The Daily Wire’s Andrew Klavan will be speaking at Stanford University on Tuesday evening as part of his “Klavan on the Culture” tour, in collaboration with Young America’s Foundation. But not everyone at Stanford is thrilled to get a visit from podcaster and “Another Kingdom” author.
Two Stanford admins, Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Dean for Religious Life Tiffany Steinwert say they are “deeply troubled” by Klavan and the “views [he] has expressed in the past in relation to Islam” — particularly that some members of the Muslim faith have a tendency towards violence.
According to a statement posted to Stanford’s website the pair, who claim to support free speech but seem to want heavy limits on what sort of “free speech” is acceptable in their general vicinity, say they understand that Stanford students may suffer emotional and psychological distress at the mere thought of Klavan speaking on campus.
“We understand it can be deeply frustrating and painful to see speakers invited to campus whose ideologies disparage members of our community,” they say. “Acknowledging this pain, we nonetheless encourage you to look beyond the sensationalism of speakers whose currency is controversy to the examples of people joining together across difference and standing in solidarity even in the face of hatred and slander.”
They cite a handful of poor examples for their twin charges of “hatred” and “slander,” including that “Klavan distorts the tenets of the Muslim faith, equating Islam with violence and barbarism,” and that the event was planned during “the holy month of Ramadan.”
As if that weren’t enough, Brubaker-Cole and Steinwert also took aim at YAF students on Stanford’s campus, accusing the group of “publicity tactics that have targeted Muslim students.”
YAF’s crime? Hanging posters promoting the event, some of which made their way to the campus’s Muslim community center. As YAF points out, their publicity efforts pale in comparison to those of the Students for Justice in Palestine Club, who papered the campus with anti-Semitic posters in response to an appearance from Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro.
The pair of administrators conclude their plea with their own … interesting … interpretation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, seemingly proposing that the guarantees of free speech be tempered by considerations of propriety — thought they don’t specify whose definition of propriety.
We are committed to free expression of diverse opinions,” the administrators wrote. “At the same time, as a campus we aim to model responsible use of free speech … just because speech is protected does not mean that it is ethical, moral, and/or responsible.”
Free speech, as YAF notes, is simply too free, and Stanford’s administration would prefer a modicum of self-censorship, or, as they put it, a commitment to “aspire to a higher set of standards than the bare minimum letter of the law.”
Andrew Klavan himself pointed out the problem with their “commitment” to Constitutional principles: “As we learned on Game of Thrones,” Klavan said in a statement Tuesday afternoon, “nothing you say before ‘but’ really matters. If you believe in free speech but … you don’t believe in free speech.”
Klavan’s speech will take place Tuesday evening at 7 pm PST at Stanford’s Geology Corner Auditorium. Tickets are free of charge, but first come, first served.