Four months after drawing protest for allowing military recruiters at its job fair, Yale Law School officials plan to address publicly the controversial presence of Judge Advocate General recruiters on campus before next month’s interview program.
In the fall, under threat of losing $350 million in federal funding, Law School officials suspended their non-discrimination policy in order to allow recruiters from the military’s Judge Advocate General, or JAG, to participate in the Law School’s on-campus interview program. The Law School previously did not allow JAG recruiters into the program because the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuality violated the school’s non-discriminatory policy.
Yale President Richard Levin would not comment on whether the Law School will allow the recruiters from JAG back on campus during the Feb. 6 interview program.
“We’re still discussing [the issue] with the JAG office — It’s been an exchange of letters and conversations — we’re still at that stage,” Levin said. “We’re really seeking clarification from the Army about where they stand.”
The Law School granted access to the recruiters after U.S. Army officials notified Yale that the University’s denial of access to students violated the 1996 Solomon Amendment, which ties federal funding to the allowance of military recruitment on university campuses. At the time, Yale received $350 million a year from the federal government.
Because of the risk to federal funding, Yale officials allowed Army JAG and Air Force JAG recruiters to attend the October interview program, but said they would also pursue ways to uphold the anti-discrimination policy without risking federal funding. During the October JAG visits, students protested the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” by standing outside the Law School wearing bandanas over their mouths.
Law School Dean Anthony Kronman declined to comment on the current discussions between Yale’s General Counsel Office and the Department of Defense. Kronman said he will most likely release a statement in the next two weeks.
Yale officials also sent a letter to the Army Friday, stating that the Law School is in compliance with the Solomon Amendment and asking the Army to explain why it believes Yale is not in compliance, Yale General Counsel Dorothy Robinson said.
Department of Defense officials were unavailable for comment this week.
Lindsay Barenz LAW ’04, chairwoman of OutLaws, the Association of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Law Students — which led the October protest — said she believes the Law School will again temporarily suspend its policies. Barenz said she expects JAG recruiters to be on campus Feb. 6.
Barenz said OutLaws sees itself as an ally of the administration, and said the Law School has been supportive and courageous in its dealings with JAG and the Department of Defense.
Barenz said Yale is not the only law school where students are protesting against what she called the Department of Defense’s “strong-arm policies” towards law schools. She said students from New York University, Harvard University, Stanford University and Washington University have been organizing and protesting against JAG recruiters.
“This is not some small discreet issue. It’s a national issue,” Barenz said.
Barenz said OutLaws has joined a national coalition to protest the Department of Defense’s policies by writing and circulating a national petition decrying the Department of Defense’s policies.