Law Schools

Yale Law School touts dedication to a 'vibrant intellectual environment' after complaints of cancel culture

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Yale Law School

Yale Law School. Photo from Shutterstock.

Yale Law School has said it has taken several concrete steps to reaffirm its commitment to free speech in a message to alumni posted after critics expressed concern about a cancel culture environment.

“Yale Law School is dedicated to building a vibrant intellectual environment where ideas flourish,” the school said in the message posted Oct. 12.

Two federal appeals judges, both appointees of former President Donald Trump, have said they will no longer hire Yale Law graduates as clerks because of concerns the school stifles conservative views. The judges are Judge James Ho of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at New Orleans and Judge Elizabeth Branch of the 11th Circuit at Atlanta.

Ho had cited two incidents at the school: Students disrupted a speaker from a conservative group in March, and last year the school tried to get a law student to apologize for what it deemed to be an offensive invitation to a “trap house” Constitution Day bash in connection with the Federalist Society.

Heather K. Gerken, dean of Yale Law, said in the message the school had taken several steps, including:

    • In March, the law school “made unequivocally clear” that attempts to disrupt campus events are unacceptable.

    • The law school adopted a policy banning the surreptitious recording of meetings and events sponsored by the law school or on its property. And the law school banned classroom recording absent permission. Any recordings made cannot be shared or posted. The purpose is to encourage the fee expression of ideas.

    • The law school redesigned orientation “to center around discussions of free expression and the importance of respectful engagement.”

    • The school hired a new dean of students, who will encourage students to resolve disagreements among themselves, “rather than reflexively looking to the institution to serve as a referee.” She replaces the associate dean who retired after seeking an apology from the student author of the trap house invitation. The student had secretly recorded the conversations.

Hat tip to Reuters and, which had coverage of the announcement.

See also: “After 5th Circuit judge boycotts Yale Law School grads, his conservative colleague hangs out welcome sign”

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