Kyung Mi Lee

Posters supporting sexual assault victims, including those who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 of sexual misconduct , were torn down from bulletin boards across campus on Saturday and Sunday.

The posters, which read “We Believe Christine Blasey Ford[,] Deborah Ramirez[,] Julie Swetnick[,] Anita Hill[,] Fernanda Lopez Aguilar[,] Naomi Wolf [and] All Survivors,” were torn down twice, at least once by Jack Palkovic DIV ’20, according to four people familiar with the incident who recognized Palkovic. Palkovic also drew media attention in February when he was assaulted while wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat during a protest against right-wing pundit Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California, Berkeley.

Around 7 p.m. on Sunday, Kyung Mi Lee ’21 posted two photos on Overheard at Yale of Palkovic tearing down the poster by the Women’s Table. Students in the popular campus Facebook page Overheard at Yale were quick to identify Palkovic, posting links to articles from left-wing blogs that describe him as “alt-right” and “white nationalist.” Following Lee’s viral post, Gabriella Limón ’20 posted a video of an eight-minute confrontation between her and the man from Lee’s photo at the corner of College and Wall Streets, in which Palkovic argued that it was his First Amendment right to tear down the posters.

“They use up the whole board, they are public places, tearing down a sign is part of free speech,” Palkovic said in the video Limón posted on Overheard at Yale. “[The signs are] making a statement that you have to have this viewpoint, or else you are not within the orthodox view on campus. … You don’t have the right to put up signs, saying ‘we believe,’ using the possessive ‘we,’ a plural ‘we’ for everyone here. I don’t believe it, so I want to take it down because I want to disagree.”

Palkovic did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday night.

The signs, on four separate bulletin boards across campus, were posted Thursday by a group of undergraduates who organized the Wednesday rally against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. The two posters by the Women’s Table and High Street gate were torn down Saturday night, according to Abby Leonard ’21, co-president of Students Against Sexual Misconduct. But even after students re-posted the signs Sunday morning, the posters near William L. Harkness Hall and the Women’s Table were once again torn down Sunday afternoon. While Palkovic tore down posters adjacent to the Women’s Table, it remains unclear who removed the posters by the High Street Old Campus gate, the Women’s Center and William L. Harkness Hall.

As an undergraduate majoring in European history at the University of California, Berkeley, Palkovic was a member of the Berkeley College Republicans. During his time in the organization, Breitbart ran an article featuring a video he filmed while arguing with his anti-Trump peers, in which he expressed frustration at their criticism of his political views.

Palkovic also frequently posted controversial, alt-right messages on his Facebook page during college according to the website of the Northern California Anti-Racist Action, which describes itself as composed of “anti-fascists and anti-racists” from Northern California. His Facebook account is no longer publicly searchable.

“‘Racist’ is an anti-white racial slur,” Palkovic wrote as his Facebook intro, according to screenshots posted to the internet by the Northern California Anti-Racist Action. “Men and women are different. People are not equal. #Trump2016.”

Seven students interviewed by the News, almost all of whom were involved in the activism against Kavanaugh’s confirmation, said they were disturbed by Palkovic’s actions.

“The act of tearing those down, it’s physical and it’s violent, and though I’m angry, though I’m disappointed time and time again when these things happen, I’ve realized we have a community here, and it’s strong,” said Miranda Coombe ’21, who organized the rally in the wake of the allegations against Kavanaugh.

Anna Blech ’19, one of the students who originally hung the bulletin board displays, called the incident “horrible, but not surprising.” She said that Kavanaugh’s hearings have been filled with “angry, immature men deeply distressed by the idea that sexual assault survivors should be allowed to speak.”

She added that, given the events of the past weekend, the same could be said for Yale.

Leonard, who reposted the bulletin board display after it had been torn down, said groups of students offered their support in hanging up additional signs. She added that, in the wake of the weekend’s events, activists should now focus on supporting victims of sexual misconduct.

“As we go forward, it is important to focus our energy and time on uplifting survivors, not on giving more power and attention to those who least deserve it,” she said. “We believe all survivors of sexual misconduct.”

According to Blech, as of Sunday evening, 49 people have volunteered to reprint and replace the posters since they were torn down. The student activists have also received several donations to cover reprinting costs, Blech added.

Both Ford and Kavanaugh testified regarding the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh before the Senate last Thursday.

Serena Cho | serena.cho@yale.edu

Asha Prihar | asha.prihar@yale.edu

Clarification, October 2: This article has been updated to more clearly reflect Palkovic’s involvement in political events at the University of California, Berkeley and to elaborate on the political affiliations of online blogs that allege Palkovic’s connection to alt-right and white-nationalist political movements.

