Activists protest Pence event outside of Dinkelspiel Auditorium

Feb. 18, 2022, 1:32 a.m.

Student activists and protesters gathered outside of Dinkelspiel Auditorium Thursday evening to protest former Vice President Mike Pence as he prepared to speak to a sold-out crowd. About 80 protestors rallied outside of the auditorium, enraged at Pence’s presence on campus, which led to a heated debate between protestors and an attendee.

Organizers had spent the past two weeks encouraging protesters to gather at White Plaza before marching to Dinkelspiel Auditorium, where the Stanford College Republicans (SCR) hosted Pence for an hour-long event called “How to Save America from the Woke Left.”

Shortly before 5 p.m, the two lead organizers of the protest, Ritwik Tati ’25 and Eva Jones ’25 gathered near the Bird Cage in White Plaza. Tati has also reported for The Daily. They set up a small table with a red tablecloth, megaphones, a portable speaker and a “No One is Illegal” sign. After a few minutes, other organizers joined in, providing additional red and black paint and cardboard boxes.

During the next half hour, dozens of people began making their own signs as Jones and Tati played music. Protesters’ signs read “Ur a Racist,” and “Hatred isn’t very Christian of you, Mike.” Messages were in English and Spanish, ranging from Bible verses to “Buzz off Bigots.” 

Around 5:40 p.m, Jones and Tati grabbed their megaphones and led the protesters toward Dinkelspiel. Their numbers increased to several dozen as they chanted slogans like “Hate should not be taught here.” 

Protesters held their signs over the Dinkelspiel barricades, shouting at staffers and attendees while security personnel kept watch. During the protest’s early moments, Jones climbed up into a nearby tree and facilitated a variety of chants and speeches, alternating with other organizers. Chaide Petris ’24 carried a painted sign that read, “Save Our Immigrant Parents.”

“There’s many students here who are in the LGBT community, who have immigrant parents, who are from low-income households, who are directly threatened and traumatized by Mike Pence’s appearance on campus,” Petris said in an interview with The Daily. “This isn’t a matter of equalizing the conversation, because the conversation is already inherently unequal.”

Another protester took the megaphone to say, “When your politics become embedded within the oppression of my friends, my community, my home, that does not make politics. That makes privilege.”

Although the organizers’ flyers had encouraged protesters to reserve tickets for the event and walk out, Jones discouraged protestors present from trying to enter the event with the intent of walking out, explaining that it would be too dangerous for them to do so.

During the rally, protestors encouraged those within the gates to engage in debate. Andrew Song ’25, stepped forward from inside the barrier, identifying himself as a Democrat who had campaigned with Senator Jon Ossoff, and argued for the importance of listening to differing opinions like Pence’s.

“Just because you don’t agree with someone, that doesn’t give you any right to just stop talking,” Song said in an interview with The Daily. 

A heated verbal altercation ensued between Song and the protestors. Jones quickly fired back, asking Song, “If you held one of the most powerful positions in the world, and you used it to denigrate and subjugate many students at this campus, what else do you have to say?”

“I did not solve things in my community by shutting people down,” replied Song. “The only way we can get through things is to talk to one another.”

At around 6:40 p.m., event-goers started to enter the auditorium. As people walked in, some waved toward the protestors, who responded with phrases like “wear a mask” and “Pence is a racist; you are a racist.” 

One man standing in the waitlist line, who donned a “USA” hat and identified himself as “Max”, said he was a Bay Area local who heard about SCR’s event through a mailing list. Max said that he “used to be a liberal,” but has since embraced more right-leaning political beliefs.

“Just yelling stuff at me and saying ‘shame on you,’ this is no way to get me back on your side,” he said. “I’m a gay man, and I have benefited from the [Pence] administration, so when they say ‘violence,’ it’s just for us to feel sympathy and go on their side.”

The rallying continued until just after 7 p.m., when the auditorium’s doors officially closed. Protest signs were left on display in various locations in the near vicinity. Some protestors stayed back to continue writing phrases in chalk on the ground. 

“As an institution that’s supposed to be bettering the world… the fact that we have someone who stands for such hate that is coming to speak at this school is a bad look for Stanford,” a protestor said. “It’s crazy that more people are not here tonight to protest this.”

Cassidy Dalva '25 is a News Managing Editor at The Stanford Daily. A prospective economics major from Los Angeles, California, Cassidy enjoys baking, playing pickleball, and spending time outdoors in her free time. Contact her at [email protected].Itzel Luna '25 is a News Managing Editor and Fellowships Coordinator. Luna is originally from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles and plans to major in Sociology on the data science, markets and management track with a minor in Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Contact her at iluna 'at'

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