Prominent Yale law professor suspended after sexual harassment inquiry | Yale University

A prominent law professor at Yale Law School who once argued that modern views about sexual consent encouraged people to think of themsel...

A prominent law professor at Yale Law School who once argued that modern views about sexual consent encouraged people to think of themselves as sexual assault victims has been suspended for two years following an investigation by the university that he sexually harassed students.

Jed Rubenfeld, who is married to Amy Chua, a fellow Yale law professor and best-selling author of the parenting guide Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, confirmed to the Guardian that he had been suspended and faced further restrictions on his teaching following a two-year internal investigation into his interactions with students.

New York magazine first reported news of the suspension.

Rubenfeld acknowledged that the Yale University investigation included an examination of claims that he inappropriately touched students, made harassing remarks, and attempted kissing. It also examined an allegation that he had once offered to drive students home while he was under the influence of alcohol.

A spokesperson for Yale University declined to comment on the case. It would not confirm that Rubenfeld had been suspended, or the reason for his suspension. It declined to comment on the university’s lack of transparency and declined to comment on whether students had been barred from speaking to the press about their experiences.

One person who attended Yale Law who had previously and anonymously spoken about the inquiry to the Guardian said she could not discuss the matter.

In an interview with the Guardian, Rubenfeld, whose faculty page has been removed, said he had made remarks and “jokes” in his 3o-year teaching career that he now regretted, but categorically denied he had every sexually harassed anyone “verbally or otherwise” and that he had never engaged in “unwanted sexual touching or attempted kissing”. He also denied ever having offered to drive a student home while he was intoxicated.

“It is just false and outrageous and not true,” he said of all the allegations.

When he was asked by the Guardian if he had ever engaged in a sexual relationship with any Yale students, Rubenfeld denied that he had ever had sex with his own students. He declined to comment further.

The news comes two years after Yale Law faced a backlash from students for its initial support of Brett Kavanaugh, the supreme court justice and Yale Law graduate who has faced multiple allegations of sexual assault. Kavanaugh denied the claims.

The development is significant because of the role Rubenfeld and Chua – who have been described as a power couple on the Yale Law campus – have played at the university.

In 2018, when the Guardian first reported news that Rubenfeld was facing an investigation into sexual harassment claims, sources who spoke anonymously said there was concern among some students that any attempt to complain or report allegations of Rubenfeld’s inappropriate behavior could lead to retaliation by Rubenfeld or Chua.

Chua previously served on a committee that helped students to secure highly sought-after clerkships with supreme court justices and other senior judges, including Kavanaugh, giving her a powerful role within the law school.

In a statement to the Guardian, Chua said she could not comment on “Jed’s issues” and said her own role at Yale “was not raised at all in the course of the investigation about Jed. No one called me or questioned me, and I don’t believe any one mentioned me in the proceedings.”

She added that she believed her classes are “among the most popular at law school, especially for women and minorities” and that she had been nominated for a Yale Law Women Teaching award in 2019.

In 2018, the Guardian reported that Chua had privately told a group of law students a year earlier that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models”. The Guardian also reported that Chua sometimes provided advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for Kavanaugh. Chua at the time denied making the statements.

Rubenfeld and Chua’s daughter served as a clerk for Kavanaugh about one year after Chua wrote a glowing op-ed about Kavanaugh in which she described him as a “mentor to women” in the Wall Street Journal.

When asked whether she still helped secure clerkships for Yale students, Chua told the Guardian she had voluntarily given up the role.

“It was actually a pleasure to step back – it was so much work! Especially because I went to enormous lengths to help place students from state schools or marginalized backgrounds that many judges tended to overlook. I never wanted to be on the committee, but the dean at the time begged me to serve on it, again because I had such success with historically unrepresented groups,” she told the Guardian.

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Newsrust: Prominent Yale law professor suspended after sexual harassment inquiry | Yale University
Prominent Yale law professor suspended after sexual harassment inquiry | Yale University
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