The Yale Law Dean’s Response To The Kavanaugh Clerkship Reports Sends A Forceful Message
The allegations that a Supreme Court nominee attempted to rape Christina Blasey Ford when the two of them were in high school (allegations which Kavanaugh has denied outright) have continued to ripple through the nation's discourse, uncovering all sorts of other stories along the way. One of these were the reports that two professors at Yale Law gave advice to women applying to clerk for Kavanaugh — but it wasn't your average career advice. And now, the dean of Yale Law School has addressed those reports, and she is taking them very seriously.
Amy Chua, a Yale Law professor and bestselling author, and her husband and fellow professor Jed Rubenfeld used to prepare women interviewing for clerkships at Kavanaugh's office, according to a report from the Guardian. Chua reportedly coached the women to dress in such a way that would display a "model-like" femininity, as that would help them get the job. It was “not an accident,” the Guardian wrote, that female clerks in Kavanaugh's office “looked like models.” The Huffington Post published a similar report, saying that Kavanaugh's female clerks often had a “certain look,” according to an anonymous former Yale Law student.
The student told the Huffington Post that she "had mixed feelings” after hearing that advice. “On the one hand, it’s a yellow flag; on the other hand, phew, I hadn’t heard anything else," she told the Huffington Post, referring to Kavanaugh's alleged practice of only choosing female clerks with a certain look.
Yale Law School Dean Heather Gherken has now responded forcefully to those reports in an email sent to the community at the school, which Bustle has now obtained a copy of. The aim of her email, she wrote, was to "address the press reports today regarding allegations of faculty misconduct," and she said that "the allegations being reported are of enormous concern to me and to the School." The email then continued, encouraging people at the school to report occurrences like what Chua and Rubenfeld were reported to have done:
I strongly encourage any members of our community who have been affected by misconduct to take advantage of Yale University's resources for reporting incidents and receiving support. The Law School has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which all of our students can live and learn in a community of mutual respect, free of harassment of any kind.
Back in July, soon after Kavanaugh's nomination was announced, Chua wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal called "Kavanaugh Is a Mentor to Women," in which she wrote, "I can’t think of a better judge for my own daughter’s clerkship." Kavanaugh himself has hired more female than male law clerks, according to Above the Law, although the article also noted that Kavanaugh's hiring practices actually just reflect the higher number of women in law school than men.
In a statement sent to NBC News, Chua addressed the reports that she had inappropriately coached Kavanaugh's clerkship interviewees.
"Judge Kavanaugh’s first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence. He hires only the most qualified clerks, and they have been diverse as well as exceptionally talented and capable," she wrote. "There is good reason so many of them have gone on to Supreme Court clerkships; he only hires those who are extraordinarily qualified."