Yale Law School's Student-Faculty Alliance for Military Equality applauded Yale University's announcement Tuesday that it will challenge a Defense Department mandate forcing the law school to temporarily suspend its nondiscrimination policy, thus allowing the Judge Advocate General's Corps of the Air Force to recruit on school grounds despite the military's continued exclusion of fully qualified gays and lesbians.
The school's nondiscrimination policy prevents any employer that discriminates, on grounds including sexual orientation, race, religion, and gender, from participating in the school's interview programs. Under a law known as the Solomon Amendment, the Defense Department had informed the school that unless it exempts the military from this policy, $350 million in federal funds will be withdrawn. Most of the funds go toward medical research, including research into cancer and HIV/AIDS prevention.
In a statement issued Tuesday, Yale Law School dean Anthony Kronman said that the law school community "should take heart from the university's willingness to defend the legality of our recruitment policy and to seek a determination of the correctness of our position."
"We strongly support our dean's actions," said Professor Harold Koh, member of student-faculty alliance and a former assistant secretary of state. "The idea of nondiscrimination is one of the guiding principles of this law school. Students and faculty are deeply committed to the notion that every member of this community should be treated equally."
The alliance is planning a protest to coincide with the visit of Air Force JAG recruiters on Friday. "We understand the military's need to recruit the best and the brightest, particularly now," said Daphna Renan, a representative of the law school's student government and a member of the alliance. "But as we fight to protect freedom and equality abroad, we must honor these principles here at home. If the military wants the best fighting force available, it should interview all those who wish to serve their country."