At a townhall meeting with students, George Mason University administrators had to defend their decision to hire and retain U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh as a visiting law professor. Kavanaugh is scheduled to co-teach a course in Runnymede, England, “Creation of the Constitution,” which highlights the Magna Carta’s origins.
The townhall meeting lasted three hours, and the meeting was full of students and others venting their frustrations about sexual assault and surviving sexual assault, which is a continuation of the unproven sexual assault allegations leveled against Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearings.
Last year, before the U.S. Senate was going to vote on confirming Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who works at Stanford University, claimed Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. After giving public testimony before Congress, which delayed Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings, Dr. Ford could not corroborate details or give evidence of the alleged sexual assault. She has since avoided the public spotlight after Kavanaugh was confirmed, along a party-line vote, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
A petition circulated by the “Mason 4 Survivors” group called for George Mason University’s law school, the Antonin Scalia Law School, to fire Kavanaugh and formally apologize to sexual assault survivors for hiring Kavanaugh in the first place. However, the law school said it will not fire Kavanaugh nor issue a formal apology, but that the school is willing to respond to individual students’concerns.
George Mason University President Angel Cabrera, Provost David Wu, and the university’s police chief, Carl Rowan, attended the townhall meeting and were met with complaints of not feeling safe due to the hiring decision. Cabrera promised to increase Title IX resources and personnel and Rowan said that the campus police is always willing to help students who are victims of sexual assault.
The question-and-answer portion of the townhall echoed the petition’s demands, demonstrating that students were more interested in venting their frustration about Kavanaugh and equating sexual assault with the Supreme Court justice, despite the lack of evidence that Kavanaugh was a perpetrator of sexual assault. It is interesting to note that not many of the complaints were about Kavanaugh’s credentials as a law professor, but rather were a complaint about the unproven sexual assault allegations leveled against him.
In the meantime, Kavanaugh will continue to work as a U.S. Supreme Court justice and will be co-teaching the aforementioned summer course on the Magna Carta and the U.S. Constitution’s origins.