Yale Law School Dean’s Response to TrapHouseGate Controversy
Aaron Sibarium (Washington Free Beacon) reports, and David Lat (Original Jurisdiction) quotes it more fully [UPDATE: Right after posting this item, I saw Lat’s analysis, which quoted the e-mail in full, so I replaced my original quote from Sibarium’s excerpts with the more extended quote from Lat, though I also then noticed that Sibarium had the full e-mail but in PDF form; Lat’s analysis is also much worth reading]:
To the Members of the Community:
Recent events at the Law School have been the subject of controversy both on campus and in the national media. While the past several weeks have been difﬁcult, they present an important opportunity for us to reﬂect on our values and renew the commitments necessary to maintain a vibrant intellectual environment.
Let me start with ﬁrst principles. Free speech is the touchstone of every academic community. It is essential that we can all speak on—and disagree about—the most challenging issues of the day. The long-standing “Report of the Committee on Freedom of Expression at Yale” emphasizes “the need for unfettered freedom, the right to think the unthinkable, discuss the unmentionable, and challenge the unchallengeable.” A thriving learning community depends on wide-ranging conversation that includes people with very different points of view and from all parts of our society.
Conversations in such a diverse community should take place in an environment where everyone is treated with respect and where we hold ourselves accountable to one another. That is why “The Rights and Duties of Members of the Yale Law School” require a “scrupulous respect for the equal rights of others.” Moreover, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and University policy oblige the Law School to ensure a learning environment free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin.
[Deputy Dean Ian Ayres, who just investigated and wrote a report about Trap House-gate,] found the following:
(1) Several students raised concerns with the Law School and alleged that the email invitation in question constituted racial discrimination. Students who raised those concerns were told by administrators that the University’s free speech policy precluded disciplinary action of any sort.
(2) The boards of the Federalist Society and NALSA—both groups whose presence on campus we value—were entirely unaware of the email invit
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