Posted on April 25, 2023

Stanford Law School’s Black Students’ Group Will No Longer Help Law School Recruit Minority Students in the Wake of Duncan Apology

Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon, April 21, 2023

Stanford University’s Black Law Students Association will no longer help the university recruit black students after the law school’s dean, Jenny Martinez, apologized in early March to Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan.

The students cited what they described as the “scapegoating” of the school’s diversity dean, Tirien Steinbach, for an incident last month in which students disrupted Duncan’s remarks and Steinbach egged them on.

“The apology was intimately aligned with White supremacist practices,” the group’s board wrote in a letter to the administration, which was posted on Instagram earlier this month. “We cannot, in good faith, participate in recruiting Black students into a community more concerned with palliating wealthy, White conservative donors than the ‘student-focused and community-inspired’ legal education [Stanford Law School] promotes.”

As such, the group said it would “boycott official admit events” for the class of 2026 and encourage prospective students to go elsewhere. It’s the second boycott to which the law school has been subjected: James Ho and Elizabeth Branch, the circuit court judges who said last year that they would no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School, earlier this month announced a similar clerkship moratorium on Stanford, citing the school’s refusal to punish the students who shouted down Duncan.

The law school administration laid the blame for those antics squarely on Steinbach, who at one point took the podium from the judge and told him his work had “caused harm.” In their apology to Duncan, Stanford University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Martinez, the law school dean, said that Steinbach’s intervention was “inappropriate.” Steinbach has been on leave since March, and the law school has not indicated when or if she will return.

“Stanford’s administration has actively marginalized its Black community, most recently by scapegoating Dean Tirien Steinbach,” the Black Students Association wrote. {snip}


The letter also aired a number of grievances that it said predated the Duncan incident. Stanford, the Black Law Students Association argued, had hobbled the group’s ability “to create a safe space for its members,” and—despite black students’ “free labor”—the school’s admissions policies “reproduce and reify White supremacy, classism, and colorism.”