First Camille Paglia’s university stands up to students on her behalf, now this. Since when do universities resist the whims of the woke brigades?
If you find it gross that college students would support blackballing someone on the basis of a bare allegation, remember that that’s how students themselves are treated on campus under Title IX. Guilty until proven innocent is academia’s version of due process when it comes to sexual misconduct. If you can destroy a young adult’s future on someone’s say-so in the name of zero tolerance for rape, surely you can deny a Supreme Court justice his summer side hustle for the same reason.
And before you ask: Yes, of course Bill Clinton has spoken at GMU before. In 2008, at a campaign event for Hillary, in fact.
Here’s HuffPost reporting on a campus town hall held on Tuesday night by the university’s president and other officials to let students vent about their decision to hire Kavanaugh for a part-time teaching gig. Students won’t even have to interact with him on campus: His summer class will be taught in England during July and August, when the Court — and school — aren’t in session. Even so, 10,000 people have signed a petition cancel his gig. The crowd on Tuesday night was aghast that administrators seemingly didn’t share their disgust that GMU was about to employ someone accused of something terrible:
Provost S. David Wu said it was the law school’s choice to hire Kavanaugh, and he saw “no reason for university administrators to override” their decision. Cabrera agreed, emphasizing the need to protect the law school’s ability to hire who it wants. Alison Price, senior associate dean of GMU’s Antonin Scalia School of Law, said she would ensure going forward that faculty would thoughtfully consider a hire’s “implications to all students.”
Students were somewhere between baffled and outraged that none of their school’s leaders saw a problem with giving Kavanaugh a job.
“In hiring Kavanaugh, to what extent did you consider the mental health of the survivors on campus and how that might affect them and their education?” asked one male student, as the room filled with the sound of students snapping their fingers in support…
HuffPost asked Cabrera after the event if he saw any possibility of revisiting the school’s contract with Kavanaugh if students continue to protest and say his association with the school feels inappropriate or makes them revisit their own sexual trauma.
“No,” he said. “It’s done.”
One student asked the six administrators on the panel who have kids to raise their hands if they’d feel comfortable having someone accused of sexual assault around them. Only two did. Which was clever because of course there *are* cases where you’d want to usher someone away from children even though they haven’t been convicted of a crime. No one wants Harvey Weinstein as a guest lecturer on gender studies. No one wants O.J. coaching the women’s swimming team.
Actually, O.J. has been convicted of a crime, hasn’t he? Well, you know which crime I mean. That other one.
What they could have said, though, (and probably wanted to say) was that it depends on how credible the accusation is. If the accuser can’t remember where the attack happened; can’t remember when; can’t remember who was at the party where it allegedly occurred; didn’t tell a soul for decades; made her accusation in the context of a politically turbo-charged confirmation fight; and was contradicted by character testimonials from dozens of women who know the accused, then yes, perhaps you’re okay with your kids around that person. Another way they could have answered is this: If Christine Ford had decided not to testify but Michael Avenatti had brought Julie Swetnick forward to make her claim about Kavanaugh and gang rape, would that have sufficed to drive him away? How bare does a bare allegation of sexual assault need to be to justify blackballing?
But the administrators couldn’t say that. To imply that they didn’t believe Ford would have invited disingenuous attacks that they don’t think accusers should ever be believed. Then their political problem would have been worse.
I understand why GMU chieftains want Kavanaugh there. This is the university that renamed its law school after Antonin Scalia, a decision that came with big money attached. How big? When they announced the name change, they also announced that they had received $30 million in gifts, of which $10 million came from the Charles Koch Foundation and the other $20 million came from an anonymous donor who had approached Scalia’s friend Leonard Leo about it. (Leo is now Trump’s right-hand man on judicial appointments, a key player in getting Kavanaugh on the Court.) A few months ago the school announced a new donation of $50 million(!) from the Rouse family, admirers of Scalia. To have pulled the rug out from under Kavanaugh now under left-wing pressure would have jeopardized GMU’s lucrative relationship with the conservative legal world. I think long-term they’re hoping not just to rake in the dough but to build a strong enough brand in the conservative imagination that they become a top pick for talented young right-leaning lawyers — basically the Federalist Society JV team.
Why Kavanaugh wants this gig is less clear to me, though. Remember that he quit his job at Harvard after students and alumni there freaked out about having him back on campus after the Ford saga. Although his lecture series in England won’t attract as much aggravation from protesters as it would if it were held here in the U.S., it’ll surely attract some. Why subject himself to that?