In a lengthy memorandum to the Stanford Law School community on Wednesday, Dean Jenny Martinez shared further thoughts on the disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan’s speech on March 9, 2023, as well as next steps the Law School is taking.

Read the full message.

Martinez explained why protest of speakers is allowed but disruption is not under Stanford’s policies and how these policies are consistent with the First Amendment and California law.

She shared thoughts on how the university’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion can and should be implemented in ways that are consistent with its commitment to academic freedom and free speech, and also why she believes that robust protection of freedom of expression of all viewpoints is actually essential to diversity and inclusion in the long run.

In the message, Martinez discussed the law school’s commitment to preparing students to practice law to the highest standards, including the professional standards of acting with dignity, courtesy, and integrity, and how understanding an opponent’s arguments and learning to channel the passion of one’s principles into reasoned, persuasive argument is an essential part of learning to be an effective lawyer.

She also argued that to stop cycles of degenerating discourse, all members of the community must be treated with dignity and that condemnation and invective must be replaced by curiosity and inquiry.

Next steps that Martinez discussed in the message include a mandatory half-day session in spring quarter for all law students on the topic of freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession; the adoption of clear protocols for dealing with event disruptions and educating students and staff on those policies going forward; and the creation of a faculty committee to solicit feedback and make further recommendations.