Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Yale Law School spectacle continues

What an embarrassment, mostly for Yale, but there's also a fair bit of myth-making (both about Rubenfeld and to a lesser extent Chua, and, again, about Yale).  I do suspect Heather Gerken's Deanship is not going to be long-lived.  A couple of excerpts:

Faculty members I spoke to have mixed feelings about it all. “There’s a weird schism among the students where they want the place to be utterly transparent and utterly equitable,” mused one who is sympathetic to that critique, “but they also want to keep the prestige and privilege that the place affords.” Three other professors told me that Chua is the victim of overzealous zoomers who have confused the natural hierarchy of achievement — and Chua’s right to favor whomever she wants — with a social-justice outrage. “There are a lot of mediocre students at Yale who were superstars in their little county fairs, and now they’re in the Kentucky Derby and they’re not winning their races and they feel like it’s unfair because other students are doing better,” says one faculty member who thinks the dean, Heather Gerken, was too deferential to students in how she handled the small-group affair...

Good to know what some Yale faculty think of their students!

“He [Rubenfeld] got hired in this way that was seen as the old boys’ network operating for a young man,” says one female colleague. Chua joined a decade later after, by her own account, bombing the interview and landing at Duke in the interim. Students at Yale Law School had begun to organize around the fact that there was only one woman of color on the tenure track, and they embraced Chua, who gamely threw herself into the mentoring and clerkship process.

Note the absurd and gratuitous dig at Duke.

Chua’s insecurity about her place at the law school has not been unfounded, though many of her colleagues seem awed by her public profile. “Jed is very much a figure in the intellectual life of the school,” says a male professor. “Amy, not at all. Has there ever been a more famous Yale Law professor than Amy Chua? No. On the other hand, she has no capital at the law school because she’s not an important scholar.” (She was an excellent party host, he conceded.)

Glad to see the faculty cattiness is not just reserved for the students, but also for colleagues.  (And Rubenfeld was "a figure in the intellectual life of the school"?)

At least six complainants had reported Rubenfeld’s excessive drinking, and six said they believed he had flirted with them. Collectively, they described speaking less in class; rearranging their course schedules to avoid Rubenfeld’s classes, even if they were interested in the topics; experiencing paranoia about getting close to other professors; and wondering whether they could cut it at Yale Law School. One said, “He repeatedly steered our conversations away from my paper toward my looks, my personal life, and things of a sexual nature.”

The Rubenfeld case is not the most serious case of possible sexual misconduct involving Yale Law faculty in the last twenty years, so it is ironic that it should land in the national media.  I suppose it all goes back to the "fame" Chua acquired in the wake of the embarrassing Tiger Mom book.

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