Yale’s Gerken ’91 responds to allegations that Tiger Mom groomed female clerks for Kavanaugh| Sep 25, 2018
In a letter Thursday to the Yale Law School community, Dean of Yale Law School Heather K. Gerken ’91 responded to reports that Amy Chua, a prominent Yale Law professor, advised students seeking clerkships with Brett Kavanaugh on their physical looks.
“The allegations being reported are of enormous concern to me and to the School,” Gerken wrote. “While we cannot comment on individual complaints or investigations, the Law School and the University thoroughly investigate all complaints regarding violations of University rules and take no options off the table.”
The Guardian and the Huffington Post reported that Chua privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models,” and that Chua was known for instructing female law students preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on how to exude a “model-like” femininity, because doing so would help win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers.
“I strongly encourage any members of our community who have been affected by misconduct to take advantage of Yale University's resources for reporting incidents and receiving support,” Gerken wrote. “The Law School has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which all of our students can live and learn in a community of mutual respect, free of harassment of any kind.”
Gerken declined to comment, deferring to her letter to the Yale Law School.
There is no allegation that the female students who worked for Kavanaugh were chosen because of their physical appearance or that they were not qualified, according to The Guardian.
Chua has since vehemently denied the reports, saying that instead she has always told her students to prepare well, dress professionally, and avoid inappropriate clothing.
“For the more than 10 years I've known him, Judge Kavanaugh’s first and only litmus test in hiring has been excellence,” Chua wrote in an email statement to NBC News. “He hires only the most qualified clerks, and they have been diverse as well as exceptionally talented and capable.”
Chua is also known for her book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” which describes her attempts to raise her two daughters to become highly driven and successful across many fronts, including classical music and academics.
Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, is currently facing allegations of sexual misconduct from Christine Blasey Ford, a psychology and statistics professor at Palo Alto University in California.
On Sunday, another woman, Deborah Ramirez, came forward with a second allegation of sexual misconduct against Kavanaugh. Kavanaugh has denied that either incident occurred.
Gerken released a statement on Friday, responding to an open letter published from individual members of the Yale faculty advocating for the FBI to investigate the Kavanaugh allegations and demonstrating concern for what they believed to be a rush to judgement.
“As Dean of the Law School I have not and cannot take a position for or against a nominee,” Gerken wrote in her statement. “It's a thoughtful statement and I support the efforts of individual faculty members to engage with these important issues."
Prior to the allegations, Gerken had expressed support for Kavanaugh, praising him for his work both as a justice and as a Yale faculty member.
“I have known Brett Kavanaugh for many years,” Gerken had told Yale Law School News. “I can personally attest that, in addition to his government and judicial service, Judge Kavanaugh has been a longtime friend to many of us in the Yale Law School community. Ever since I joined the faculty, I have admired him for serving as a teacher and mentor to our students and for hiring a diverse set of clerks, in all respects, during his time on the court.”