On Wednesday, over 200 students and faculty gathered around the Women’s Table, chanting “Yale’s complicit, that we know, Kavanaugh has got to go.”
In the latest Yale protests, undergraduates and faculty expressed their support of the three women who have levied allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90.
Hours before students marched outside Sterling Memorial Library, a third allegation of sexual misconduct emerged against Kavanaugh. In an affidavit released via Twitter from her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, Julie Swetnick alleged that Kavanaugh was present at a party where she was drugged and gang raped while the two were both in high school. She also claimed she witnessed several efforts by Brett Kavanaugh and others to “cause girls to become inebriated and disoriented so they could then be ‘gang raped’ in a side room” at other such parties.
The rally — known as “Solidarity with Survivors: Rally for a Better Yale” — began with a silent gathering on Old Campus, after which the crowd marched to the Women’s Table.
“In the entirety of its history, this institution has silenced and shut down the marginalized and continued to hand power to abusive and cruel men like Brett Kavanaugh,” said Ry Walker ’20, an organizer of the rally who addressed the crowd. “Survivors have brought a great deal of positive change to this campus, but in order for Yale to change in its entirety, the administration must elevate the voices of these activists.”
According to Gabi Limón ’20, another organizer of the rally, students gathered to “step up where the administration has failed” — supporting survivors of sexual misconduct.
Limón also said the University should hold groups that have a history of sexual violence accountable, including the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity that came under fire this year for allegations of sexual misconduct and of which Kavanaugh was a member.
Valentina Connell ’20, another organizer of the rally, noted that though President Peter Salovey sent an email to the student body to stand against sexual misconduct at Yale, in the email he did not outline a preventative plan for the future.
In a speech to the crowd, Naomi D’Arbell Bobadilla ’20 demanded that the University release a statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Kavanaugh’s nomination. Additionally, D’Arbell Bobadilla called for the University to create an action plan to prevent sexual misconduct as well as publicly denounce the hostile sexual climate “that Kavanaugh has normalized.”
“For our peers, we want to affirm the high standards of our community of respect and bodily autonomy. We want people to hold themselves, their friends and their communities accountable,” Limón told the News.
Many members of the Yale faculty and administration attended the rally in support, including Yale College Dean Marvin Chun. He declined to comment, saying that “today’s a day for listening.”
“One of the things we are trying to do as faculty is saying that [a] Yale education is not about going out and getting a job, but a Yale education is about being a good inhabitant of the planet and understanding the heterogeneity of people around the world,” said Inderpal Grewal, professor and chair of the Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
In an interview after the rally, Grewal told the News that this event reminded faculty members to teach students both ethics as well as academics. Yale has the power to create influential leaders, she added.
Attendee Jordan Perry ’20 stressed the importance of “showing up” to support sexual assault survivors and to demonstrate that Yale students “care just as much for first-generation women of color and minority groups as they care about prestige and power.”
After the rally, Michelle Peng ’19 said she felt optimistic about the future of the sexual climate at Yale. She added that she hopes her peers value the importance of sexual respect and hold perpetrators accountable.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination on Friday.
Jever Mariwala | firstname.lastname@example.org .