  • ashketchum

    I think it would be important for this article to mention whether these displays ran afoul of any university regulations regarding the use of those bulletin boards. According to the Yale College Undergraduate Regulations, “Only one of each poster
    may be placed on the same bulletin board”. The intent of this regulation may have been to prevent a single group from monopolizing a bulletin board, but even ignoring that, this display appears to have multiple, identical tiles/pieces of paper.

    That being said, the display appears to have been flanked by two white pieces of paper with small, black text. Those pieces of paper could potentially explain that these displays were authorized by administrators, and if so that information would have been important to include in this article. Also, kudos to the organizers of these displays for apparently using thumbtacks to post the posters. Many groups resort to stapling, which is time-saving but against the rules (since it damages the bulletin boards).

  • Sol G

    Oddly, there is no sign saying “Felony perjurers, defamers, character assassins and those who choose to believe them will be held accountable.”

    Perhaps that was an oversight? Maybe it wouldn’t fit on the sign?

  • Sol G

    People are free to post what they wish on that kiosk. But it is grossly biased of the YDN to refer to “sexual assault victims, including those who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh” where it is far from clear that any of those accusers … none of whom has even provided significant corroboration … is a “victim” at all.

    Apparently the YDN has entered the “execution first, trial later” mode.

  • Sol G

    “We believe,” eh? It’s repulsive that Kavanaugh’s critics pretend not to see the significance of, and even deny the existence of, the towering mountains of inconsistencies and wild improbabilities – both internal and with respect to other evidence – in the testimony of the witnesses such critics choose to believe in the teeth of standard indicia of gross unreliability.

    Christine Ford, for example, still can’t confirm the basics of her account, including the place or year of the supposed assault, although she told her therapist that it happened when Ford was in her “late teens,” when Kavanaugh was already at Yale. She also can’t recall who brought her there or home (a twenty minute drive) or pretty much anything of significance. She has no facts, no corroboration, no medical report, no police report or even any evidence that there was a party at all. Under oath Ford said her polygraph was done in Maryland because of her grandmother’s funeral in July, but Ford could not recall if the polygraph was administered on the day of the funeral or whether she paid for it (they are quite expensive). Ford did not remember that the Senate committee had offered her the option to testify at home in California or in private, not only to her legal team, but also as reported in many news articles. Ford’s lawyers publicly claimed that she’s too frightened to fly and would have to drive to Washington. She actually flew, and admitted she had flown to Maryland, Hawaii, and Tahiti. In other words, that was a bald-faced lie. In her initial letter to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Ford claimed that she attended the party with Brett Kavanaugh, Mark Judge, PJ Smyth and her lifelong friend Leland Ingham Keyser. All of them have denied her story under the penalty of felony perjury. Keyser says she has never even met Brett Kavanaugh (remember, BELIEVE THE WOMAN). That’s a highly nonexhaustive list of just some INTERNAL problems with Ford’s perjury (O, I mean “testimony”).

    The professional prosecutor with 25 years of experience in sexual assault cases who questioned Ford on behalf of the Senate Committee explained in a detailed analysis in a memo published earlier today by the Washington Post that this case doesn’t meet either a probable-cause nor a preponderance-of-evidence standard. The experienced sex-crimes prosecutor states that there are significant reasons to doubt Ford’s recollections.

    And let’s not forget that the second door to Ford’s home added circa 2008 appears to be a separate entrance to admit her patients for the business for which she obtained a public permit at the time. Yet Ford testified that she demanded the second door from her then objecting husband to relieve her feelings of claustrophobia that – despite being a trained psychologist – she only realized around 2012 were caused by this decades-old “incident,” which was the first time she mentioned the incident to him or anyone. Those would be the very same feelings of claustrophobia that kept her from flying…except to Washington. And Maryland. And Hawaii. And Tahiti.

    And just why are the signatures of her parents and other close biological relatives missing from that letter of family support produced by her lawyers but almost entirely signed by members of her husband’s family? Maybe the FBI will ask.

    But “We believe Christine.” It’s disgusting. Hateful, corrupt and disgusting.

    But what about the other allegations? There are four others. One has been fully recanted, and the person bringing it is under criminal investigation at Senator Grassley’s referral. A second was introduced 100 percent anonymously, with no names or contact information. Even so, the woman it appears to describe (who was dating Kavanaugh in 1998) has totally refuted it, on the record, as “offensive and absurd.”

