Washington Examiner: Stanford Republicans blocked from using private funds for D'Souza event

Originally posted at Washington Examiner by Lauren Cooley & Anthony Leonardi.

College Republicans at Stanford University would like to bring Dinesh D’Souza to campus this spring, but restrictive policies may keep that from happening.

The College Republicans at Stanford have been working to bring D’Souza to campus since October, but the student senate keeps denying their 2018-2019 budget requests, and keeps prolonging negotiations over security fees for the event.

More troubling, however, is that Stanford issued a new university policy when the Republican students found private donors to cover the exorbitant security fees demanded by the student government, totaling upwards of $19,000 at one point. The new rule requires at least 50 percent of event costs come from university funding—something of concern when the university won’t give conservative students enough funding to make up half of one single honoraria.

“We really do not want Stanford’s money. We have a donor who has agreed to cover everything. Even though the event can happen without a dime of Stanford’s money, Stanford is still blocking it,” Quinn Barry, Stanford College Republicans’ Executive Director, told us.

After three months of ever-changing requirements, the Stanford College Republicans are accusing the school of blocking conservative speakers from campus via arbitrary rules which would rarely apply to any other student group on campus.

In a statement, the group said:

“Since day one, this administration, which frequently claims to have a commitment to protecting free speech, has put up roadblock after roadblock in order to stop Dinesh D’Souza from speaking on campus. Their strategy could be summarized briefly in three words: delay, delay, delay. Stanford is hoping that by delaying enough times, [we] will give up on its mission of bringing conservative ideas on a campus where a liberal orthodoxy is dominant. However, we absolutely refuse to give up this fight for the soul of Stanford University.”

This policy change follows the implementation of a new position created for the Associated Students of Stanford University: Director of Academic Freedom. While this position sounds like one that would encourage academic inquiry and free speech, the newly appointed Director of Academic Freedom, Zintis Inde has gone on the record stating opposition to those fighting the “free speech wars.” The College Republicans chapter at Stanford has concerns regarding Inde’s statements and appointment, and believes Inde was actually appointed “to silence conservative students.”

When asked about the D’Souza invitation in October 2018, Inde told the Stanford Daily: “Racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, religious hatred, and other forms of hate and discrimination against marginalized communities are antithetical to the values of our Stanford community. In our current political climate, some Stanford students may espouse these views or provide a platform for others who promote them in order to cast themselves as martyrs in the ‘free speech wars’ that these individuals are intent on waging.”

To the Stanford College Republicans, that’s the opposite of what they hoped to hear from a so-called director of academic freedom. “Our fears about this role were first confirmed when, after multiple [Stanford College Republicans] members applied for the job, thinking it was designed to promote free speech, the ASSU chose a Democratic partisan, who has since smeared [Stanford College Republicans] repeatedly,” the group said in a statement.

Now the Stanford College Republicans are demanding an apology from Inde.

“Dinesh D’Souza is not a racist. He is not a sexist. And he is not a xenophobe. He is an immigrant academic who epitomizes the American Dream. … We demand that Inde apologize for his libelous and defamatory characterization of Dinesh D’Souza. Maybe, if he actually believed in free speech and open dialogue, he would come listen to D’Souza and change his mind.”

Stanford University did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication. The Stanford College Republicans hope to bring D’Souza to the Palo Alto campus this spring. But they will be forbidden from advertising the event, per campus rules, until they can pay for 50 percent of the event through group funds given to them by the university—another restriction on free speech.

Read more at Washington Examiner.


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