Law schools need to protect their rights

To the editor:

While we sympathize with James Kirchick’s paean to free speech, he misstates the nature and goals of our protest. ÊOur organizations have never asked students not to interview with military recruiters — we’ve simply requested they do so outside the confines of our official Fall Interview Program (FIP).

The armed forces are an honorable calling, and we salute our fellow law students who choose to defend our country. Our complaint lies not with them but with the heavy-handed tactics of the Pentagon. Military recruiters have had open access to Yale law students for decades, provided they contacted them outside FIP. By insisting on joining the program, the Defense Department hasn’t improved recruitment capacity one whit. Rather, its intent is sheer spite: universities that dissent from “don’t ask, don’t tell” must be punished, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Such punishment is wrong and, we believe, unconstitutional.

Kirchick says we should fight the Pentagon with more speech, but no amount of speech by itself will restore our school’s power to prohibit discrimination. It’s little wonder that law schools have turned to the courts to protect their rights.

Michael Kavey ’00 LAW ’04

Joanne Savage LAW ’05

Heather Sias LAW ’05

Adam A. Sofen LAW ’05

The writers are board members of the Student/Faculty Alliance for Military Equality (SAME) and OutLaws, the Law School’s g/l/b/t student group.

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