Stanford invites a prominent, noted academic to speak on campus with another prominent, noted academic. This event is sanctioned by one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country, the university’s President and Provost, and every serious publication and political group at the university.
Naturally, this posed a tough challenge to Stanford’s activists, who were faced with two choices: act like they were at pre-school, or behave like they were students at one of the world’s best universities?
These activists reached new heights of intellectual laziness this morning, when the “Coalition of Concerned Students” dropped a banner from Hoover Tower with the complex message “Stanford [heart] racism.”
The banner followed an inflammatory and unsubstantiated letter to President Tessier-Lavigne and Provost Drell, presumably the result of a cursory Google search for “reasons why Charles Murray sucks,” and a few copy-pasted studies from Vox and The Daily Kos. The editorial has been thoroughly refuted here and here.
A substantial, well-reasoned, and footnoted piece published in the Daily or Stanford Politics enumerating the Coalition’s reasons for opposing Murray instead of making accusations of “racist pseudoscience” and “white supremacy” might have won some supporters. But that would have required too much effort from the overburdened activists, who seem incapable of conducting their own research and forming opinions for themselves.
Instead, they rely on tired, ad hominem attacks of “racism” against the university administration and all of the students involved with the talk — smearing ASSU, the Daily, and Stanford Politics in the process without writing more than four vague paragraphs to justify their claims. The Coalition seriously thinks a single banner will persuade administrators when the other side has presented legions of articles and links to support Murray’s invitation.
Why on earth should we listen to anything the Coalition has to say if its members cannot state anything specific about why they oppose Murray besides exaggerated claims of “attacks on students of color”? Stanford’s Coalition of Concerned Students is apparently not “concerned” enough to actually study the issue and argue something substantive. Instead, their counter-“arguments” were about as rigorous as a Trump tweet.
Ironically, the Coalition made fools of themselves by proving the purpose of Cardinal Conversations, which was intended to model thoughtful and serious discourse between individuals with differing political opinions. If anyone still questioned whether such a program was necessary, the Coalition just provided the evidence.
(Image from Coalition of Concerned Students, via Stanford Daily)