The Yale Law School administrators at the center of the "traphouse" incident are now the subject of an unrelated lawsuit alleging that they "worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation" for their refusal to make damning statements about a professor. The suit charges that their actions violated the university's harassment policies, which prohibit the administration from taking "any adverse action" against a person "who has reported a concern" or "participated in an investigation."
The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court on Monday, alleges that the law school's dean Heather Gerken, associate dean Ellen Cosgrove, and diversity director Yaseen Eldik retaliated against two students after they refused to "make knowingly and materially false statements" against Amy Chua, a Yale Law professor who has courted, and attracted, controversy.
When the students refused, Gerken and Cosgrove allegedly asked a professor not to offer them a prestigious fellowship—in part by suggesting that both students were untrustworthy. In conversations with the two students, Eldik and Cosgrove also allegedly suggested they would suffer career repercussions for their refusal to comply.
The alleged tactics mirror those displayed by university administrators in their handling of the now infamous "traphouse" controversy, in which they suggested to second-year law student Trent Colbert that his refusal to apologize for an allegedly racist email might cause him trouble with the bar.
The new case centers on an entirely different Yale Law School controversy that resulted in Gerken removing Chua from a teaching post for allegedly violating an agreement with the administration not to host students in her home.
The main evidence against Chua came in the form of a "dossier" disseminated by a law student who alleged that the plaintiffs had attended and then lied about secret dinner parties at Chua's residence. Instead of investigating those allegations—which the plaintiffs deny, and which professors characterized as "unpersuasive"—Cosgrove and Eldik told the plaintiffs they had a "moral obligation" to confirm the claims made against Chua in the dossier, according to the lawsuit.
At an April 2021 meeting, the administrators also threatened to tell a professor who had offered the students a fellowship about the allegations against the students unless they turned on Chua, a threat Cosgrove and Gerken made good on days later. The suit accuses Eldik, Cosgrove, and Gerken of making "defamatory statements" that they knew to be false.
A spokeswoman for Yale Law School said the lawsuit is "legally and factually baseless" and that the university would "offer a vigorous defense."
The lawsuit can be found below in its entirety.
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