Following conservative outcry over protests of right-wing speakers on college campuses, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that threatens the denial of federal grants to colleges who do not uphold free speech on their campuses.
On Saturday, President Trump announced his intention to issue an executive order requiring American universities to maintain “free speech” on their campuses and threatened to withdraw federal funding from noncompliant institutions. Practical considerations aside – it’s not clear how this plan would be enacted – Trump’s message should trouble Stanford students because of the ways it mischaracterizes the state of free speech at schools like our own. These mischaracterizations feed into a narrative that has the potential to stifle, rather than protect, free speech on Stanford’s campus.
The ASSU also noted that it would be hosting a Town Hall with the Undergraduate Senate on Jan. 17, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in White Plaza.
During its second meeting of the quarter, the Faculty Senate heard ASSU executives Shanta Katipamula ’19 and Ph.D candidate in education Rosie Nelson outline their goals for the 2018-2019 school year, with particular attention paid to forming partnerships between Stanford students, faculty and staff.
On Oct. 2, the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) reintroduced the goals for its cabinet positions this year, with one of the positions being the newly created ASSU Director of Academic Freedom. Among the position’s stated goals is to work with University administration to ensure free exchange of ideas while making sure speakers invited by student groups uphold the Honor Code and Fundamental Standard.
If you had a long-standing friendship with someone who you later discovered had been convicted of racketeering and fraud and had willfully misled you about their role in killing countless innocent individuals, wouldn’t you question whether the door to that friendship should remain open? Apparently that is not the case with Stanford University, who keeps the door wide open to its long-standing friendship with the criminal tobacco industry, remaining open to accepting tobacco research money, as justified by Stanford’s claim of “academic freedom.”