More than 50 Yale alumni gathered outside the Yale Club of New York on Tuesday afternoon to protest the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90 to the Supreme Court.
“Yale Alumni Say No to Kavanaugh” — a group formed over the last weekend — organized the event just days after psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when the two were in high school. The police sectioned off an area, so members of the group — clad in Yale gear and holding signs expressing anti-Kavanaugh sentiments — could voice their outrage with the nominee. The night before, a separate anti-Kavanaugh rally gathered outside of the Club before marching into Grand Central Station, according to the Washington Post.
On Thursday, Kavanaugh spoke before the Senate to defend himself against allegations of sexual misconduct and claims that he drank heavily in college. During the testimony, Kavanaugh highlighted that he was “at the top of [his] class academically” and that he “worked [his] tail off,” referencing that he was admitted into both Yale College and Yale Law School.
“Brett Kavanaugh tried to use his Yale education as a credibility shield during last Thursday’s hearing,” said Erika Penzer Kerekes ’88, an organizer of the protest. “That’s not okay with me. I do not believe he belongs on the Supreme Court for a number of reasons but primarily because he lied repeatedly during last Thursday’s hearing.”
In addition to the protest, the group released an open petition on Monday which has received 1200 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The letter expressed solidarity with Deborah Ramirez ’87, Ford, Julie Swetnick and “others who may courageously come forward with allegations of sexual misconduct against [Kavanaugh].”
The letter calls for “full and thorough investigation of these allegations and respectful and fair treatment of his accusers.”
According to Pranav Jani ’93, an organizer of the protest, more than 20 Yale alumni formed the anti-Kavanaugh alumni group following Thursday’s hearing. Through online connections, the group managed to organize Tuesday’s protest, hosting it in New York City in hopes of reaching a larger number of alumni.
According to Harold Levine ’78, who attended the protest, most people speaking out in front of the Yale Club were Yale alumni, and the largest contingent of people came from graduating classes of the 1980s, when Kavanaugh attended Yale. Protesters partook in chants like “I say ‘Kava,’ you say ‘no’” and “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Kavanaugh has got to go.” He said the protest did not obstruct access to the Yale Club of New York.
“I think that this is a farce that Brett Kavanaugh is still under consideration for the Supreme Court,” Levine said. “There are certainly credible charges of sexual assault against him. Even if none of those charges are proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, it was clear to me within one minute of his testimony, that he is unhinged.”
The letter released by the group mentioned the “Women of Yale” and “Men of Yale” petitions. Yale alumni penned both petitions in response to the publication of Ramirez’s allegations regarding Kavanaugh’s inappropriate sexual misconduct in a New Yorker story last week. The “Women of Yale” letter, published online on Sept. 24, received over 3,000 signatures from Yale women. The “Men of Yale” letter was published the next day and had received more than 1,500 signatures as of Monday night.
Although the Yale Club of New York did not organize the event, they were aware of the event before it started.
“The Yale Club embraces the values of democracy and our members, along with the broader Yale alumni community, [who] have a deep history of leadership and service,” said Tim Muessle, general manager of the Yale Club of New York, in a statement to the News. “Peaceful protest has the potential to strengthen democracy and when it occurs near our location we do our part to accommodate with consideration for the safety and well-being of our staff and guests and all in attendance.”
Yale Club of New York was founded in 1897.
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