President Levin should support law faculty and student suits

To the editor:

We, the undersigned, write to express support for the Yale Law School faculty and students who recently filed lawsuits against United States Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld to challenge the applicability and constitutionality of the so-called Solomon Amendment.

These lawsuits respond to threats made by the Department of Defense to cut off approximately $300 million in annual federal funding to Yale University unless the Yale Law School exempts military recruiters from signing the standard non-discrimination pledge required of every other employer using its recruitment facilities. The military cannot sign this pledge because it discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation.

We believe the lawsuits seek to vindicate two values held broadly across the University:

¥Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation. Yale University has long adhered to a principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The United States Supreme Court, like much of America, has begun to recognize the wisdom of what Yale has long believed: discrimination on this basis is just as pernicious as discrimination on the basis of race or gender.ÊAt such a crucial moment, Yale should not sacrifice its opportunity to be on the right side of history.

¥University Autonomy. Yale University has also long upheld a principle of institutional autonomy. We believe that principle is violated when the government threatens broad funding cuts to force a specific change in University policy entirely unrelated to the purpose of the governmental funding. We believe such commandeering impinges on the autonomy of the University regardless of the content of the change sought.

For this reason, we urge President Levin to support the lawsuits and to challenge the government’s attempt to bring discrimination into our community.

Lesbian and Gay Studies Committee

Yale Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association

Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Co-operative at Yale

Non-Straight Frosh

OUTLAND (Graduate and Professional School Students, including students from the School of Art, the School of Architecture, the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, the School of Music, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Drama)

Yale Divinity School LGBTA Coalition

Lambda Health Alliance (Including students from the Yale School of Medicine, the Yale School of Nursing, and the Physician Associate Program)

OutLaws: The Association of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Law Students

November 19, 2003

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