Case study focused on Yale Law School professor seeks change for Title IX policies
Yale Law School. Photo from Shutterstock.com.
Using the recent sexual misconduct findings against Yale Law School professor Jed Rubenfeld as an example of why Yale University’s Title IX policies should be revised, law students there recently released a case study with suggestions for change, including the use of a website to track and pair anonymous complaints, and providing pro bono representation for accusers and respondents.
Rubenfeld, a constitutional law professor, talked to New York Magazine in August about his two-year suspension and “absolutely, unequivocally, 100%” denied sexually harassing anyone.
According to the article, allegations against him include verbal harassment, unwanted touching and attempted kissing. People reportedly said the alleged behavior took place for years in the classroom and at parties in his home.
In an Oct. 12 email to the ABA Journal, Rubenfeld wrote that he “categorically and unequivocally” denied ever sexually harassing anyone “verbally or otherwise.”
“A lot of false information is circulating about this. I read in at least one media story that allegations of unwanted sexual touching were made against me. There were no such allegations, and, of course, I engaged in no such conduct,” he wrote.
Also, Rubenfeld wrote that he has been misquoted about not knowing the names of his accusers. Rubenfeld claims that he never said that and instead wrote that he was not told their identities or what the charges were for a two-year period.
“But as I said to the reporter, I eventually was told the identity of my accusers. Let me add that I do believe that it took courage for these students to come forward, and it did come at a personal cost to them, even if I deeply disagree with their claims.” Rubenfeld wrote.
According to the New York Magazine article, Rubenfeld received a two-year suspension from the university. The case study, titled Report on Sexual Harassment at Yale: A Case Study on Jed Rubenfeld, asks that he be permanently removed from the institution.
“When Jed Rubenfeld is allowed to return to YLS and resume teaching, in just two years, he will still be dangerous. There is no reason to believe there will be any change in his behavior—the only change will be that all the students who are aware of his transgressions will have graduated, thereby impairing institutional memory. We do not want Jed Rubenfeld to prey on a new generation of students,” the authors wrote.
They represent the Yale Law Women Board and the working group chairs of the Yale Law School Title IX Working Group.
A timeline from 2008 to 2018, with references about Rubenfeld’s alleged misconduct that were made in law school forums and Yale’s Law Revue shows, is included in the case study. It also cites articles about the allegations written by the Guardian, Above the Law, Slate and Yale Daily News.
One of the Guardian articles, written in 2018, reported that Rubenfeld was the subject of an internal Yale investigation focused on his conduct with female law students.
He is married to Amy Chua, a contracts professor at Yale Law School who wrote the parenting book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The article reported that the couple allegedly told law students that Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, then a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, preferred female clerks with a certain look, which was feminine and conventionally attractive.
In July 2018, Chua wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal supporting Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. In June 2019, her and Rubenfeld’s daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, was selected as a clerk for Kavanaugh.
ABAJournal.com: “Yale Law School professor accused of sexual misconduct is suspended for 2 years”
ABAJournal.com: “Yale Law’s Chua, Rubenfeld deny advising Kavanaugh clerk candidates to dress a certain way”