Mike Pence's Stanford talk an apparent go after university council steps into the fray

Mike Pence's Feb. 17 event at Stanford University is apparently going forward after the school's Constitutional Council ruled that the Undergraduate Student Senate's funding denial was unconstitutional.

The ruling, however, did not determine whether the Senate applied viewpoint discrimination during its Dec. 7 meeting on the issue.

Stanford University’s College Republicans achieved a victory Jan. 25 that apparently clears the way for the organization to host Former Vice President Mike Pence on Campus next week.

After initial funding for the event was denied by the Undergraduate Student Senate in November, as Campus Reform previously reported, the College Republicans chapter appealed to the university’s Constitutional Council, claiming a First Amendment violation. 

The Council unanimously voted to hear the case. The body then decided that the Senate’s ruling was unconstitutional due to a subsequent vote on the issue in December. 

Of the 13 senators that attended the meeting, 5 voted in favor of the grant while 8 abstained. According to the Council, the abstained votes cannot be counted against the request.

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”We thus do not ‘nullify the vote’; we nullify the Senate’s presiding officer’s incorrect declaration that the vote did not pass,” the Council’s opinion stated. “In other words, the Council does not force the Senate to allocate funding; it simply clarifies the Senate’s own action to grant funding.”

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), who has assisted the group through the process, tweeted about the opinion the following day. 

”The council ruled that the abstentions did not qualify as ‘no’ votes, so the vote was effectively five senators in favor of the funding with none opposed,” Graham Piro, FIRE Program Officer, Individual Rights Defense Program explained to Campus Reform.

The Council expressed additional concerns regarding electoral transparency. The first November meeting regarding the funding was held via Slack, an online communication platform. The second meeting, held via Zoom Dec. 7, failed to meet the 24-hour public notice- violating constitutional procedure. 

FIRE is still actively monitoring the situation, citing recently the fact that the Council did not rule on whether the Senate engaged in viewpoint discrimination. 

”The council’s decision deliberately did not reach the question of viewpoint discrimination, as the student senate’s procedural snafus provided sufficient grounds for resolving the matter,” FIRE wrote in its article on the ruling. 

As Campus Reform previously reported, senators can be heard objecting to the funding based on opposition to Pence in leaked audio from the Dec. 7 meeting.

Regardless, FIRE is optimistic about the outcome of the ruling.

”The event looks like it is going to be able to proceed,” Piro said.

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On Wednesday, the Stanford College Republicans announced the event had been secured for Feb. 17 in partnership with Young America’s Foundation.

”For those of you who have been waiting in eager expectation, and despite the left’s failed attempts to stop us, SCR is happy to officially announce that we will be hosting Vice President... Pence at Stanford,” the group posted on Instagram.

Pence’s speech will be titled “How To Save America From The Woke Left.”

The post continued, “Come join us and the Vice President as he makes the case for ‘How to Save America from the Woke Left’ at one of the institutions where wokeism first achieved ascendency.”

Campus Reform contacted the Constitutional Council, the College Republicans, and Stanford University for comment. This article will be updated accordingly.

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