It is no surprise that students at Stanford University disrupted best-selling author Robert Spencer’s lecture on November 14. Given the lead-up to his talk — “Jihad and the Dangers of Radical Islam: An Honest Discussion” — the scenario was scripted in advance, with the encouragement and support of the school’s administration.
As soon as the Stanford College Republicans invited Spencer, founder of the website Jihad Watch, to speak on campus — as part of the Fred. R. Allen Freedom Lecture Series, sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation — a concerted campaign was launched to prevent him from being allowed to set foot on the premises. Stanford students, faculty members and administrators published a steady stream of articles in the student publications the Stanford Daily and Stanford Review, claiming not only that Spencer was unqualified to speak to them — despite frequently addressing FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, military, and other government groups for years — but also pronounced that his presence threatened Muslim students on campus; that he enabled anti-Semitism; that his message deprived Muslims of “personhood;” and that he was endangering students by replying to their attacks on his website.
When that effort failed, they employed other means to intimidate Spencer and the students who wished to hear what he had to say. Not only did hundreds of protesters cause a disturbance outside the venue, but another 150 entered the auditorium, played Arabic music loudly to drown out what Spencer was saying, and then staged a mass walk-out minutes after the event began.