Students Petition George Mason University Against Hiring Kavanaugh
Controversy over sexual assault allegations made against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh has resurfaced at George Mason University since the school decided to hire him to teach a summer course.
An online petition on Change.org, started by the organization “Mason for Survivors,” is urging the university’s Antonin Scalia Law School to revoke its invitation and to terminate all contracts signed with Kavanaugh, Newsweek reported.
Last year, Kavanaugh was at the center of the #MeToo movement after several women accused him of sexual assault and misconduct, including Palo Alto University psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford. Kavanaugh was later exonerated by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee over a lack of evidence to back the allegations.
“There is a historic amount of institutional negligence on your part to support survivors of sexual assault and the student body as a whole, which has bred a sense of mistrust and suffering within the Mason community and allies,” the petition states.
Signed by more than 3,300 people as of April 8, the petition asks for all documents, including emails, donor agreements, and contracts that paved the way for hiring Kavanaugh as a faculty member at the university to be made public.
Signatories have also demanded that George Mason administrators tender an apology to sexual assault survivors, increase the number of Title IX officers employed by the school, improve resources for student survivors, and hold a town hall to discuss Kavanaugh’s hiring and its implications on the university.
“As a survivor, as a student who comes to this university and expects to have a good education, to experience a happy, safe place, I am insulted,” Elijah Nichols, a GMU student and sexual assault survivor, told Localdvm.
Emma Meshell, correspondent director at Campus Reform, an American conservative news website focused on higher education, said for some, the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh are enough to detract from the knowledge he could bestow upon GMU students.
“This is very alarming because these are law students who are supposed to understand that people are innocent until proven guilty and that Brett Kavanaugh, in the eyes of the law, is still 100 percent innocent and he’s a Supreme Court justice,” Meshell told Fox Business. “What an opportunity for a law student to be able to learn from a Supreme Court justice.”
Last month, GMU president Ángel Cabrera supported Kavanaugh’s employment, arguing that faculty appointments are made based on an assessment of the qualifications of each individual.
“I respect the views of people who disagreed with Justice Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation due to questions raised about his sexual conduct in high school. But he was confirmed and is now a sitting Justice,” Cabrera wrote in a letter to GMU community members.
“The law school has determined that the involvement of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice contributes to making our law program uniquely valuable for our students. And I accept their judgment,” he added.