The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
UPDATE: This appears to be a law journal memo summarizing the relevant "diversity training" and the internal reaction to it. Two things stand out. First, compared to the tenor of the Free Beacon article, Eldik's role in choosing Ericka Hart for diversity training seems to have been quite limited, though how she wound up previously "training" 1Ls is unclear. Second, Hart decided to include a discussion of her understanding of "Israel's oppression of the Palestinians" as somehow relevant to diversity training on the Yale Law Journal. Somehow, coming from someone who apparently suggested that antisemitism does not exist, this is not shocking.
The Yale Law School administrator caught on tape pressuring a student to apologize for an allegedly racist party invitation pushed the Yale Law Journal to host a diversity trainer [Ericka Hart] who told students that anti-Semitism is merely a form of anti-blackness and suggested that the FBI artificially inflates the number of anti-Semitic hate crimes….
The controversy began when a law journal editor asked Hart why her presentation had addressed inequities like "pretty privilege" and "fatphobia" but not anti-Semitism. According to the memo, which collected feedback on the training from 33 law journal editors, Hart responded that she'd already covered anti-Semitism by discussing anti-blackness, because some Jews are black. She also raised questions about FBI data showing that Jews are the most frequent targets of hate crimes—implying, in the words of one journal editor, that the people compiling those statistics had an "agenda."
"She basically said anti-Semitism is a subset of anti-blackness," a Yale Law Journal member told the Free Beacon. "She didn't recognize there could be anti-Semitism against white people." That characterization is corroborated by two students quoted in the memo, and by a third who spoke on the condition of anonymity….
The journal solicited suggestions for a diversity trainer months earlier, according to the memo, and Eldik recommended Hart as an "impactful and informative" choice. The memo noted that Hart had already "led workshops for YLS Class of 2024's 1L Orientation, the Afro-American Cultural Center at Yale, the Yale Good Life Center, and the Yale School of Nursing."….
In her September presentation, Hart listed "perfectionism," "objectivity," "a sense of urgency," and "the written word" as examples of "white supremacy culture." Dismantling that culture, she said, required abolishing prisons, opposing capitalism, and imprisoning former president Donald Trump.
At least five different editors slammed the suggestion that things like "punctuality" and "objectivity" constitute white supremacy, with one going so far as to accuse Hart of racism. "How is it not infantilizing for her to stand up there and say such traits are inherently white," the editor asked. "This sort of neoracism is not something we should be promulgating at the journal."
The political culture at Yale Law School has been toxic for decades, but it was primarily student-driven; in my day, the faculty and staff were notably and noticeably committed to representing and encouraging students with diverse perspectives. Now, elements of the administration seems to be aligned with the most radical students, and beyond. Note that the whackadoodle diversity trainer had already "trained" first-year law students at orientation. It's time for Dean Heather Gerken to clean house.