Getting minds right at Yale: The Ayres report

In the multilayered saga of Trent Colbert at Yale Law School, we last noted “Dean Gerken regrets.” Dean Gerken is the dean of Yale Law School. Her regret over the false disparagement of second-year law student Trent Colbert was inane, shallow, and phony.

Now David Lat updates the story in “As the YLS world turns.” Lat reports that an investigative report ordered up by Gerken herself and prepared by Professor Ian Ayres indicates that Gerken authorized the message disparaging Colbert.

Lat adds that Gerken is treating the report as a highly classified document: “faculty members are not even allowed to read the Ayres Report themselves; instead, they must go to Professor Ayres’s office and have it read aloud to them.”

The Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium has owned this story. Sibarium summarizes Lat’s update in “Report: Yale Law Dean Signed Off on Condemnation of ‘Trap House’ Email—Then Threw Her Colleagues Under the Bus.”

Lat excavates Gerken’s extremely misleading school-wide email of November 17:

I have spent every year of my deanship trying to foster an inclusive community and create an environment where students feel called into the community rather than called out. The email message from administrators to members of the 2L class did not strike the appropriate balance between those two goals. I take responsibility for that failure, and I am sorry for it. Our future communications will better conform to our values.

Read this message in light of the reported finding that Gerken authorized the message in issue and one can infer the low character of the authorities at Yale Law School. Paul Mirengoff commented on Gerken’s message at the time:

The Stalinist-style diversity thugs who harmed him go unpunished. They aren’t even reprimanded. Gerken lets them off-the-hook by purporting to take “full responsibility” for their actions. This is a dodge. If Gerken were fully responsible, the only honorable course would be to resign….

This is precisely where we seem to have arrived. If Lat has it right, Gerken is responsible in the relevant sense. Yet Gerken persists where neither shame nor professional responsibility holds sway in light of the competing imperatives. All honor to Trent Colbert who set off the chain of events that has given us this highly illuminating look inside the asylum of elite higher education.

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