Yale Law School has made a lot of news over the past year, much of it embarrassing to the school. For instance, in March of this year a group of protesters shouted down a panel discussion which included a representative from Alliance Defending Freedom. The protesters did leave the room when asked; however, the same protesters continued shouting in the hallway and made it difficult to hear the speakers and also disrupted other classes taking place in the building.
Today, Aaron Sibarium at the Washington Free Becaon reports that a listserv used to organize several recent protests at Yale Law has been shut down.
If students want to “debate important questions,” the dean of Yale Law School Heather Gerken announced in an email on Wednesday, they can post on a physical bulletin board in the law school’s hallway.
“Debate and dialogue are the touchstones of an academic institution,” Gerken said. The new forum will force students to “take time to reflect before posting, a habit that lawyers and members of a scholarly community must practice.”…
“The listserv was a cesspool,” said Zach Austin, who served as the president of the Yale Federalist Society this past year. “Dean Gerken’s rhetoric is spot on: I hope students, left and right alike, take it to heart.”
The attempts to disrupt the event in March is just one recent example of Yale Law making news, thanks in part to outrage ginned up on the listserv. Last October there was another outburst after a student named Trent Colbert used the phrase “trap house” in a party invitation. He was immediately denounced and within 12 hours he was summoned to meet with an associate dean and the school’s diversity director.
At a Sept. 16 meeting, which the student recorded and shared with the Washington Free Beacon, associate dean Ellen Cosgrove and diversity director Yaseen Eldik told the student that the word “trap” connotes crack use, hip hop, and blackface. Those “triggering associations,” Eldik said, were “compounded by the fried chicken reference,” which “is often used to undermine arguments that structural and systemic racism has contributed to racial health disparities in the U.S.”
Eldik, a former Obama White House official, went on to say that the student’s membership in the Federalist Society had “triggered” his peers.
The offending student was told to issue and apology or else. He refused to issue a written apology but did offer to meet with any students who had been offended. The Beacon also mentions another pressure campaign aimed at the Yale Law Journal. Once again, students accused the journal of being racist but when numbers were released they showed that wasn’t the case.
The conflagration began on Tuesday after a Journal editor, Gavin Jackson, resigned, saying he felt “used and tokenized” in his position. Jackson’s resignation elicited furious statements from a raft of affinity groups at the law school, which are demanding that the Journal “prioritize anti-racism” over meritocratic selection, the postings show. The controversy played out on a student message board, the postings from which were reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon…
The numbers tell a different story, however. Not only are blacks and Hispanics elected for membership to the top law school’s most prestigious journal at a higher rate than their white counterparts, but the admissions rate for blacks—61 percent—is higher than that of any other ethnic group.
The admissions statistics demonstrate how demands for diversity can persist even when minorities are well-represented in relation to the student body at large. They also show that the activists making those demands do so, at times, when the underlying data aren’t on their side.
Now that the listserv for Yale Law students is being shut down, students will return to the system that existed prior to the listerv. Anyone who wants to can leave a message on a physical bulletin board called “the Wall.” The hope is that this will lead to people having actual face-to-face discussions rather than just rounding up an online mob.