Hundreds of Harvard Law School students participated in a walkout on Monday to protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and show their support for Christine Blasely Ford and Deborah Ramirez, who have accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
The walkout follows an op-ed by four Harvard Law School students calling on the university to reconsider bringing Kavanaugh back onto campus as a teacher amid the sexual assault allegations against him.
“Will Harvard Law School take seriously the credible allegation of Kavanaugh’s sexual assault against a young woman before he is allowed to continue teaching young women?” Harvard Law School students Molly Coleman, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Jake Meiseles and Sejal Singh wrote in an op-ed published last week. “Or will Harvard allow him to teach students without further inquiry — and continue paying him our tuition money? In 2018, he earned $27,490 for 9 days of teaching.”
Kavanaugh to teach Harvard Law School class
According to the Harvard Law School website, Kavanaugh is scheduled to teach a course called “The Supreme Court since 2005” in the winter 2019 semester. Kavanaugh has taught courses at the school since 2008.
The students who wrote the op-ed say that continuing to employ Kavanaugh after sexual assault allegations have surfaced against him shows a blatant disregard for female students.
“We were extremely concerned about the radio silence that we’ve heard about the fact that Judge Kavanaugh is slated to teach here in January,” Singh told Metro. “We often find that women, especially women of color, are in position of self-selecting out of important educational opportunities like classes or clerkships because the men in power have a reputation for harassment.”
Christina Blasely Ford, a California-based academic, has said that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while the two were high school students. Deborah Ramirez also came forward on Sunday, accusing Kavanaugh of exposing himself to her at a party when they were both freshmen at Yale University.
The students who penned the op-ed are members of the Harvard Law School Pipeline Parity Project, which works to end harassment and discrimination in the legal field. Other Harvard Law School groups joined that project for the Monday walkout, as well.
“It was really energizing, there were so many people that came out” said Lauren Williams, president of the Harvard Black Law Students Association. “Just to see that we are all here standing in solidarity … for me it was really motivating, and I hope that we will continue and it won’t just be a flash in the pan.
The walkout was personal for Williams, she said, because as a woman of color, she knows how certain voices can be left out of the national conversation. She pointed to how Anita Hill’s testimony was “grossly mishandled,” and how Kavanaugh himself mentioned the Black Law Students Association during his Senate hearing as a “talking point” to bolster his character as motivation for her participation.
Singh estimated that there were about 400 students at the walkout, which was really exciting, she said, “because it takes a lot to get a Harvard Law Student to skip class.”
The students still haven’t heard from Harvard Law School officials regarding the op-ed, and officials did not respond to a request for comment from Metro. But Singh said they’ll continue to be active around this issue.
“I think at this point there is a clear consensus that Judge Kavanaugh cannot be confirmed if there’s not a thorough investigation of these allegations,” she said. “And we’re going to do our best to add to the nationwide movement to make that happen.”