Wednesday, October 13, 2021
A Yale Law Student Sent a Lighthearted Email Inviting Classmates to His ‘Trap House.’ The School Is Now Calling Him To Account.
The best way to "make this go away," he continued, would be to formally apologize to Yale’s Black Law Students Association. "You’re a law student, and there’s a bar you have to take," Eldik said in a follow-up meeting on Sept. 17. "So we think it’s really important to give you a 360 view."
When the student resisted, saying he’d prefer to have a face-to-face discussion with anybody offended by his email, Eldik nonetheless drafted an apology for the student to send in the service of "character-driven rehabilitation."
Addressed to black student leaders, the note included an apology for "any harm, trauma, or upset" the initial email may have caused. "I know I must learn more and grow," the draft apology concluded, "[a]nd I will actively educate myself so I can do better."
The student ultimately declined to send the note, instead telling his classmates in an online forum that he welcomed conversations with anybody offended by his choice of words.
When the student hadn’t apologized by the evening of Sept. 16, Eldik and Cosgrove emailed the entire second-year class about the incident. "[A]n invitation was recently circulated containing pejorative and racist language," the email read. "We condemn this in the strongest possible terms" and "are working on addressing this."
Eldik, Cosgrove, and Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken did not respond to requests for comment.
Dubious discrimination complaints are nothing new at the Ivy League law school. In February, for example, a raft of affinity groups accused the Yale Law Journal of systematically excluding black students from the masthead. When the prestigious publication released its admissions data, it turned out that black students had been admitted at a rate of 61 percent—far higher than the rate for any other race or ethnicity.
But as "discrimination" and "harassment" have taken on ever wider meanings, anti-discrimination offices have taken on a larger mandate, enforcing not just equal opportunity but progressive ideology. At least one complaint alleged that the email "was a form of discrimination," Eldik told the student, while the "harassment" claims centered on how "psychically harmful" it had been.
That concept creep has been enforced by bureaucratic self-interest. Anti-discrimination officers have an incentive to address grievances in heavy-handed, public ways, a fact the audio drives home. When the student suggested letting his peers reach out to him individually to discuss their feelings about the email, Eldik responded: "I don’t want to make our office look like an ineffective source of resolution."
That resolution may not involve any formal punishment. In a third meeting on Oct. 12, nearly a month after the initial incident, Eldik and Cosgrove assured the student they would not put anything in his file that might pose a problem for the bar.
"We would never get on our letterhead and write anything to the bar about you," Eldik said. "You may have been confused."
At their first meeting, Eldik had hinted that the student's race might result in some leniency.
"As a man of color, there probably isn’t as much scrutiny of you as there might be of a white person in the same position," Eldik informed the Native American student. "I just want to acknowledge that there’s a complexity to th
One of many reasons I do not give money to the Yale Law School, besides not having much to give.