Author Alice Walker famous for The Color Purple among other novels, spoke on the Stanford campus Wednesday night, but a politically conservative speaker is set to come to the Palo Alto university in a matter of days.
Already there's a backlash against the appearance.
For some students, the so-called bubble around the campus is being buffeted by the discord of our time. The battle to balance out free speech on college campuses, even if it means hearing points of view that vary drastically from many people's position. The brain teaser tugging at the collective conscious of Stanford University centers on the upcoming speaking appearance of Robert Spencer.
"I wasn't aware that kind of stuff happens here. mostly because I see it on the news at Berkeley, and Stanford is kind of the rival of everything," said Stanford freshman Alaessandro Boaro..
Stanford's student newspaper published articles and op-eds Wednesday about Spencer's impending arrival November 14th.
"We've obviously seen the student senate debate they should fund the Spencer event. They ultimately chose yes to fund the event, but also condemn Spencer's ideology," said Stanford Daily editor-in-chief Ada Statler-Throckmorton
Robert Spencer has decried what he calls the "Islamization" of America, and has said Islam is a violent religion.
"It's gonna rile-up a lot of people. and a lot of people are going to feel uncomfortable especially since this that isn't what Stanford was to them," said Boara.
Stanford's College Republicans invited him to speak, but wouldn't speak to Fox-2 about that decision. In a published statement the group says, "We will not let the fact that some students take exception to Mister Spencer's views stop us from providing an important educational experience to the Stanford community."
Two months ago, UC Berkeley braced for violent protests when conservative Ben Shapiro spoke at that school. Similar to Shapiro, the Young America's Foundation is instrumental in bring Spencer to Stanford..
"I think young America's foundation is doing a lot to balance out the ideological diversity on collage campuses by bring those conservatives speakers in. I think schools should be happy that young America's foundation is committing its resources to make this event happen," said Spencer Brown of the Young America's Foundation
Anxious might better describe Stanford, as it reluctantly wades into the political divide sweeping across American college campuses.
"Based on an Op-Ed submission from a coalition of activist student groups, even if the Spencer event does go on, the action would be to boycott the event, rather than any kind of active protest," said Statler-Throckmorton.
There is an on-line petition by some students asking the student association to de-fund Spencer's visit. School officials admit struggling with this, but in the end say discovery sometimes comes from ideas deemed objectionable.