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Performative Demagogues at Oberlin and Stanford…

… have gotten those schools into plenty of trouble. Hired to think and act in terms of social justice, some of these people turn out to be bullies who like to lead Children’s Crusades against perceived enemies.

For Oberlin’s demagogue, the enemy was a bakery. Her vicious crusade against its blameless owners ended up costing that school $36 million.

Stanford’s person led a group of law students in shouting down and forcing out of the room a visiting judge.

Stanford’s dean is not only appalled by this inane and ignorant behavior; she has put the demagogue on leave and apologized to the judge. She has also condemned, in a lengthy letter, the idiots who followed the fool’s lead, and she has mandated, for all current law students, a seminar in free speech.

Meanwhile, some conservative judges are planning to boycott all Stanford law grads if they apply for internships in their offices. Some of those applicants from Stanford will of course be conservatives, which is just too damn bad for them.

So … we can expect smart conservative law school applicants to decide not to apply to Stanford.

Margaret Soltan, April 5, 2023 4:18PM
Posted in: chief inspiration officer

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3 Responses to “Performative Demagogues at Oberlin and Stanford…”

  1. Rita Says:

    I’m skeptical that it works this way. Last summer, you predicted that, in light of Dobbs, fewer students would apply to colleges in states that restrict abortion. Has that come to pass? I just scanned the application statistics for the class of 2027 at Rice, Vanderbilt, and Emory – the top private schools in their restrictive states – and it seems that all of their acceptance rates have dropped from last year. At least in the case of Emory, absolute numbers of applications increased, and they stayed about the same at Vanderbilt but dropped slightly at Rice. I’m sure one could look at other similarly-situated schools too (Tulane? Clemson? Sewanee?) but I haven’t yet. And these are not even top 10 schools. So in the case of a school like Stanford Law, ranked #2, the repellent effect of some bad publicity seems unlikely to be very large.

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    I think on abortion it’s too soon/the situation within certain states too fluid at the moment to look for changes yet. And law school is a different beast from undergrad: I think applicants take a more immediately pragmatic, vocational, approach to law school, so if a boycott really takes off (right now it’s unclear how widespread/effective the boycott will be) I would indeed expect to see some effect.

  3. Rita Says:

    Yes, it’s true that in Stanford’s case, the substance of the bad publicity is more directly material to prospective students’ experiences and professional outcomes. I would be quite surprised if very many HS seniors applying to places like Vanderbilt and Rice are all that worried about abortion laws impacting them personally during college.

    On the other hand, the more competitive a school is, the more eager prospective students there are who would take the place of the student who opts not to apply or attend as a matter of principle. It may be hard to see the effect unless it was really large, particularly if it’s a partisan effect (ie, conservatives eschew Stanford, but more liberals take their places). Then you might see an effect in the partisan composition of these schools (which may well be a problem given the partisan skew of the judiciary in the other direction at the moment), but not in competitiveness.

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