Yale Law Professor Is Suspended After Sexual Harassment Inquiry

Jed Rubenfeld, a prominent professor at Yale Law School, was widely known as someone who could jump-start students’ careers by helping them secure coveted clerkships with federal judges.

But this week, another narrative about Mr. Rubenfeld’s behavior toward students burst into public view as university officials said that Yale had suspended him from the faculty for two years and would restrict his interactions with students upon his return to the campus in New Haven, Conn.

The suspension followed inquiries into allegations that Mr. Rubenfeld, a faculty member for 30 years, had sexually harassed female students, both verbally and by attempting to kiss or touch them without their consent, according to people with knowledge of the inquiries.

Credit…Peter Kramer/NBCUniversal, via Getty Images

In an interview, Mr. Rubenfeld denied that he had harassed anyone, or kissed or touched anyone without consent. But he acknowledged making comments to students over the years that he regretted.

“I have been teaching for 30 years,” he said. “I have made jokes and comments that I would not make today and I wish I had not made. This may have made students uncomfortable. I respect students for coming forward if it did.”

He added: “But I never sexually harassed anybody. That’s a completely a different thing.”

The news of the suspension was reported by New York magazine on Wednesday morning.

Former Yale Law School students have said that Mr. Rubenfeld, and his wife, Amy Chua, are viewed as highly influential people on campus who have deep connections in the judicial world. Ms. Chua is also a law professor at Yale and is widely known for her 2011 parenting book, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother.”

She declined to comment on Mr. Rubenfeld’s suspension.

The news of the suspension was contained in a message sent to some faculty members earlier this week. His faculty web page was no longer accessible on Yale’s website on Wednesday.

Yale declined to comment on the suspension, but a message sent on Wednesday to the law school community from Heather K. Gerken, the dean of Yale Law School, acknowledged “press reports” regarding “faculty misconduct.”

“While we cannot comment on the existence of investigations or complaints, the law school and the university thoroughly investigate all complaints regarding violations of university rules and the university adjudicates them whenever it is appropriate to do so,” she said. “The law school has a responsibility to provide a safe environment in which all of our students can live and learn in a community of mutual respect.”

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