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Reader Survey Results 

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Responses to Our Reader Survey Dated 4/1/24

 

The Question: What should be the two or three highest priorities for Stanford's current or next president? (The survey form remains available here.)

Reader Responses [as of 4/16/24]

In the order of most recently received, some with minor edits for style.

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Support free speech.

Eliminate DEI. 

Reduce staff.

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Restore a culture of civil debate and disagreement.

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End the DEI Programs NOW, and reassign the administrative staff in that area to other areas.

Strengthen programs and add faculty in the Humanities. Focus on broad education for all students, and correct the overemphasis on science and technology. Focus on educating students, not just preparing them to get jobs. Teach tolerance above all.

Downsize the administrative staff, and get administrators out of students' lives.

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Restore the most critical diversity of an institution worthy of the title "University" - that is, thinking and speaking.

 

Purge the institution of simple minded doctrinaires that make up most of the faculty. Hire people who advocate Socrates' "I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think."

Restore merit as the overarching criterion for all things: admissions, grades, faculty hiring, etc.

Eliminate all courses and majors that have the word "studies" in their description. By definition they lack range and depth of thought.

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Stop policing fun.

Stop policing words.

Start policing violence, vandalism, and intimidation.

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Focus the institution fiercely on its academic and scholarly mission.

Cultivate a culture of inquiry, curiosity, and good faith.

Deliver an excellent student experience.

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DEI: get rid of this racist concept. It really means Division, Entitlement, and Inequality.  

Slash the administrative bloat which has more administrators than students.  

Punish and expel anyone who shouts down or suppresses freedom of speech. No exceptions.

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Chicago Trifecta.

 

Restore ‘fun’ (no ‘neighborhoods,’ Greek and theme houses that match demand, sensible alcohol policy beer=no fear).

 

Reduce administrators/increase faculty.

 

The financial goal of the university should be to return to the founding charter’s requirement for no undergraduate tuition.  [Comment re individual person omitted.]

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Critical thinking and the ability to civilly debate issues, based on factual information, has gradually eroded in our society and divided our country, families and friends, potentially to a point of no return.  It is imperative for our universities/education system to be leaders in the promotion of free speech and debate that transcends today’s political climate.  We are at a critical time in the history of our country where people must be united, not divided.

DEI should be abolished due to its hypocrisy. While it is disguised as inclusive, it does not address antisemitism and promotes animosity towards white people, including young children, for the sins of their ancestors towards people of color. 

History repeats itself and today’s issues are not new; however, there are now sophisticated (AI) tools to promote nefarious objectives such as censorship, surveillance and controlling the peoples’ behavior.  A thorough understanding of history is imperative in order to see the similarities of what previous generations endured in the fight for freedom of speech and constitutional protections. Stanford should not, in any way, be associated with the tech censorship programs which “appear” to be promoted by Stanford, in name or location.

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An increased focus on the humanities and a mandatory course, like the old Western Civ course, for all freshman.

A reduction in the administrative staff.

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Restore freedom of speech on campus, no censorship.

Put a curb on genetic engineering and AI as leading focuses on campus.

Remove the DEI etc. agenda.

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Bring back mandatory Western Civ curriculum.

 

Reorient instruction toward truth seeking and critical thinking. Begin by firing any instructor incapable of keeping their political views out of the classroom or unable to dispassionately impart competing viewpoints.

 

Drastically reduce DEI administration and purge the campus of its inclusion in instruction.

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The highest priority of any academic institution, particularly one at the level of Stanford, should be the encouragement and tolerance of divergent discourse.  Suppression of free speech, whether it be from a conservative or liberal viewpoint, cannot and should not be tolerated.

 

A secondary priority must be the cutting of the bloated administration. I have read articles pro and con about the "need" for administrators, and I absolutely do not believe the university needs anywhere near the number of administrators it presently has.  Start the cuts with any and all DEI personnel. They are not needed.

 

Students need to feel safe on campus, but not locked-down by administrative shackles.  While Stanford will never likely be as free and fun a place as it was in the past, there needs to be a significant return to a place that is far more open and accepting than now.

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I realize my opinions are 'dated' and 'old fashioned', but here goes:

 

Get back 'to basics' by emphasizing a truly, TRADITIONAL, liberal education grounded in the fundamentals of the 'ill-named' "Western Canon";

 

RESTRUCTURE and make 'free standing affiliates' of Stanford, the professional Schools of Business, Law, & Medicine along the lines of the current [uneasy!] relationship between Hoover and Stanford;

 

Require, to the extent lawful & practicable, full financial disclosure of ALL research undertakings of more than 2 years in duration and $5 million dollars of internal AND extramural financial support; &

 

SHRINK the size of the Graduate School enrollment by 1/3 over a ten-year period of time, notwithstanding the suggestion above re: the Professional Schools.  This change will have, IMO, a catalytic impact on the Undergraduate experience for which the Stanfords founded the University in the 19th century.

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End the Election Integrity, Virality, Internet Observatory projects and all other projects designed to censor citizens, sway public opinion, and essentially serve as the government’s mouthpiece.

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Start with ending Stanford's destructive Bias Reporting program, move all programs not associated with teaching and research off campus, end DEI, stop funding frivolous SHARE games and similar silly programs, trim the excessive and out-of-control administrative bureaucracy, present freedom of speech training at every new student orientation.

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A vibrant and creative undergraduate social life. Note Bene: Live-in selective social groups are critical. Die Luft der Freiheit Weit!  Both speech and activities.

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Turning out students who can become functional citizens and future leaders in a diverse country: people willing to listen to two sides of a topic, people who understand two sides of an argument, people who are taught two sides of an argument, people who don't demonize those who disagree with them.

 

And while I am a proponent of free speech and academic freedom, it only works when there is some degree of viewpoint diversity, when the faculty and student body are not self-selected to primarily have one view.

 

And while I am also a big proponent of STEM, students need a grounding in our history and values, with all its good and bad, taught by professors focused on education not indoctrination, to allow our society to function constructively, and to resolve how to best use the advances that STEM will bring.

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Emphasize meritocracy and end DEI racism. End the policy of prohibiting alums from taking the initiative to contact students. End discrimination against women applicants (favoring male applicants who are less qualified).

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Adopt and enforce the Chicago principles.

Over time, increase the population of faculty and staff who are more to the center and right politically.

Reduce the number of administrators.

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Reestablish civility on campus.

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Restore student life to the students.

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