News and Commentary

Stanford University Tries, Fails To Silence A Conservative Think Tank

   DailyWire.com
A general view of the Stanford University campus showing the arches of the Main Quadrangle buildings and Hoover Tower before a NCAA Pac-12 football game between the Stanford Cardinal and the Arizona State University Sun Devils played on September 30, 2017 at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California.
David Madison/Getty Images

Earlier this month, a group of Stanford University professors presented and published a memo accusing Hoover Institute fellows of being conservative, which they are, but argued they needed to be censured because the majority of the Stanford community disagreed with their views.

It appears the professors’ attempt to silence the Hoover fellows has failed, according to The Federalist.

“Despite a months-long campaign of demonization directed at Victor Davis Hanson, Niall Ferguson, and Scott Atlas — amplified with support from The Stanford Daily — the assault ended without condemnation of the trio or Hoover,” the outlet reported.

As the three fellows wrote last week, Stanford’s president, provost, and former provost defended the think tank and academic freedom in general.

Instead of the public condemnation and silencing demanded by the Stanford professors, Provost Persis Drell and Hoover Institute director Condoleezza Rice were asked to “to present a report to the body later this year about ‘increasing interaction’ between the university and the think tank,” The Federalist reported.

This is far from the “faculty-controlled committee” the professor’s wanted to “investigate Hoover” and its fellows.

As The Federalist noted, this “isn’t a victory for academic freedom over the forces of groupthink repression.”

“Rather, it’s a demonstration of the vulnerability of the vast majority of scholars who dissent from leftist orthodoxy and aren’t ensconced in a well-funded independent institution,” the outlet wrote.

As The Daily Wire previously reported, the professors’ accusations were able to malign the three Hoover fellows. It is also not the first time Stanford has attempted to cut ties with Hoover, a public policy think tank focused on “promoting the principles of individual, economic, and political freedom”:

In February 2019, for example, the university’s faculty senate heavily criticized Hoover for being conservative, calling its ideological adherence to conservative principles “intellectually bankrupt.” This month, the student-run newspaper Stanford Daily attacked Hoover fellows “without contacting them and giving them a reasonable amount of time to respond, in contravention of the paper’s own “Policies and Standards,” the fellows wrote. In November, the paper’s editorial board called on Stanford “to separate itself from Hoover.”

In addition to the public attacks, the fellows wrote, they are also excluded from Stanford’s Academic Council even though they are also fellows at Stanford. Hoover fellows are also not represented on the faculty senate “unless they hold a joint appointment with a Stanford department” and are therefore not able to defend themselves from faculty attacks.

The professors accused Atlas of violating “the American Medical Association’s standards for ethical medical conduct” while serving as an adviser to President Donald Trump and accused him of being helping to cause the deaths of “tens of thousands of Americans.”

They accused Hanson of writing articles that “formed the backdrop to an insurrection that cost 5 lives and threatened the lives of Representatives, Congressional staff, and the Vice President, as well as our constitutional democracy.” Those articles actually pointed out issues with mail-in and early voting and changes to state voting laws — problems they say were also acknowledged by scholars at Stanford University Law School. Hanson, they wrote, never questioned the legitimacy of the election and condemned the January 6 riot at the Capitol.

Finally, they accused Ferguson of “conspire[ing] with College Republicans to conduct ‘opposition research’ on a Stanford undergraduate.” The fellows note that the conspiracy never happened and the research was never conducted.

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