Several Yale Law School professors cancelled classes Monday to accommodate students who wanted to protest President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a Yale alum who was twice accused of decades-old misconduct on the eve of his confirmation vote.
Kavanaugh has denied the sexual misconduct allegations as “smears, pure and simple.”
Dozens of students, wearing black, staged a sit-in at the law school Monday, while others traveled to Washington, D.C. to protest the nomination on Capitol Hill, lining the halls of the Senate and demonstrating in front of several different offices.
As many as 20 Yale Law School faculty members canceled or rescheduled up to 31 classes for students to “protest both the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh, this school’s implicit endorsement of him, and our administration’s complicity in widespread sexual harassment in the legal profession,” according to emails obtained by Campus Reform, a campus watchdog group.
Students held signs reading “YLS is a Model of Complicity” and “Is there nothing more important to YLS than its proximity to power and prestige?”
YLS Dean Heather K. Gerken called it a “long-standing Yale Law School tradition” as the allegations are “rightly causing deep concern at Yale Law School and across the country” in a statement Monday.
“As dean, I cannot take a position on the nomination, but I am so proud of the work our community is doing to engage with these issues, and I stand with them in supporting the importance of fair process, the rule of law, and the integrity of the legal system,” Gerken said.
She added the decision to cancel class was made by the professors, as the administration and faculty have worked with students to “come together as a whole to discuss this important moment in our country’s history.”
Fifty YLS faculty members signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday urging the Senate to “conduct a fair and deliberate confirmation process.”
“Many individual faculty members chose to reschedule or cancel their classes today, while some others held classes as usual,” a Yale spokesperson told Fox News in a statement. “The classes have been rescheduled to another time in order to make time for the community to discuss issues surrounding the confirmation process.”
Not all students agreed with the cancellations, however.
“While I respect the right of the students protesting to make their voices heard, I disagree with professors’ decisions to cancel classes at the request of those protesters,” YLS student Emily Hall told Campus Reform. “It effectively encourages students to participate in the protests and penalizes those who choose not to by disrupting the class schedule."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.