A coalition of student groups invited Nation
of Islam speaker Khallid-Abdul Muhammad, but he cannot appear
because the university requires sponsoring groups to provide
expenses, including a security and insurance policy against risk
of violence. The Stanford Director of Risk Management had
concluded that, because of rioting at the prospective speaker's
1994 appearance at UC-Riverside, Stanford would require a policy
totaling $5 million. Therefore, the Student Affairs office took
the position that the reason Mr. Muhammad could not appear was
solely financial. "Stanford is very committed to broad expression
of speech and has had many people speak here with varied and
controversial views."

Students felt the university failed to protect their free speech
and academic freedom. The sponsoring groups, which could not
raise sufficient funds to purchase the policy, accused the
administration of a double standard, because the university's
insurance carrier did cover other speakers, but would not accept
the liability in this case. Other groups had been required to
purchase insurance from outside firms. But in this case, the
Office of Risk Management had based the degree of risk on what
had happened at another campus, a criteria which had no
bureaucratic precedent.