THERANOS’ DOWNFALL was perhaps the first time that Stanford’s ties with Silicon Valley received some much-needed criticism—the company’s disgraced founder, its first board member, many of its employees, and a good deal of its prestige had all come from Stanford. The whole affair became a testament to the scale and importance of our community’s involvement with the corporate world, and it inspired the Sphere to take a closer look at Stanford’s ties to the biotech industry. But we didn’t just discover the scale of these ties: we found ourselves before an alarming lack of accountability when it comes to keeping research and financial interests separate.
WHEN THE Sphere arrived at the GSB for Dinesh D’Souza’s talk last quarter, it took us a while to find the line for Stanford students. In contrast with the 120 or so non-students who crowded one line with their Trump shirts and MAGA caps, we counted only fifteen undergraduates in the other. These acolytes of the right continued to pour in after the doors opened, and as the room filled up, finding seats proved hard even for some members of the Stanford College Republicans. This was just the kind of audience that craved the vitriolic anti-Democrat spiel that made D’Souza a star among the alt-right—not really what you’d expect from a Stanford crowd.
Last week, Berber Jin argued in The Stanford Review that we should be more skeptical about need-blind admissions for international students, a proposal recently accepted by the university administration. He makes this case through falsely framing financial aid as a zero-sum game; he seems to believe that providing more assistance to the international community must come at the expense of helping underprivileged Americans. Like most Review articles, Berber’s piece presents itself as a hard-truth response to the supposedly misguided “feel-good” worldview of the left. But a closer look reveals just how misleading many of his claims really are. If Stanford wants to bring together the world’s brightest young minds and promote global social justice, it has to begin with need-blind admissions for international students.