Trent Colbert: The Trap House Party (Yale Law)
- October 13: First Story--Washington Free Beacon
- "Yale Law School’s Free Speech Blunder Bolsters the Federalist Society’s Victim Mentality," Slate, MARK JOSEPH STERN. "Yale’s move here was unwise through the lens of free speech; even if we assume the school’s intentions were pure—which is open to debate—its response was wrong, full stop."
- "Opinion: At Yale Law School, a party invitation ignites a firestorm," Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post.
- The Daily Mail (London) storyy with pictures of Eldik and Cosgrove.
- Excerpts by Volokh from the Koppelman gated Chronicle article.
- FIRE articles are October 14 and Yale's repudiation of the Woodward Report and the October 15 suggested prewritten apology for Yale to sign.
- Dean Gerken's bland email to the Yale Law community.
- First Generation Professionals, Yale, statement against Colbert. "We appreciate Yaseen’seffort to educate Trent and repair harm within the YLS community as well as Dean Gerken’semail this morning." What email is that?
- "Convulsions at Yale Law School: Administrators Do Damage Control as Faculty Members Slam School’s Dishonesty," Free Beacon:
...corporate legal scholar Roberta Romano, threatened to "correct the record" if the law school did not do so itself. The administration's actions toward Colbert, Romano wrote Krozner, are "in direct and total conflict with what you stated," noting that the school's diversity director had made "a sly threat" about the student's career.
"Please correct the record," she added. "I would not want to have to do it for you."
Another Yale Law professor, who asked to remain anonymous, said the initial statement was "appallingly disingenuous and full of falsehoods." Yale Law School "stated ‘no student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech,'" the professor told the Free Beacon. "It's hard to square that statement with the Dean of Student Affairs summoning a student for questioning in response to allegations by other students, with the Diversity Director ominously warning the student that if he doesn't apologize his admission to the bar could be threatened, or with the Law School sending a message to the entire second-year class condemning the student's email as ‘racist.' If all that isn't an ‘investigation,' then it's even worse—a pronouncement of guilt without investigation."
- Emma Perez blogpost.
To be clear, legal institutions have caused violence long before the Federalist Society, and even those who disavow the organization perpetuate white supremacy, racial capitalism, and patriarchy. The law as it is currently constructed is, by default, a tool of domination; it requires serious effort to use the law as a tool for harm reduction, much more as a tool for liberation.
Dear W’all, The APALSA Board would like to build on the messages sent by theDred Scott Society, FGP, YLW, and BLSA to support and affirmthe message of our classmate Marina Edwards. It is critical for us as Asian American and Pacific Islander students to work in solidaritywith our peers – especially our Black peers who have been disproportionately impacted by this community harm and taken on disproportionate labor to repair it – to underscore the impact that this incident has had on our YLS community.
Oct 18: *",The Yale Law School Email Controversy: An Interview With Trent Colbert" , Dzvid Lat, Oct 18.
TC: I’ve received many private messages of support—“I don’t get this,” “Sorry you have to be dealing with this,” “Stay strong.” I think there’s a silent majority that supports me. But nobody wants to be the next person targeted on GroupMe.
TF: Once the attacks on Trent were in the GroupMe, everyone felt they had to go along. There’s a very “emperor’s new clothes” vibe—when someone says something is offensive, everyone else has to play along. In some cases, there’s actually something to seize on. In this case, I can’t emphasize enough how out of the blue it all was.
TC:Nobody reached out to me before filing their complaints. My first meeting with the Office of Student Affairs (OSA) was less than 24 hours after my email went out.
I received one message two days after my original invitation was reposted into the class GroupMe. By that point, I had already been reported by at least nine students to the OSA, and I had already had two meetings with administrators from that office.
I didn’t understand this message as an invitation to dialogue. The student told me they didn't like my response attempting to clear the air in the class GroupMe,3 said that they would no longer be extending me the benefit of the doubt, and reiterated the demand for an apology...I will add that, later on, the student did reach out again, expressing interest in talking with me, and we had a nice 40-minute chat the next day...
Interview footnote: On September 17, Colbert went on GroupMe to explain that "there was never a Trap House theme" for the party, which was about Constitution Day. He included a copy of the party invitation that he sent to the FedSoc list, which was more formal than the NALSA invite and made no reference to any “trap house.” ...
Interview footnote: I have received secondhand reports, from Professor Monica Bell and from one current YLS student, that some students tried to reach out to Colbert, but I haven’t seen any confirmation of those efforts at contact. Colbert made available for my review many of the emails and GroupMe messages at issue here, and I didn’t see any in which a fellow student expressed an interest in a one-on-one conversation with Colbert.
- "Yale Law School Students to Media: ... :Asian-American student group says comparisons to Maoist China are 'offensively racist',"Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beacon. Various student groups attack Colbert.
Saja Spearman-Weaver. "I am writing as a Yale Law School student who is frustrated by another attempt by the right wing and their allies in the media to paint my peers as “cripplingly sensitive.” "