NEW HAVEN (AP) — Dozens of students dressed in black staged a sit-in at Yale Law School on Monday to protest the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and demand an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against him.
Organizers said allegations of sexual assault and harassment should be taken seriously, and Kavanaugh poses a “real threat” to the country. Other Yale students traveled to Washington to protest Kavanaugh’s nomination on Monday.
“We are interested in making sure that the judicial confirmation process can be as fair and thorough as possible,” law school student Dianne Lake told the New Haven Register. “And that we as a community, as a country, as a nation, take allegations of sexual violence and sexual misconduct seriously and that we value the voices of women that come forward and treat them with the respect that they deserve.”
The sit-in came the morning after new allegations against Kavanaugh were reported by The New Yorker, which published an account by a woman, Deborah Ramirez, who alleged Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drunken dorm party when they were students at Yale during the 1983-84 academic year.
Another woman, Christine Blasey Ford, is accusing Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a party when they were teenagers. Both Kavanaugh and Ford will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Kavanaugh, also a Yale Law School graduate, denies both women’s allegations, which President Donald Trump called “totally political.”
Some Yale faculty members cancelled or rescheduled law classes Monday to accommodate the protest.
“The allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are rightly causing deep concern at Yale Law School and across the country,” Yale Law School Dean Heather Gerken said in a statement. “As dean, I cannot take a position on the nomination, but I am so proud of the work our community is doing to engage with these issues, and I stand with them in supporting the importance of fair process, the rule of law and the integrity of the legal system.”
Gerken said 50 faculty members have signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee urging a “fair and deliberate” confirmation process.
The law school had issued a press release about Kavanaugh’s nomination in July, with Gerken and other faculty members praising his work. But Yale Law School spokeswoman Janet Conroy told the Yale Daily News the press release was not an endorsement of the nomination.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a Yale Law School graduate, was at the law school protest Monday.
“The United States Senate cannot in good conscience vote on this nomination without a full, fair FBI investigation, and without an opportunity for these sexual assault survivors to be heard,” the Connecticut Democrat said.
This story has been corrected to show some Yale faculty members cancelled classes Monday, not Yale officials.