Fellow Wanted GOP Students To Do 'Opposition Research' On Classmate

The controversial conservative historian and Stanford professor was caught urging Republican students to do "opposition research" on a progressive student.

Historian and Stanford University’s Hoover Institution senior fellow Niall Ferguson resigned from his duties at the school’s free speech program after he was caught conspiring with Republican students to carry out “opposition research” on a progressive student.

Ferguson exchanged emails with Republican student activists John Rice-Cameron and Max Minshull that show the trio was considering doing opposition research on Michael Ocon, a progressive student activist.

Rice-Cameron, the son of former President Barack Obama’s official, Susan Rice, is known for being a dedicated pro-President Donald Trump supporter. Ferguson, who’s married to outspoken anti-Islam activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali is also a well-known and controversial figure among conservatives.

In the emails, Rice-Cameron said they will “continue to crush the Left’s will to resist, as they will crack under pressure.” In response, Ferguson wrote that members of the steering committee behind the free speech program, Cardinal Conversations, “should all be allies against [Ocon]. Whatever your past differences, bury them. Unite against the [social justice warriors].”

“Now we turn to the more subtle game of grinding them down on the committee. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” he added.

Prior to this exchange, Ferguson suggested the students should try to lift some dirt on Ocon as soon as possible.

“Some opposition research on [Ocon] might also be worthwhile,” he wrote.

Minshull replied, saying he would “get on the opposition research for” Ocon.

When asked to comment on the emails and their content, Minshull simply said he was concerned about the future of the free speech program during the exchange.

“When these emails were written, I was worried that Cardinal Conversations would cease to be an organization commited [sic] to inviting speakers of diverse viewpoints; we believed that activists were trying to restrict conservative voices from being heard,” Minshull told reporters. “That said, I harbor no personal animus against Michael Ocon and apologize that my emails crossed a line.”

Ferguson promptly resigned from Cardinal Conversations after the emails were discovered. He said he regrets what he did.

“I very much regret the publication of these emails. I also regret having written them,” Ferguson wrote in a statement.

“The emails … were contrary to the spirit and intent of Cardinal Conversations,” Stanford Provost Persis Drell said about the incident.

This isn’t the first time Ferguson has been at the center of a controversy over something he said or wrote.

The conservative historian stated that economist John Maynard Keynes didn’t care for the future because he was gay and had no children. He eventually apologized.

More recently, Ferguson was in the news for organizing a conference that hosted all white male historians as speakers.

Despite his attempt at apologizing, it’s clear that Ferguson has gotten used to making inflammatory comments or taking controversial actions and then getting away with them by issuing an apology.

Perhaps now that these emails were released, he might have a harder time seeing his comments become forgotten by the media in the future. 

Maybe now, universities will also keep a closer eye on members of academia trying to influence students’ politics. Hopefully this is a warning to people like Ferguson.

Thumbnail/Banner Credit: Reuters


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