Skip to content

Yale Law School dean mired in scandals is ‘frontrunner’ to become next president: report

The controversial dean of the Yale Law School, who turned the other cheek to students’ antisemitic concerns on campus, is now the “frontrunner” to take over as president of the prestigious Ivy League School.

Heather Gerken has been immersed in a series of scandals at Yale since taking over the law school reins in 2018 — but is reportedly at the top of a list being considered by a presidential research committee, according to the Washington Free Beacon.


Gerken most recently came under fire for advising Jewish students who were concerned about a spike in antisemitism on campus after the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel to seek counseling, the outlet said.

“She would be the worst choice out of all the current faculty,” one Yale student told the Free Beacon. “Her handling of campus politics has been abysmal.”

The controversy comes amid growing concern across the country over a rise in antisemitism on college campuses, which has already forced two high-profile university presidents — Claudine Gay at Harvard and Liz Magill at the University of Pennsylvania — to step down from their posts.


The Yale seat is up for grabs because the current president, Peter Salovey, is stepping down — with Gerken now seen as the “frontrunner” for his seat, sources told the outlet.

Gerken, the first woman to head the school’s law school, faced calls to step down in 2021 for coming down hard on a Native American student who used the word “trap house” in a party invitation.

The law school chief claimed the term had “racial connotations,” and school officials even drafted the letter of apology and forced the student, Tret Colbert, to sign it.

“I was told that things might ‘escalate’ if I failed to apologize,” Colbert blogged at the time.


“I was told that an apology would be more likely to make the situation ‘go away,’ and it was implied there would be lingering impacts to my reputation because the ‘legal community is a small one.’”


Gerken worked to integrate diversity and inclusion programs at Yale, hiring a diversity trainer in 2021 to conduct a mandatory “antiracism workshop” for incoming students, the outlet said.

Still, when a conservative speaker, Kristen Waggoner, was shouted down while speaking on campus, Gerken took no action against the offending students — despite the school’s free speech policy.


Gerken also feuded publicly with law school professor Amy Chua, a conservative voice on campus who recommended promising students for clerkships with right-leaning judges — including Yale Law School alumn Brett Kavanaugh, who now sits on the US Supreme Court.

The controversy prompted dozens of federal judges to refuse to accept clerks from the law school, including Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge James Ho.

“Yale presents itself as the best, most elite institution of legal education,” Ho wrote at the time. “Yet it’s the worst when it comes to legal cancellation.”

According to a subsequent lawsuit, Gerken stripped Chua of a teaching spot and pressured to students to provide false testimony against the professor.

Today's News.
For Conservatives.
Every Single Day.

News Opt-in
(Optional) By checking this box you are opting in to receive news notifications from News Rollup. Text HELP for help, STOP to end. Message & data rates may apply. Message frequency varies. Privacy Policy & Terms:
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.