    A third was put forward by Yale alum Deborah Ramirez, a woman who, by her own private admissions to former classmates (reported by the New York Times), isn’t even sure Kavanaugh did it. She also offered zero firsthand corroboration (The latest reports suggest that she has somehow told the FBI of “corroborating” witnesses. Are those witnesses that she previously couldn’t remember or something?), and journalists couldn’t manage to confirm whether Kavanaugh was even present, after speaking with dozens of people — including those she placed in the room. Of course, lots of her Yale associates have come forward stating that if anything like her story had happened, they would have heard, but they heard nothing.

    Finally, there’s the insane gang rape cult claim. How’s the corroboration process going on that accusation? Exactly as you might expect, the Wall Street Journal has contacted dozens of friends, family and associates of the accuser without locating any who corroborates her bizarre story. O, and she has a highly checkered history.

    But “we believe” them all!

    Sure “we” do.

    One should not condone taking down these posters. But there are things going on at Yale that are a lot more “highly disturbing” than shredding these posters. The grim spectacle of Yale students shredding their minds and souls in the service of cheap, hateful partisan politics, for one.

    • KShypgnos

      I appreciate this response.
      I’m not a Yalie.
      The truth of the matter is that Kavanaugh was nominated by a trash interloper, who was enabled to be president by billionaire media conglomerates. Once elected, he refused to put his companies into a blind trust. Trump profits from the presidency… while a guy like Jimmy Carter put his peanut farm into a blind trust… to show he was willing to sacrifice for the honor of being president of the USA.
      The only disqualification necessary for Kavanaugh is that he was nominated by Trump. Besides that, his rotten behavior under oath shows he has no business serving on the Supreme Court. Not only was his behavior rotten, but he also lied.
      He’s not fit to be a judge.
      Let’s not forget the era in which we live.
      Trump is a walking violation.
      Kavanaugh represented Trump appropriately:
      Perjury and a rotten attitude.

      • Sol G

        I take it that you agree that the testimony of Kavanaugh’s accusers is insufficientltly reliable as evidence and should be disregarded.

        There is no Constitutional or legal requirement that a president not be an “interloper” (the Constitution is not drafted for the benefit of the current political establishment) or place his holdings into a blind trust. Neither George Washington nor Thomas Jefferson did any such thing, yet George Washington was worth over $500 million by today’s measures and Thomas Jefferson was worth over $200 million.

        Nor does the use of a blind trust imply the absence of corruption and self dealing. Lyndon Baines Johnson pioneered the presidential use of a blind trust. Throughout his presidency, Johnson and his aides insisted that he had divorced himself completely from his business interests. That was nonsense, according to biographer Robert Caro. LBJ spoke frequently with Texas Appeals Court Judge Anton Moursund, a member of his inner circle and the primary trustee. He also spoke frequently with his station general manager. Johnson installed in the White House residence special phone lines routed around government operators to conduct these calls. “All during his presidency, the phones stayed in place, and the calls went on,” Mr. Caro writes in the fourth volume of his LBJ opus, “The Passage of Power.”

        It was Hillary who had the lion’s share of support from the media and its billionaires, not Trump, who enjoyed only wavering support from Fox.

        You don’t like Trump, but your facts and history are unreliable.

        Kavanaugh’s critics keep harping on claims that he “lied,” but they can’t provide evidence, and you don’t here. And Kavanaugh’s treatment of his Senate critics was entirely justified by their scandalous sntics.

    • joeblow55

      An easy riposte. Kavanaugh’s brazen, partisan, mentally unhinged rant disqualified him for the Court. Amazing that in this case a possible rapist, likely alcoholic and partisan politician in robes was put on the Court. Time for extra legal measures to eliminate these life tenured political oligarchy’s stranglehold over our lives. Kavanaugh is a disgrace to the Court. Impeach him in February.

      • Sol G

        Yes, a riposte that begins with a wholly inaccurate recounting of its basc facts certainly counts as “easy” in some sense.

        Kavanaugh wasn’t functioning as a judge when he made his defense and had not been asked to be, he was functioning as an effective advocate, which is as much a revered and important figure as a judge. Kavanaugh’s long unblemished and admired career as a federal circuit judge, while ignored in simple minded tirades such as yours, demonstrates without question that his temperment is exactly right for the Court, and the dishonesty of his critics. Again such as you.

