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How Yale's Campus Is Watching And Reacting To The Kavanaugh Hearings

Sep 27, 2018
Originally published on September 27, 2018 6:34 pm
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Law students at Brett Kavanaugh's alma mater Yale gather to watch today's hearing as well. Many of those students are opposed to his nomination. Cassandra Basler from member station WSHU was there, and she spoke to some of them.

CASSANDRA BASLER, BYLINE: Law students squeezed on couches and filled the empty floor space in several wooden-paneled common rooms to watch Christine Blasey Ford appear before the Senate committee. A few students stepped outside to tell me that Ford was brave, but they were still upset about the hearing.

JENNY TUMAS: A lot of us are really pissed.

BASLER: That's Jenny Tumas. She's a second-year law student and member of the group Yale Law Students Demand Better. It organized protests in Washington, D.C., earlier this week calling for an FBI investigation into the allegations against Kavanaugh.

TUMAS: A lot of us are really angry about the way this is being rushed through. A lot of us are very, very angry about the way that we feel our school has been complicit and has played a large role in propping up Kavanaugh as a nominee since he - his nomination was announced in July.

BASLER: Tumas says the student protests started before Ford's allegations were made public. She says it was triggered by a law school statement that students saw as praising the nominee.

TUMAS: There was a press release released by the school that was lauding his character and his credentials, which we feel like was an endorsement of the nominee.

BASLER: On Monday, Yale students protested outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Here in New Haven, others held a sit-in at Yale Law School and town hall meetings between faculty and students. Carl Jiang, who is also in his second year, says some students have felt a little apprehensive addressing the issue with the teaching staff.

CARL JIANG: Professors are sort of the gatekeepers for prestigious clerkships, for different positions, for entry into academia. And for us, it's hard to navigate.

BASLER: But Jiang says he thinks this conversation is changing things for the better at Yale Law School.

JIANG: I think this is a moment of community building and hopefully - yes, there's a lot of grief. There's a lot of sadness. There's a lot of incredible anger in the room. But I am hopeful for Yale.

BASLER: In a statement earlier this week, Law School Dean Heather Gerken declined to take a position on the Kavanaugh nomination but says she was, quote, "so proud" of her students' advocacy and their support for what she called the integrity of the legal system. For NPR News, I'm Cassandra Basler in Connecticut. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.