Friday, 05 April 2019

Yale Law School Ends Financial Support of Students Working for Anti-LGBT Groups

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Yale Law School, the number-one law school in the United States and alma mater of many political leaders, is tightening the screws on conservative and religious students by refusing to support them financially if they take summer internships or accept employment with organizations that dissent from the LGBT creed.

On March 25, Yale Law announced via email that it would no longer fund summer public-interest fellowships, postgraduate public-interest fellowships, or loan forgiveness for public-interest careers for students who choose to work for organizations that discriminate on the basis of “sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.”

The money involved is significant. According to the Washington Examiner, “In the summer of 2018, Yale spent $1.8 million on its Summer Public Internship Fellowship program, helping financially support dozens of Yale students ‘working in public interest, government, and not-for-profit organizations.’ In just 2017, Yale provided $5.2 million in educational loan payment assistance to hundreds of graduates ‘who choose lower paying positions.’”

Yale Law’s Public Interest Committee unanimously decided to stop offering such assistance to students who opt for work with groups opposed to the LGBT agenda. Dean Heather Gerken, in an e-mail explaining the new policy, explicitly thanked a campus LGBT advocacy group called the Outlaws for bringing the matter to the committee’s attention. “We reaffirm our commitment that these students, faculty, and staff should not experience discrimination inside or outside of this Law School,” she wrote.

Although tensions between the school’s liberal and conservative students have been mounting since last summer’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, things seem to have come to a head in the last couple of months, culminating in the policy change. Third-year Yale Law student Aaron Haviland recalled:

After the Yale Federalist Society invited an attorney from Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a prominent Christian legal group, to speak about the Masterpiece Cakeshop case [in February], conservative students faced backlash. Outlaws … demanded that Yale Law School “clarify” its admissions policies for students who support ADF’s positions. Additionally, Outlaws insisted that students who work for religious or conservative public interest organizations such as ADF during their summers should not receive financial support from the law school.

For now, according to Haviland, Yale officials are saying privately that the new policy applies only to organizations that discriminate against LGBT people in their hiring, not those that simply oppose the LGBT agenda. That still rules out many conservative organizations, especially those with religious underpinnings. What’s more, since the text of the policy is vague, its application could easily be broadened to exclude more groups in the future.

Of course, the school insists that while it is no longer financially supporting students, it is not actually preventing them from working for groups with which it disagrees. However, as Haviland observed, “Without naming ADF, Yale has found a roundabout way to functionally blacklist them and other organizations that do not adhere to Yale’s progressive understanding of gender identity.”

In short, hewing to the ever-changing LGBT line is quickly becoming a litmus test for Yale Law students. “While the law governing nondiscrimination against LGBTQ people is subject to contestation,” the school declared in announcing the policy change, “the Law School’s commitment to LGBTQ equality is not.” At present, the school only penalizes students for working for conservative organizations. But how long will it be before non-LGBT-affirming students are simply denied admission, as the Outlaws suggested?

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is not waiting around to find out. On Thursday, he sent a letter to Gerken notifying her that the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, which he chairs, is opening an investigation into Yale’s “transparently discriminatory policy.” Cruz reminded Gerken that as a recipient of federal funds, Yale is bound to comply with federal civil-rights laws banning discrimination on the basis of religion. He also pointed out that the school’s stipend policy runs counter to Yale’s own antidiscrimination policy.

Whether anything will come of Cruz’s investigation remains to be seen. Nevertheless, the fact that the Left has so captured academia that the top-ranked law school in the land now demands fidelity to the LGBT agenda should seriously concern every lover of liberty and morality.

Image: Nick Allen / Wikimedia Commons

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