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In a decision scrutinizing how colleges investigate sexual assault allegations, Connecticut’s highest court ruled Friday that a former Yale student is not immune from a defamation lawsuit by a fellow student who was exonerated in criminal court after she accused him of rape.

The Connecticut court ruled 7-0 that because he had fewer rights to defend himself in university proceedings than he would in criminal court, the rape accuser can’t benefit fully from immunity granted to witnesses in criminal proceedings.

The unanimous ruling came despite warnings from more than a dozen violence prevention groups that such immunity is crucial to prevent rape victims from being discouraged to come forward.

It’s one of the few state court rulings on the topic in any U.S. court and could be cited widely in future cases, legal experts said. It ruled that Jane Doe, the pseudonym she used in court proceedings, was not immune from liability for statements she made to Yale investigators accusing fellow student Saifullah Khan of raping her in her dorm room in October 2015.

The decision could add to the already vexing problem of sexual assaults going unreported, violence prevention groups said in a brief to the state Supreme Court.

“Without protections from retaliation, including absolute immunity, victims will be dissuaded from using school reporting and disciplinary processes and will lose out on their education while perpetrators dodge accountability,” a lawyer for the groups wrote in a filing supporting the accuser’s immunity rights.

Khan is suing Doe and Yale over the rape allegations and his November 2018 expulsion from the school, saying the sex was consensual. Khan was criminally charged, but a jury acquitted him earlier in 2018.


The dean of UCLA’s law school has been chosen as the next head of the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus in Madison, the university system’s regents announced Monday.

Jennifer Mnookin was picked to succeed outgoing Chancellor Rebecca Blank, the regents said. Mnookin holds a law degree from Yale and has served as dean of the School of Law at UCLA since 2015. She also has served as a law professor at the University of Virginia.

Mnookin beat out four other finalists for the job, including UW-Madison Provost John Scholz; University of Pittsburgh provost and philosophy professor Ann Cudd; Marie Lynn Miranda, a Notre Dame statistics professor; and Daniel Reed, a University of Utah computer professor and former provost.

In the university’s announcement of the hire, Mnookin said she feels lawyers are uniquely positioned to be leaders.

“Lawyers have to listen carefully,” she said. “They have to think strategically. They are, fundamentally, trained as problem solvers and sometimes have to persuade people that don’t necessarily see the world the way they do. They also have to be willing to engage across difference and think seriously about alternative points of view. I do think those are qualities that I will bring to this role as chancellor.”


Emory University in Atlanta will remove the names of a former psychologist and a former U.S. Supreme Court justice from campus institutions and professorships.

President Gregory Fenves announced the changes on Thursday. They follow his decision to convene a committee in 2020 to examine people whose names are honored by Emory.

The Yerkes National Primate Research Center is named for psychologist and primatologist Robert Yerkes, who the university said “vigorously supported” eugenics. That idea called for genetic improvement of humans and was often used to discriminate against racial minority groups and people with disabilities. The facility will become the Emory National Primate Research Center.

Two professorships in the university’s law school now named for L.Q.C. Lamar, an Emory graduate who wrote Mississippi’s secession ordinance and defended slavery and white supremacy, will become Emory School of Law Distinguished Professors.

Georgia’s largest private university already renamed a dormitory that honored a president who defended slavery and named a building on its Oxford campus for Horace Johnson Jr., a Black judge who died of an apparent heart attack in 2020 less than a week after testing positive for COVID-19.


A legal scholar and author is set to become the next president of the Vermont Law School, the school’s trustees announced.

Rodney A. Smolla will become president on July 1. Smolla is coming to Vermont from from Widener University Delaware Law School, where he has served as dean and professor of law since 2015, the school announced on Thursday.

Vermont Law School said Smolla’s appointment represents the first in a series of personnel and operational changes designed to enhance the school’s environmental restorative justice programs and appeal to a wider audience of prospective students and donors.

Smolla is known for his work in constitutional law, civil rights, freedom of speech, and mass media law, particularly matters relating to libel and privacy, the school said.

“His unique blend of university and law school experience, combined with an impressive scholarly record and inclusive leadership style, is going to provide VLS with tremendous momentum as we redefine the way we educate the future leaders for the community and world,” said Vermont Law School Trustee Chair Glenn Berger.


Enough already with the Supreme Court justices with Harvard and Yale degrees. That’s the message from one of Congress’ top Democrats to President Joe Biden, and a prominent Republican senator agrees.

Eight of the nine members of the current court went to law school at either Harvard or Yale. But it would be good if the person named to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer doesn’t have an Ivy League degree, according to Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican. The bipartisan message from the two South Carolina lawmakers neatly aligns with the background of the South Carolina judge they’ve praised as a good candidate to fill the seat.

Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to make history by nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Clyburn, Congress’ highest-ranking Black member, says Biden should be concerned about the court’s lack of educational diversity, too.

“We run the risk of creating an elite society,” said Clyburn, a graduate of South Carolina State University. “We’ve got to recognize that people come from all walks of life, and we ought not dismiss anyone because of that.”

Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings for the eventual nominee, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he’d like to see the court “have a little more balance, some common sense on it. Everybody doesn’t have to be from Harvard and Yale. It’s OK to go to a public university and get your law degree.”

Clyburn is a particularly prominent voice in the debate over whom the nominee should be. At Biden’s lowest moment in the 2020 presidential campaign, it was Clyburn who suggested he pledge to name the first Black woman justice if given the opportunity as president. Biden’s ultimate promise and Clyburn’s endorsement helped Biden decisively win South Carolina’s primary. The win revived his campaign and helped propel him to the White House.


Enough already with the Supreme Court justices with Harvard and Yale degrees. That’s the message from one of Congress’ top Democrats to President Joe Biden, and a prominent Republican senator agrees.

Eight of the nine members of the current court went to law school at either Harvard or Yale. But it would be good if the person named to replace retiring Justice Stephen Breyer doesn’t have an Ivy League degree, according to Rep. Jim Clyburn, a Democrat, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican. The bipartisan message from the two South Carolina lawmakers neatly aligns with the background of the South Carolina judge they’ve praised as a good candidate to fill the seat.

Biden, a Democrat, has pledged to make history by nominating the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. Clyburn, Congress’ highest-ranking Black member, says Biden should be concerned about the court’s lack of educational diversity, too.

“We run the risk of creating an elite society,” said Clyburn, a graduate of South Carolina State University. “We’ve got to recognize that people come from all walks of life, and we ought not dismiss anyone because of that.”

Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, which will hold hearings for the eventual nominee, said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he’d like to see the court “have a little more balance, some common sense on it. Everybody doesn’t have to be from Harvard and Yale. It’s OK to go to a public university and get your law degree.”


The University of Wyoming is planning a $10 million expansion to its law school that coincides with the college's centennial celebration next year.

The Laramie Boomerang reported Thursday that the renovation to the College of Law is expected to be completed in December 2020, but the university expects most of the project to be done in time for the celebration in September 2020.

The university says U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch is expected to speak for the law school celebration.

Law school dean Klint Alexander told university trustees that $4 million has already been raised for the project, which is still in the design phase.

The expansion project aims to bring the school's various legal clinics into the law building.

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