Yale law students sue deans, diversity director, claiming they violated school harassment policies

Two students of color say law schools deans and a diversity director took action against them following their refusal to disparage Amy Chua

Updated: November 16, 2021 - 9:24am

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A lawsuit filed Monday alleges Yale Law School administrators tried to prevent two students of color from receiving job opportunities because they refused to make harmful statements about their professor. 

The suit filed Monday in federal court alleges the three administrator's actions violated the university's harassment policies, which prohibit the school administration from taking "any adverse action" against a person "who has reported a concern" or "participated in an investigation," according to the Washington Free Beacon.

The case names as defendants the law school's dean, Heather Gerken, associate dean Ellen Cosgrove, and diversity director Yaseen Eldik and alleges they retaliated against the students after refusing to make what they called "knowingly and materially false statements" against controversial law professor Amy Chua.

When the students refused, Gerken and Cosgrove allegedly asked a professor not to offer them a prestigious fellowship, in part by allegedly suggesting that both students were untrustworthy.

Eldik and Cosgrove also allegedly suggested the students would suffer career repercussions for their refusal to comply.

The case is separate from one related to Gerken at one point having removed Chua from a teaching post for allegedly violating an agreement that barred her from hosting students at her home.

A "dossier" was circulated by and among Yale law students who alleged the plaintiffs had lied about attending the secret dinner parties at Chua's home, accusations which the plaintiffs deny and the administrations did not investigate prior to issuing threats against the two students. 

The administrators followed through on their threat to tell the students' professor about the allegations against the students, and neither student was awarded the fellowship.

The suit charges that the administrators violated the school's "Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment," which according to the suit is "a binding contract on all members of Yale’s community – whereby the administration is explicitly prohibited from retaliating against students who report a concern, file a complaint, and/or participate in an investigation." 

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