George Mason University students organized, collected 10,000 signatures and met with administrators in hopes of convincing them to rescind their invitation to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh to teach a class this summer. Their efforts failed to convince administrators to reverse course.
According to CBN News, Justice Kavanaugh signed a contract to teach one class each of the next three summers at the University’s Antonin Scalia Law School campus in the United Kingdom. Students opposed Kavanaugh’s presence on campus because of accusations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford when the two were teenagers in the early 1980s.
George Mason’s Student Government Association, along with an advocacy group called Mason for Survivors, organized a town hall in which administrators met with students for more than two hours last week. For the first hour, administrators heard students tell their stories of being sexually assaulted. Then, the administrators responded to a set of prescreened questions.
When pushed on retracting Kavanaugh’s contract, University President Angel Cabrera told students that the school’s reputation is at stake and that students must accept the decision even if they find it difficult to swallow. He said, “Even if the outcome is painful, what’s at stake is very, very important to the integrity of the university.
University Provost S. David Wu told students that the law school hired Kavanaugh, but he saw “no reason for the university to override” their decision. Cabrera seconded Wu’s comment, saying the law school should be free to hire who they want.
Students pressed administrators on whether they considered the well-being of students when they issued the invitation. One male student asked, “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?” Students in the meeting snapped their fingers in agreement with the question.
Another student commented that “A blatantly obvious response by GMU (would be one) that states that they do not believe Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony and second do not care about the safety of their students.”
Cabrera held his ground with the students and encouraged them to see the matter from the university’s perspective. He said, “Even if in this particular case the outcome is one that you deeply disagree with, the process by which these decisions are made and the reason why we are so firm in defending them is actually essential to the way a university like ours operates.
Alison Price, senior associate dean at the law school, said she would make sure they considered the “implications for all students” in making faculty hires in the future.
Huffington Post asked President Cabrera after the town hall if he would think about revisiting Kavanaugh’s contract if students continued to protest and say they felt unsafe. He answered succinctly, saying “No. It’s done.”
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Pool