Yale: Not as Bright as Rumored

I thought one had to be pretty bright to study or teach at Yale — until Bush and Kerry indicated this not to be the case. I held out hope for their post-grad programs, but apparently I’m mistaken about this, too. Yale’s Law School has been whining about military recruiters on campus. In particular, the Yale legal community is upset about the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

This article covers a lot of the nuances of the arguments heard before the Supreme Court. Here are some examples:

“The Solomon Amendment neither limits what law schools may say nor requires them to say anything,” Roberts wrote. “Compelling a law school that sends scheduling e-mails for other recruiters to send one for a military recruiter is simply not the same as forcing a student to pledge allegiance, or forcing a Jehovah’s Witness to display the motto ‘Live Free or Die.'”

Justice Samuel Alito LAW ’75 did not participate in the case — Rumsfeld v. Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights, or “FAIR” — since he was not on the bench when oral arguments were heard on Dec. 6.

During the past several years, the Yale Law School community has been particularly engaged in this debate. Last November, members of the faculty filed an amicus curie brief with the Supreme Court in the FAIR case decided today. Two years ago, 45 professors successfully sued the Pentagon in Burt v. Rumsfeld after the federal government threatened under the Solomon Amendment to withhold more than $300 million in federal funding from Yale if military recruiters were not allowed on campus.

In Burt v. Rumsfeld, the plaintiffs ultimately won an injunction that allowed Yale’s barring of military recruiters from campus in acknowledgement of the discriminatory nature of the military’s policy against open gays. The case is currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit.

E-mail lists for recruiters and such aren’t the key issue. Who won or lost at court today isn’t important. What’s significant are $300 million federal dollars. It doesn’t take too high an IQ to realize that that if an organization accepts federal dollars, they also get federal dictates. If you don’t want the rules, don’t take the money. It’s that simple.

It seems that Yale lawyers are sitting on the sofa swatting flies while there’s an elephant in the living room.

15 Comments
  1. It seems that despite all the prestige and fame, Yale could learn a lot from tiny Hillsdale College.

  2. I liked law Professor Peter Schuck’s term (Same linked article in the post) for this situation calling it, “federal aid conditioning.” Maybe we can abbreviate it “FAC.” Example usage:

    By accepting money from the government Yale totally FAC’d themselves.

    Man, I can think of many FAC’d up situations…

  3. well i have to agree with the ruling, although maybe not with its effects. because of course this means universities will continue to take the money and keep their mouths shut (or let recruiters on… whatever). what i’d really like to see is a major university or law school take a REAL stand and REFUSE the money. fat chance of that ever happening, though.

  4. But on the other hand, if they DIDN’T take the money, they’d be less competitive in an education market where most of their competitors DID take the money. Which wouldn’t matter, except for the fact that the money is taxpayer money. I don’t blame them for taking the money, given that they’re making the most out of a fucked up system. But yeah-this helps bring the military’s discrimination to the forefront, which will advance gay rights. This also will strengthen the case for communities who want to get the military out of their public schools. If the government doesn’t think you’re grown up enough to drink beer, smoke a cigarette, or even vote, then they shouldn’t think you’re old enough to die for their regime either.

  5. oh i definitely agree with you, stuart. to reject the funding would put any school at a distinct disadvantage, business-wise. but a school like yale or harvard, which typically receive the highest qualified applicants in the nation, are probably the only ones who could feasibly pull it off.

  6. If a university or school district were to stop taking the federal money, what’s to stop Congress from passing a law requiring them to admit military recruiters anyway?

    The court opinion suggest that Congress’s power to raise an army is perhaps more fundamental than the spending clause power.

    And given the anything-goes way that the Bush administration has interpreted the congressional resolution authorizing the war in Iraq, the administration may have the power to turn schools to turn into military recruiting centers already.

  7. Addendum… I should have mentioned that there’s a federal provision similar to the Solomon amendment for the K-12 schools. Passed as part of the No Child Left Behind act, it requires that schools that receive federal funds give military recruiters equal access on campus to that of other employers.

  8. While that is possible, there are many institutions that do not accept government funding and thereby avoid government dictating admission standards and other regulations.

    Hillsdale College, in Hillsdale, MI, for example, accepts no federal funding (not even the GI Bill). Hence they can admit whomever they choose, set their own policies without fear of reprisal and continue to teach Austrian economics.

  9. Edwriter — that would be a different issue, though. When you willingly take the money, it is reasonable to take the stipulations which go along with it.

  10. Stephen

    The problem is they are giving money that doesn’t belong to them. It is mine and yours and other taxpayers. We should be deciding who gets that money and what stipulations we put on it. Until people realize that to stop these type of things we need to get the money and the power that goes with it out of government and back in our pockets, it will continue to happen more and more.

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