DISPATCHES FROM THE EDUCATION APOCALYPSE: A Yale Law Student Sent a Lighthearted Email Inviting Classmates to His ‘Trap House.’ The School Is Now Calling Him To Account.
Throughout the Sept. 16 meeting and a subsequent conversation the next day, Eldik and Cosgrove hinted repeatedly that the student might face consequences if he didn’t apologize—including trouble with the bar exam’s “character and fitness” investigations, which Cosgrove could weigh in on as associate dean. Those investigations review aspiring lawyers’ disciplinary records in considerable detail: The New York State Bar, for example, asks law schools to describe any “discreditable information” that might bear upon an “applicant’s character,” even if it did not result in formal discipline.
It is unclear whether that is what Cosgrove was referring to when she warned on Sept. 16 that things “may escalate” without an apology. “I worry about this leaning over your reputation as a person,” Eldik chimed in. “Not just here but when you leave. You know the legal community is a small one.”
The best way to “make this go away,” he continued, would be to formally apologize to Yale’s Black Law Students Association. “You’re a law student, and there’s a bar you have to take,” Eldik said in a follow-up meeting on Sept. 17. “So we think it’s really important to give you a 360 view.”
When the student resisted, saying he’d prefer to have a face-to-face discussion with anybody offended by his email, Eldik nonetheless drafted an apology for the student to send in the service of “character-driven rehabilitation.”
Nice education you have there. Shame if something were to happen to it…