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George Mason student activists want to keep Justice Brett Kavanaugh from teaching summer course


'It is affecting my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty'

Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Some university students in Virginia are urging the school's administrators to stop Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh from teaching a study abroad summer course in the United Kingdom.

Dozens of students at George Mason University in Fairfax told Campus Reform that the sexual misconduct allegations made against Kavanaugh by college professor Christine Blasey Ford last summer were reason enough to block him from teaching.

"[T]he accusations against him are enough to make it a negative thing to have him on campus," some students reportedly said.

GMU's Antonin Scalia Law School hired Kavanaugh to co-teach a two-week course titled, "Creation of the Constitution," in Runnymede, England, starting in June, according to The College Fix.

Blasey Ford claimed that Kavanaugh had attempted to sexually assault her decades ago when she was in high school. Kavanaugh adamantly denied the accusations.

A federal investigation cleared Kavanaugh of the allegations, and he was later confirmed as a Supreme Court justice.

What's the story?

Several students from a student-led advocacy group, dubbed Mason For Survivors, shared their grievances against the hiring of Kavanaugh during Wednesday's Board of Visitors meeting.

"As a survivor of sexual assault this decision has really impacted me negatively," one female student said, according to The College Fix. "It is affecting my mental health knowing that an abuser will be part of our faculty."

"We are fighting to eradicate sexual violence on this campus. But the hiring of Kavanaugh threatens the mental well-being of all survivors on this campus," another female student said during the meeting.

Others said they would be uncomfortable just knowing Kavanaugh could be on the school's campus.

"As someone who has survived sexual assault three times, I do not feel comfortable with someone who has sexual assault allegations like [that] walking on campus," a female student reportedly told the board.

The group has also started an online petition demanding that the university end its affiliation with the Supreme Court justice.
"Terminate AND void ALL contracts and affiliation with Brett Kavanaugh at George Mason University," the petition reads.

The petition calls for the university to hold a town hall meeting to "discuss Kavanaugh's hiring and implications for students and the university" no later than April 25 and it requests that the administration release "any and all documents" related to Kavanaugh's position on the faculty.

The petition, which has garnered more than 3,300 signatures, also calls on school officials to issue a "formal apology" to sexual assault survivors.

What did the university say?

GMU President Angel Cabrera has shown no intention of giving in to the students' request to remove Kavanaugh from teaching the course.

"I respect the views of people who disagreed with Justice Kavanaugh's Senate confirmation due to questions raised about his sexual conduct in high school. But he was confirmed and is now a sitting Justice," Cabrera said, according to Fox News.

"The law school has determined that the involvement of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice contributes to making our law program uniquely valuable for our students. And I accept their judgment," he added. "This decision, controversial as it may be, in no way affects the university's ongoing efforts to eradicate sexual violence from our campuses."

What else?

Some students believe that the decision shows that the university doesn't care for their safety and well-being.

"As a survivor, as a student who comes to this university, and expects to have a good education, to experience a happy, safe place, I am insulted. Cabrera, our president, it seems as if he's not standing with survivors, it's as if he doesn't care about us as students, and about our safety, and our well-being," GMU student Elijah Nichols told WDVM-TV.

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