Stanford stands down as students disrupt conservative speech

  • Student protesters staged a walk-out during a speech Tuesday night at Stanford University featuring Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch.
  • Although an overflow crowd was positioned outside the auditorium in hopes of gaining access, administrators did not allow them to take the seats vacated by the protesters despite repeated appeals from Spencer.

Protesters staged a walk-out during Robert Spencer’s Tuesday night appearance at Stanford University, leaving most of the auditorium empty, even as overflow crowds were denied entry.

Spencer is the current director of Jihad Watch, an organization founded by David Horowitz, who was also recently protested during a lecture at the University of Houston. The two both take a critical approach to the Islamic religion, with recent talks discussing the supposed “terror network” on college campuses.

"The idea that ideas are to be rejected on the basis of whether they are acceptable to various elites—that’s just the opposite of what free discourse really is."   

According to a video of the event, dozens of students proceeded to stand up and leave shortly after Spencer’s speech started, taking several minutes to exit the venue, during which time one of the protesters kicked a microphone that had fallen to the floor during the disruption.

[RELATED: Panel on civil discourse shut down by uncivil protesters]

“The idea that ideas are to be rejected on the basis of whether they are acceptable to various elites—that’s just the opposite of what free discourse really is. And so these Stanford people who just left are actually behaving in a way that’s completely in opposition to what a university ought to be,” Spencer remarked as the protesters exited the auditorium, later asking administrators to allow the overflow crowd outside to occupy the vacated seats.

“I do hope that the Stanford administrators will let some of the people who wanted to come in get in now. Can we make that happen?” he asked, though his efforts ultimately proved futile as he rebuked the administration at the end of his lecture for failing to fulfill his request.

“They said this afternoon that they would not prevent people from disrupting this event, and they did not allow people to come in who wanted to come in afterward when we specifically requested that repeatedly,” he commented.

According to Young America’s Foundation (YAF), which sponsored the event, there “was a large group of Stanford students outside,” yet “administrators refused to allow anyone else in the hall.”

[RELATED: Students storm library, shut down College Republicans meeting]

“Stanford’s leftist administrators and students are either too scared they might hear a conservative idea they agree with, or too incompetent to place their own ideas up against a conservative’s in a public forum,” YAF further commented.

Campus Reform reached out to Stanford for a comment on the matter, and is currently awaiting a response.

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Anthony Gockowski
Anthony Gockowski | Contributing Editor/Investigative Reporter

Anthony Gockowski is the Contributing Editor and an Investigative Reporter for Campus Reform. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, Intercollegiate Review, The Catholic Spirit, and The College Fix. In 2015, he was named a fellow for the Student Free Press Association. His reporting is regularly featured on Drudge Report, Fox News, National Review, and more.

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