workshop’s goal was to educate the group members on how to “procure and maintain a firearm under the letter of the law as well-informed and responsible American Citizens” and “dispel false notions” of “ignorance, fear, and hysteria” related to the Second Amendment.
Although the form was sent to the SCR mailing list, it was not sponsored by the organization; rather members made the form and organized the event independently. According to Sills, this was the reason why the student organizers asked for non-Stanford emails of the participants.
While the workshop was not officially organized by SCR, Sills wrote that “this is something we would have loved to officially sponsor.”
The form’s headline states that “all scary-looking ‘assault words’ have been replaced with friendly, California compliant versions,” adding that making these changes “served no purpose.”
“It’s obvious by looking at the wording of the form that certain parts are satirical,” Sills wrote. “We suggest that anyone concerned with the wording of the form try and have a sense of humor.”
Sills says he found the uproar caused by the workshop concerning as students “have paid many a blind eye to the multitude of emails and back door meetings on Stanford lists complicitly endorsing the rioting and looting taking place across our country, while also educating students on how they can better flagrantly disobey the law.”
Sills and SCR added that they would like to encourage those for whom this survey is uncomfortable to reflect on the reasons why this form made them upset and “to do some serious soul searching.”
Bidleman, on the other hand, has a “relatively easy” question for the University.
“Are you willing to condemn racism, discrimination and all activities that are racist and discriminatory? And if you are, are you willing to ask that these kinds of activities stop?”
If the answer is yes, Bidleman urges the administration to “do it, help us figure out a way that we can do it.”
According to the Student Affairs website, after an AOI is filed, a Student Affairs staff member will review the report and give the reporter a “curated response and options for next steps depending on circumstance and [their] wishes.”