Stanford law dean: "Nobody told me"

I got an email today from the dean of Stanford Law School, Jenny Martinez. Of course, it was about the Federalist Society satire incident at Stanford that I wrote about over the past day or two. Martinez wrote in part:

Dear Stanford Law Alumni: 

I am writing to update you on the Fundamental Standard complaint against one of our students and resulting coverage in the national media. 

First and foremost, I want to acknowledge how upsetting the last 48 hours have been for our entire community and, especially, for the student at the center of this problematic process. Understandably, the story has generated a number of questions and concerns. 

As media reports indicate, members of the Federalist Society filed a complaint under Stanford University's Fundamental Standard against a classmate who had sent a satirical email in January announcing a fictitious Federalist Society event entitled the "Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection." As reported in the media, the complaint alleges that the email "impersonated" and "defamed" them. 

In accordance with university procedures, a complaint was received and processed by the university's Office of Community Standards, not the law school. I personally first learned about this complaint on Tuesday, June 1 and the university resolved the matter on Wednesday, June 2 concluding that this was constitutionally protected speech and ending the complaint process. 

Unfortunately, some of the media coverage yesterday and today mistakenly attributes the university process to Stanford Law School. No one in the SLS administration had any role in placing the graduation hold, and we were shocked when we learned about it. I would never have approved such a thing.

Stanford Law School is strongly committed to free speech, is concerned about actions and climate that have the potential to chill speech, and has shared these concerns with the university. When I became aware of this particular situation, I strongly urged the university to consider whether it needs procedures that more quickly resolve whether constitutionally protected speech is involved in a Fundamental Standard complaint, and also the policies and procedures that led to their placing a graduation hold on this student on the eve of final exams. As the university's statement notes: 

"We have seen an increase in the number and complexity of student cases involving free speech, student judicial policies and the California Leonard Law. We will continue to review policies and practices relating to these to ensure ongoing compliance. We are also reviewing procedures for placing holds on student accounts in judicial cases in close proximity to graduation to ensure that holds are limited to cases for which the outcome could be serious enough to affect the timing of degree conferral." 

I think it is imperative that we take action to ensure that something like this does not happen again and will be working with faculty colleagues at the law school and around the university to do that....

So the university blocks a law student's diploma, and the dean of the law school doesn't find out about it until she reads about it on the internet. Great!

It's amazing that the dean would say, "It's not the Law School, it's the University." Aren't they the same thing? When the dudes at the Hoover Institution were spouting out Trumpian nonsense on TV week after week, the faculty were told by the provost types, "We are Hoover. Get over it."

They are Hoover, but they are not the Law School. Crazy.

Anyway, before we leave this sorry story, a word or two about the snowflakes at the Federalist Society, who complained that an obvious satirist "impersonated" and "defamed" them. Who are these poor, downtrodden victims of abuse? According to the law school website, here is the current slate of officers:

Get a good look at the names. In a couple of years, several of them will be clerking on the Supreme Court for the likes of Justices Budweiser and Handmaid. They'll draft erudite opinions denying the rights of women and the votes of people of color. In 20 years, a couple of them may even be justices themselves, limiting the civil liberties of our grandchildren. But they'll never forget that time that someone made a joke about them in law school, and they got even. It felt so good.