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‘Deplorable’: Top Yale Law Professor Rips Administration Over Handling of ‘Trap House’ Incident

Akhil Amar, a life-long liberal, tells the Federalist Society that Yale Law School is ‘not living up to its highest standards.’

Yale Law School professor Akhil Amar / YouTube Screenshot
• November 12, 2021 2:57 pm

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A prominent Yale Law School professor on Friday blasted the administration’s treatment of law student Trent Colbert and the Federalist Society, calling it "dishonest, duplicitous, and downright deplorable."

Akhil Amar, one of the most frequently cited legal scholars in the country, called on the administration 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. 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, D.C. 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 said, 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. It is not clear when that investigation will conclude or whether the law school will make the results public.