The article was originally published here and is being reprinted with permission. It’s by Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon. A summary and link with this article would not do it justice.
Yale Law School’s administrators made it a point to press a Yale student into apologizing for the “triggering” email in his which he described his apartment as “trap house,” an abbreviation for a drug-dealing place. The administrators said that the email was partly due to the student’s membership in a conservative group.
Second-year law student was a member both of the Native American Law Students Association (and the conservative Federalist Society). He invited fellow classmates to an event hosted by both groups. “We will be christening our very own (soon to be) world-renowned NALSA Trap House … by throwing a Constitution Day Bash in collaboration with FedSoc,” he wrote in a Sept. 15 email to the Native American listserv. According to his theme, the mixer will serve American-themed snacks like apple pie and Popeye’s chicken.
For fear of reprisal, the student requested anonymity. The student is part Cherokee. This tribe was forced to flee during the Trail of Tears.
In a matter of minutes, the humorous invitation had been captured and sent to all second-year students on an internet forum. Some of these law students claimed the trap house term implied a blackface party.
The forum’s president, the Black Law Students Association, wrote that “I guess celebrating Whiteness wasn’t enough.” “Y’all needed to change to black face/cosplay.” A mixer’s association to the Federalist Society she claimed “has historically supported anti Black rhetoric” was another objection.
Trap house has been an expression of progressive pop culture at least since 2016, when the socialist podcast “Chapo Trap House” emerged on the scene. Three white men host the podcast, which has attracted sympathetic profile in the media. New York TimesIt is the New YorkerThe, GuardianIts name does not suggest anything racist. Once associated with inner city crack dens, “trap house” has also become generic slang for any place where young people can score beer.
Chapo Trap House hosts didn’t respond to my request for comment on the title of their show.
Within 12 hours of the email being sent, the student was called to appear before the Office of Student Affairs at the Law School. Administrators said they had received nine complaints of harassment and discrimination regarding the message.
At a Sept. 16 meeting, which the student recorded and shared with the Washington Free BeaconAssociate dean Ellen Cosgrove was also present. Yaseen Eldik, diversity director, explained that trap connotes crack use and hip hop. Eldik explained that those “triggering associations” are “compounded with the reference to fried chicken,” which was “often used to undermine arguments [that structural and systematic racism] has contributed to the U.S. racial health disparities.”
Eldik, an ex-Obama White House official said that Eldik’s student membership in the Federalist Society “triggered” his peers.
Eldik stated that the email’s association to FedSoc was very distressing for students, who feel FedSoc is part of oppressive political groups. That includes black communities, immigrant and LGBTQIA communities.
The statement signals that administrators at the country’s top-ranked law school now regard membership in mainstream conservative circles as a legitimate object of offense—and as potential grounds for discipline. Yale Law students created the Federalist Society. Over the years, it has become one the largest legal organizations in the nation. Members include all six conservative justices on the Supreme Court, as well as the late Antonin Scalia, who spoke at the society’s inaugural conference.
The Federalist Society is responsible for maintaining a fairly balanced judiciary in a country where American institutions tend to lean heavily left. A wider embrace of the stance conveyed by the Yale Law officials would effectively suppress—with the threat of disciplinary action—views and associations that have until now been commonplace in elite legal circles.
The episode also offers a peek into the culture of campus diversity offices that claim to be a resource for all students. Leaked audio suggests that the secretive offices of campus diversity are much less open-minded than they claim. They don’t want universities to be more inclusive. Instead, their goal is to threaten disfavored groups with exclusion.
Throughout the Sept. 16 meeting and a subsequent conversation the next day, Eldik and Cosgrove hinted repeatedly that the student might face consequences if he didn’t apologize—including trouble with the bar exam’s “character and fitness” investigations, which Cosgrove could weigh in on as associate dean. Those investigations review aspiring lawyers’ disciplinary records in considerable detail: The New York State Bar, for example, asks law schools to describe any “discreditable information” that might bear upon an “applicant’s character,” even if it did not result in formal discipline.
Cosgrove did not apologize for warning that the situation “may escalate”. Eldik added, “I worry about this worrying over your reputation and as a person.” “Not only here, but also when you go. The legal community, as you know, is small.
He said that the best thing to do to make this “go away” was to apologize in writing to Yale’s Black Law Students Association. “You’re a law student, and there’s a bar you have to take,” Eldik said in a follow-up meeting on Sept. 17. So we believe that it’s important to offer you a 360 degree view.
Eldik wrote an apology to the student for sending in his “character-driven rehab” service.
The note addressed black students leaders and included an apology to “any harm or trauma” that the email had caused. The draft apologize concluded that “I must learn more” and “I will continue to grow.”[a]I’m going to actively learn so that I do my best.”
In the end, the student declined to write the note and instead told his classmates via an online forum that it was open for him to have conversations with anyone who is offended at his choices.
Eldik and Cosgrove immediately emailed their entire second-year class to inform them that the student had not apologized before the night of September 16.[A]The email stated that a recent invitation contained pejorative language and was distributed to racists. “This is unacceptable and we condemn it strongly.” “We are committed to addressing the problem.”
Heather Gerken, Yale Law School Dean, Eldik Cosgrove and Cosgrove did not reply to our requests for comment.
Ivy League Law School is not new to dubious discrimination allegations. In February, for example, a raft of affinity groups accused the Yale Law Journal of systematically excluding black students from the masthead. When the prestigious publication released its admissions data, it turned out that black students had been admitted at a rate of 61 percent—far higher than the rate for any other race or ethnicity.
As “discrimination”, “harassment” take on new meanings, the anti-discrimination office has taken on an expanded mandate. They enforce not just equality of opportunity, but also progressive ideologies. Eldik stated to the student that at least one of the complaints alleged the email was discriminatory. The “harassment”, however, focused on the fact that it was “psychically dangerous”.
That concept creep has been enforced by bureaucratic self-interest. Anti-discrimination officers have an incentive to address grievances in heavy-handed, public ways, a fact the audio drives home. Eldik replied to the student’s suggestion to let his peers speak to him about their concerns regarding the email.
The resolution might not result in any punishment. Eldik and Cosgrove visited the student again on October 12, almost a month since the first incident. They assured him that nothing would be added to his file which could cause problems for the bar.
Eldik explained that they would not put anything on their letterhead about you. You may have been misunderstood.
Eldik suggested that student Eldik might be able to get some leniency because of their race at the first meeting.
Eldik explained to the Native American student that as a man-of-color, you are likely not subjected as closely as a white person. “I want to admit that it’s complex too.
Current Update: 3:58 PM Yale Law School issued a following publication. statement saying that “no student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech” at the law school. The statement stated that “no disciplinary probe was launched” or that any discipline action had been taken. While anyone can raise concerns regarding the character or fitness of a lawyer to the Bar Association, it is a tradition at the Law School that formal disciplinary actions are reported to them only.