Legal scholar Akhil Amar says Yale Law School is ‘not living up to its highest standards.’
A prominent Indian American Yale Law School professor has blasted the school administration’s treatment of law student Trent Colbert and the Federalist Society, calling it “dishonest, duplicitous, and downright deplorable.”
Son of immigrants from India, Akhil Amar, a noted legal scholar called on the school to apologize for its actions toward Colbert, the Yale Law student who invited classmates to his “trap house.”
“I am not and have never been a member of the Federalist Society,” Amar said, adding that he is a life-long liberal Democrat, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
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But “ideological diversity” is important for challenging “implicit bias”—not just against members of other races, but those of other political persuasions, he said.
His remarks came at the Federalist Society’s annual convention in Washington, DC, recently. On a panel titled “Classrooms, Curricula, and the Law,” he said Yale Law School was “not living up to its highest standards” of open debate.
Amar also spoke of the tension between “real professors” and “administrators,” who now outnumber faculty at Yale, and took a tacit shot at the law school’s diversity director Yaseen Eldik, who took the lead in the school’s conversations with Colbert.
People “who aren’t themselves educators are playing an increasingly large role in universities,” the Sterling professor of law was quoted as saying, adding that administrative bloat is a “real problem.”
Law school dean Heather Gerken has announced an investigation into the situation but has thus far taken no concrete action, according to the Free Beacon. It is not clear when that investigation will conclude or whether the law school will make the results public.
Colbert, a second-year law student at Yale University has refused to apologize for a party invite he emailed to his peers that was accused of using “racist” language.
Colbert said 12 hours after he sent the email he was contacted by school officials and urged to issue a public apology, and that he was told “things might escalate” if he failed to do so.
“I could go back to studying for my classes. I could stop the seemingly endless meetings with Yale administrators. And I could save my legal career — a future that now seemed in jeopardy,” he wrote in an op-ed published on Persuasion.
Colbert, a member of the Native American Law Students Association and the conservative Federalist Society, recounts in his op-ed that he sent an email to fellow NALSA students last month inviting them to a party co-hosted by NALSA and the Federalist Society, referring to the party location as a “trap house.”
“Within minutes, someone sent a screenshot of my email to a class-wide forum where several students denounced the message as racist. In no time, people were calling for an apology,” he wrote.
“At first, I was unsure what I was being asked to apologize for. I became even more baffled when I was told that my use of the term ‘trap house’ indicated ‘inherently anti-Black sentiment,’” Colbert wrote. “As a Gen-Zer, I’ve always known ‘trap house’ to be synonymous with ‘party house.’”
“The top entry for ‘traphouse’ on Urban Dictionary matches exactly what I meant— ‘Originally used to describe a crack house in a shady neighborhood, the word has since been abused by high school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together and saying they’re part of a ‘traphouse.’”
“The popular understanding of ‘traphouse’ in no way suggests it is a racial slur,” he wrote. “If the usage of the term alone is offensive, why have the hosts of Chapo Trap House, the incredibly popular podcast which self-identifies as radically left-wing, not been asked to apologize for the same reason?” Colbert asked.