    • Ralphiec88

      You’ve just posted a couple of pages of diatribe, but you decry partisan politics? I don’t know if you’ve actually thought about this stuff or you’re just cut/pasting it, but its flaws are as obvious as the fact that we can never know for certain what happened to Dr. Ford. What is cheap and hateful is the self-serving propensity for partisans who claim that they “know” and focus on the supposed evils of the other side, instead of asking the legitimate question: is there any truth to this, and is this man qualified to be a supreme court justice? Practically no one has shown any genuine interest in that question.
      Those of us from the same time and similar educational environments know that Kavanaugh straight up lied under oath about the words in his yearbook. At his confirmation hearing for the Supreme Court. That alone should be troubling to anyone, regardless of politics

      • Sol G

        You’ve just posted a couple of paragraphs of irrelevant, ad hominem rantings plus a wholly unsupported claim that you “know” somebody “lied,” and you actually think you’ve made a valid argument?

        Pathetic.

        • Ralphiec88

          Judge Kavanaugh and I graduated the same year and attended similar schools. I can assure you that “boof” as it was used at the time has nothing to do with flatulence. So yes, I know he lied under oath. I’m hardly the first to point that out. The rest of your post is just more rant. My comments were relevant, and you might want to brush up on the definition of “ad hominem” before you misuse it again.

          • Sol G

            Ah, yes, YOU are the witness because you attended what YOU consider to be “similar schools.”. You “assure” the world. But you DIDN’T attend Georgetown Prep, so you DON’T know what you are talking about, and your “assurances” are bogus. By the way, omscient witness, does anyone get to cross examine you?

            You are ill-informed. Del Quentin Wilber, an LA Times writer who DID attend Georgetown Prep wrote:

            “10 years later at Georgetown Prep, students talked about boofing. One meaning was definitely farting. I don’t recall any others.”

            Mr Wilber latet expanded on his comment, providing some interesting additional details via email to another reporter:

            “Boofing was one way to describe farting when I was at Prep. A friend also remembered this being the case. He vividly recalled another student asking him if he had ‘boofed’ in class. He was confused bc at his previous school boofing had been a reference to a sexual act. We shared a laugh about this.

            “I know from graduates of the early 1980s that they referred to farting as boofing, but a couple told me it might be vomiting (a combo of booting and barfing). Not sure what to make of that.

            “When I originally tweeted that on Sept. 29 [sic], I had no idea it would become a big deal or picked over (not my tweet, the slang). It was just surprising that Prep slang had entered the lexicon.

            “A friend from college emailed me after he saw my tweet to say that boofing at his high school in Minnesota in the early 1990s was a sex act. So it must have meant different things to different people in different places.

            “Graduates of the early 1980s also told me Devil’s Triangle was a drinking game. It involved three cups of beer and bouncing quarters into them. Prep students played a lot of quarters. A bunch of ’83 [grads] mention Devil’s Triangle on their yearbook pages, and I find it hard to believe that students at an all boys high school of that era would be referring to the sex act as defined by urban dictionary. Too much stigma.

            “And a Georgetown Prep classmate of Kavanaugh’s who provided a highly critical statement about the judge’s high-school antics to The New Yorker nonetheless wrote that the only sense of ‘boofing’ he was aware of back then was smuggling drugs in an uncomfortable place. He also confirmed that ‘FFFFFF’ is likely an inside joke, not a sexual reference.”

            Everything I wrote above has circulated through much of the media. But you remain ignorant. Yes, it’s true that “boof” (and “bufu,” from which it was apparently derived) were sometimes and in some other places used to refer to a sex act during the 1980s. So what?

            You know nothing, but you pretend to omniscience.

            The rest of your reasoning is classic irrelevant, ad hominem nonsense. I especially enjoyed the ad hominem insult you tossed in the course of denying that your arguments are ad hominem that I “brush up on the definition of ‘ad hominem.’” Priceless, that. Clown.

          • Ralphiec88

            Still on about this? Thousands of people of our age have commented that “boof” didn’t mean flatulence. Go look up the lyrics of Zappa’s “Valley Girl” (1982) if you really need a reference from the time.

  • ShadrachSmith

    You guys really know how to intimidate, and the students are really intimidated. Congratulations?

  • la di dah

    I bet some Yale law grads understand that the u.s. constitution guarantees citizens right to speak freely to our governent. It is not a right that is guaranteed on private college campuses and it does not give any citizen the right to destroy another’s posters or speech. The Faklovic pig is misinformed. . and a bigot. How the heck calling someone a racist add up to ‘racist is an anti-white slur’? The kid who said that, the male entitled princess who said racist is an anti-white slur is projecting his meaning onto others’ thoughts. Look in the mirror, baby.

  • joeblow55

    Expel this racist. He committed a criminal offense by tearing down these posters.

  • disqus_OJ3VYYrP5G

    Kavanaugh’s hearings have been filled with “angry, immature men deeply distressed by the idea that sexual assault survivors should be allowed to speak.” Amen to that.