Students at Stanford University were reportedly brought to tears by satirical posters defending Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.The flyers were hung up on Jan. 24 by Isaac Kipust, who said they were a response to posters that encouraged students to report any immigration-enforcement activity on campus.
“Call to receive immediate support if you see law enforcement authorities doing their job!” the satirical flyers read. “Beloved community criminals deserve protection from Trump’s tyranny.”
Mr. Kipust later took to the pages of the Stanford Review to document the Stanford community’s reaction to his posters.
All of the flyers were taken down on the same day they were put up, Mr. Kipust said, because they made three students feel “unsafe and hurt.”
Later that evening, Mr. Kipust was summoned to a meeting with Kimball Hall resident fellows, the three aggrieved students and two members of the Stanford administration, Kadesia Woods of Residential Education and Alejandro Martinez, who oversees university policy on “Acts of Intolerance.”
“According to them, my flyers were ‘hate speech’ and hence inappropriate for the Kimball community,” Mr. Kipust wrote in the Review. “Because they apparently mocked a flyer protecting an identity group, they constituted an act of intolerance. Most egregiously, because of their effect on the three crying students at the table, I was not permitted to repost my flyers.”
Mr. Kipust said the posters are protected speech under the university’s Statement on Academic Freedom, which says that “freedom of inquiry, thought, expression, publication and peaceable assembly are given the fullest protection.”
“Expression of the widest range of viewpoints should be encouraged, free from institutional orthodoxy and from internal or external coercion,” the statement reads.
On Friday, Jan. 26, Mr. Kipust said he took his complaint to Lead Residence Dean Lisa De La Cruz-Caldera.
He brought with him a “strongly worded defense” of free inquiry from Professor Michael McConnell, director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School, and invited Professor Peter Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution who studies free speech, to take notes during the meeting.
“Luckily, Dr. Cruz-Caldera chose to respect Stanford’s free speech policy,” Mr. Kipust wrote. “She conceded that it was wrong for staff to take down my flyer, and went even further, stating that no flyer containing speech protected by the First Amendment should ever be removed for its content. Laudably, she is now working to shape a new policy on flyers in dorms that will prohibit restrictions on content.”
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