The Stanford Law School diversity dean who joined the raucous protest of Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan makes between $100,000 and $200,000 a year, according to a copy of Stanford’s internal salary structure obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The maximum salary for Tirien Steinbach’s position, $201,200, is more than twice the salary of most Stanford postdocs. It is also considerably more generous than many tenure-track positions—an assistant professor at Stanford’s school of sustainability, for example, has a max base salary of just $145,000.
The dean has become an overnight avatar for what the Wall Street Journal called the "tyranny of the DEI bureaucracy." In a shocking video earlier this month, Steinbach—formerly an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union—joined the mob of students who disrupted Duncan’s talk, stealing the podium from the judge and reading her own prepared speech.
"Do you have something so incredibly important to say," she asked, that it is worth the "division of these people?"
Or, as she put it in a now-viral metaphor: "Is the juice worth the squeeze?"
Steinbach is clearly worth a lot to Stanford. In August 2020, the law school solicited applications for an associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, the position Steinbach would go on to fill. A job posting classified the role as "Grade K"—a reference to the university’s salary structure, which assigns each employee a letter grade corresponding to their salary range. K is among the higher grades, which range from A to P, and appears to be reserved for mid-level administrators.
Ideal candidates for Steinbach’s role, the job posting said, should have "excellent judgment and discretion."
The dean’s compensation is hardly atypical. From universities to corporations to government agencies, senior DEI officers routinely make six-figure salaries, with some raking in over $600,000 a year. The average salary for diversity professionals, according to salary.com, is $132,363, putting them in the 89th percentile of individual earners.
Stanford employs an army of these bureaucrats. The university, which accepts fewer than 4 percent of applicants, has nearly 12 DEI administrators for every 1,000 students—a ratio that far exceeds every other American university, including Harvard and Yale.
As Stanford has built out this bureaucracy, it’s students who’ve been left holding the bill: The university in February announced a 7 percent tuition hike for undergraduates, who will be charged $82,406 a year beginning next year.
Though Duncan and others have called on Stanford to fire Steinbach, as of this writing she is still hanging on. So are the protesters, who by the law school’s own admission violated its free speech policies. Though Jenny Martinez, the law school’s dean, has said Stanford is "reviewing what transpired," she has not indicated that any students involved will face disciplinary action.
Stanford did not respond to a request for comment.
Duncan, who’d been invited by the law school’s Federalist Society chapter, was unable to complete his talk due to the protest Steinbach helped stoke. Hecklers disrupted him nearly every other word and—in the hallway before the event—told the sitting federal judge that "we hope your daughters get raped," according to Duncan and Stanford Federalist Society president Tim Rosenberg.
Stanford eventually apologized to Duncan, writing that the protest was "inconsistent" with school policy.
Some staff members, the apology added, "intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech."
Steinbach, though, was unrepentant. In a conversation with students after the event, the well-paid diversocrat claimed that Duncan was just a provocateur trying to spark a reaction, and that he hadn’t prepared a speech–even though the judge was holding several pages of prepared remarks. She also said the hecklers hadn’t violated Stanford’s free speech policies, which bar protests that "prevent the effective carrying out" of a "public event."
Steinbach has not responded to multiple requests for comment.
One group that organized the protest, the Stanford National Lawyers Guild, is now threatening further disruptions. In a statement circulated 48 hours after the event, the guild’s board described the shout down as "Stanford Law School at its best," hinting that it would use such tactics "again" if more "speakers like Judge Duncan" are invited to campus.
That militancy isn’t a new development. In August 2021, the guild released a guide for "radical" first year students who were struggling to square their "anti-racist, anti-capitalist" commitments with their attendance at Stanford Law. The guide suggested skipping readings as a form of "self-care"—advice that a few students seem to have taken. Following the Duncan debacle, one second-year law student, Mary Cate Hickman, claimed the Free Beacon had no legal right to post a picture of her classmate because "California is a two-party consent state." She apparently missed the class on that law, which does not apply to photographs.