One day after Yale Law School suspended well-known professor Jed Rubenfeld on grounds of sexual harassment, author Suketu Mehta took to Twitter to say that the “mighty had fallen." He narrated how Rubenfeld had threatened to assault him at a party in 2014 after he called out racism in a book by him and his wife, Amy Chua.
Yale Law faculty were told of his suspension Monday. His suspension stemmed from a university investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed several students.
Who is Jed Rubenfeld?
Jed L Rubenfeld is a well-known American lawyer and author. In 1990, Rubenfeld joined the faculty at Yale and was given full professorship four years later. His areas of expertise include the First Amendment, Privacy laws and constitutional laws. He is also married Amy Chua, a fellow Yale professor and author of the best selling novel “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother”.
What are the allegations against him?
According to a report by New York Magazine, the allegations against Rubenfeld span over decades, almost dating back to when he started teaching at Yale. The report also suggests that his behaviour was notorious and most students were aware; some even cautioned their peers about him, warning each other to stay away.
Rubenfeld has been accused of unwanted touching, inappropriate remarks, verbal harassment, attempts to kiss his students, both at his home and at university. There is also one allegation which suggests that he tried to drop one of his students off while being under the influence of alcohol.
What does Rubenfeld have to say about his allegations?
Rubenfeld has categorically denied all the charges against him. He said that he “100% denies ever sexually harassing anyone." However, he said that he did regret some of things he had said or done but also said that anyone with a teaching career as expansive as his would have the same regrets.
What did Yale do about it?
Taking cognizance of the matter, Yale decided to suspend Rubenfeld for two years while a thorough investigation is launched into his activities and interactions with his students over the years. The faculty members on Monday received a message from their provost informing them about the suspension which would be effective immediately.
The message also said that when Yale would allow Rubenfeld to return, certain conditions would apply. He would be barred from teaching small groups of students and will have restrictions when it comes to social gatherings with students. For now, Yale has also removed Rubenfeld’s profile page from the list of faculty in the official website.
Is this the first time allegations have been made against Rubenfeld and wife Amy Chua?
No, this is not. Both Rubenfeld and Chua have previously defended Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who has repeatedly been accused of sexual misconduct.
According to a shocking report by The Guardian in 2018, the couple had were aware that Kavanaugh would hire female law students based on their physical appearances and Chua allegedly would advise the juniors on how to dress for Kavanaugh if they wanted to work for him.
In the same 2018 report, The Guardian said that they had learned of an investigation into Rubenfeld’s conduct at Yale. The internal probe focused on Rubenfeld’s treatment of female students and Chua using her influence in the clerkship processes.
The couple have also been accused of racism in a book they co-wrote, which Mehta referred to in his tweet. Chua and Rubenfeld released a book, “The Triple Package", in 2014 which talked about cultural and racial superiority. The book proposed a theory, which was deemed absurd and completely baseless, that suggested that certain communities like the Jewish, Chinese, Indian, Lebanese-Americans, Nigerians, Iranian and Mormons were culturally superior and other races would “contribute to the downfall of America."
(With inputs from Reuters)