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In response to Trump’s proposed executive order

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.

Do conservatives belong at Stanford?

No one has ever doubted that the Hoover Institution, a think tank and research center named after Republican president Herbert Hoover, leans conservative. Its fellows have shaped American domestic and foreign policy under nearly every president for the past 50 years. Despite this prestigious service to our university and our country, several members of the faculty senate suddenly decided they had had enough of the sole conservative institution on campus. Professor Kenneth Taylor called the Hoover Institution’s conservative ideology “intellectually bankrupt.” In a published statement last Friday, over a dozen Stanford professors described Hoover’s commitment to its mission statement, as ‘constraining’ and “antithetical to the spirit of open inquiry that is a fundamental element of liberal education.”