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Controversy over Yale Law Professor Suspended for Sexual Misconduct

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Dec 03, 2020 | 0 Comments

Yale University has responded to criticisms surrounding the two-year suspension of Yale law professor Jed Rubenfeld amidst sexual misconduct allegations.

New York magazine first reported Rubenfeld's suspension, confirming that Yale had suspended Rubenfeld from the faculty for two years.

Rubenfeld “absolutely and unequivocally” denied the allegations.

The Yale Law Women and Title IX Working Group opposed the measures and urged the university to bar Rubenfeld from the campus permanently.

His case comes at a time of particular scrutiny for colleges, with many institutions having revised sexual misconduct policies hastily over the summer to meet new federal guidelines.

The Rubenfeld Case

Rubenfeld had been a faculty member for 30 years when Yale University opened inquiries against him in 2018. The allegations dated back many years and included verbal harassment, unwanted touching, and attempted kissing.

A tenured law professor, Rubenfeld had previously written about the unreliability of campus sexual misconduct procedures, including in TIME and the New York Times.

Back in August, according to New York Magazine, Yale University Provost informed the faculty that Rubenfeld would face a two-year suspension effective immediately. Yale then swiftly removed him from the faculty website.

On his return, the university will bar Rubenfeld from teaching “small group or required courses” and restrict him from engaging with students in social gatherings.

Opposition and Yale University Response

Last month, students from the Yale Law School Title IX Working Group and Yale Law Women sent Yale University President Peter Salovey a report criticizing the university's handling of the case. They demanded Rubenfeld's permanent expulsion from the faculty and release of the investigation's findings. The group claimed that the case had exposed fault-lines in Yale's sexual misconduct policy and argued for a policy change ensuring the university would provide pro bono legal representation to alleged victims in Title IX investigations.

Salovey has since responded, maintaining Yale's position on sexual misconduct policy and the outcome of the Rubenfeld investigation. Salovey added that after considering the suggestion of providing complainants with lawyers, the university would continue to support students with advisers from the Title IX Office with the promise of a review into policy later down the line.

Sexual Misconduct Policy on Campus

Sexual harassment is strictly prohibited in educational institutions under Title IX, and schools must abide by federal guidelines for investigating offenses that fall under Title IX legislation. Schools also have their codes of conduct, under which students, staff, professors, and other faculty members may face additional sanctions. New Title IX guidelines brought in this year impact how schools respond to allegations. In any case, faculty members are held to the same evidentiary standards in sexual misconduct proceedings as students.

Do You Face Unfounded Allegations?

If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, contact attorney Joseph D. Lento. The Lento Law Firm will work to protect your rights and your future. Call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a consultation.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Attorney Joseph D. Lento passionately fights for the futures of his clients nationwide. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at colleges and universities across the United States. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand colleges and universities across the United States, and when necessary, he has sought justice on behalf of clients in courts across the nation. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide, and he can help you or your student address school-related issues and concerns anywhere in the United States.

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