Alongside nationwide walkouts and Capitol Hill protests, hundreds of students at Yale Law School (YLS) demonstrated on and off campus on Monday to demand thorough and fair investigations into the multiple allegations of sexual assault that women have levied against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
"We're organizing both to oppose the hasty, biased, and incomplete investigation of the Brett Kavanaugh sexual assault allegations and to support and stand with Professor Christine Blasey Ford, Debbie Ramirez, and all people who have experienced sexual violence and sexual harassment," YLS student Veronica Guerrero told The Cut, referring to two women who have publicly accused Kavanaugh, a graduate of Yale College and Yale Law School.
At a morning sit-in, law students crowded a hallway and sat in silence to oppose Kavanaugh:
WATCH: Dozens of students sit in silence, wearing black demanding thorough look into accusations against Yale alumnus and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. 31 law school classes have been cancelled today in light of protest. #nbcct pic.twitter.com/yCthpadhuj
— Shannon Miller (@_ShannonMiller) September 24, 2018
While Ford accused Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a party during high school, Ramirez allegedly encountered Kavanaugh when they were both students at Yale. As The New Yorker reported Sunday, Ramirez said he "exposed himself at a drunken dormitory party, thrust his penis in her face, and caused her to touch it without her consent." Kavanaugh repeatedly has denied all allegations.
On Monday, YLS faculty reportedly cancelled at least 31 classes scheduled throughout the day after receiving requests from students who wished to attend the various events on campus or to travel to Washington, D.C. to protest Kavanaugh's pending confirmation on Capitol Hill.
Catherine McCarthy, a third-year law school student who posted a video of Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaking at a campus sit-in on Monday, told HuffPost that at least 260 people showed up, most of them dressed in black, to demand an investigation into the allegations.
“Today is an occasion & opportunity to show that we stand with survivors of sexual assault & have their back against the attempts to shame them or stigmatize them. We must make sure they are treated with respect & have an opportunity to be heard.” #BelieveSurvivors pic.twitter.com/bazEaLVmUj
— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) September 24, 2018
"There are some tears. There are a lot of shows of support," McCarthy said, describing the sit-in. She said students are "angry on behalf of people who have been mistreated, particularly on behalf of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez."
"We are all here for the same reason. We consider this part of our community," McCarthy added. "We urge the Senate Judicial Committee to give Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Debbie Ramirez the fair investigation that they're due and they've asked for."
Diane Lake, a second-year law student who helped organized the sit-in, addressed the group of students and faculty who gathered on Monday. "As a community, we are here today to show that we take allegations of sexual assault and harassment seriously," Lake declared. "We are here today to discuss the very real threat that Brett Kavanaugh poses to this country."
RIGHT NOW: @Yale law students staging a sit-in in law school building demanding a full, fair and impartial investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. #nbcct pic.twitter.com/3jlxRk6IoY
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— Shannon Miller (@_ShannonMiller) September 24, 2018
The actions on Monday came after the Guardian reported last week that Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld, married YLS professors, told potential female clerks that Kavanaugh sought a certain "look," and that Chua even coached the women on their appearance—which she has denied. A spokesperson assured the Guardian as well as the the Yale Daily News, a student newspaper, that the school would "promptly" look into the claims.
YLS Dean Heather Gerken on Monday released a statement supporting students and staff who are engaging "with the most important issues of the day." Noting that the allegations "are rightly causing deep concern" at the school and across the country, she said, "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 also acknowledged an open letter to Senate Judiciary Committee that's now been signed by some 50 members of the YLS faculty. "We are concerned about a rush to judgment that threatens both the integrity of the process and the public's confidence in the Court," the letter reads, calling for a probe of the allegations and "a fair and deliberate confirmation process."
That call has been was echoed by advocacy groups and sexual violence survivors who protested in Washington and walked out across the country on Monday, sharing updates on social media with a myriad of hashtags that included #CancelKavanaugh and #BelieveSurvivors.
Protestors, joined now by 100+ Yale students (including many from Yale law) have moved to Russell Rotunda. This has been a sustained, well-organized, 2+ hour anti-Kavanaugh effort pic.twitter.com/SGLasnY7lN
— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) September 24, 2018
As people nationwide wore black and walked out, hundreds of demonstrators flooded the Senate building on Monday to pressure particular senators to oppose Kavanaugh's confirmation. Dozens were arrested for participating in the D.C. action, including some Yale students.
Dana Bolger, one of the more than 100 YLS students who traveled to D.C. to visit senators' offices and demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court, told The Cut that everyone is "mad as hell," specifically pointing to frustration over lawmakers' failure to learn from Anita Hill's 1991 testimony that then-nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her.
"It is unconscionable that it is 2018 and the Senate is set to repeat the same shameful mistakes of over two decades ago," Bolger said. "We should be past this."