From today’s Courant:
More than 40 students from Yale Law School gathered to protest the actions of another group – the U.S. military, represented inside the hotel by a few military recruiters. Their presence – the first time in years that the military was allowed into the employer interview program for law school students – marked the end of one long skirmish with Yale, but became the inspiration for a different kind of clash.
Yale had barred the military from the twice-yearly events, based on the military’s prohibition against its members being openly gay. Since 1978, Yale has had a non-discrimination policy. “All employers using the school’s placement services are required to abide by this policy,” it states.
The military was never barred from campus. It was just kept away from these interview programs. But that was enough to draw a threat from the government: no recruiters, no money. The Department of Defense interpreted the 1995 Solomon Amendment as saying that government funding can be yanked from a school if it doesn’t welcome military recruiting.
For Yale, that meant more than $300 million.
While the recruiters met with students inside the hotel, other students marched outside, marshaled by the Yale OutLaws, a group of gay students and supporters. The protesters, most of them wearing business suits, tied camouflage gags across their mouths. It was a silent protest, they said, representing the silence that gay members of the military – or prospective members – have to live with under the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
The protesters – some of whom had appointments for their own interviews inside the Marriott – stood in silent formation, their backs to the hotel, staring across Whalley Avenue at a Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits. They held signs opposing the military policy:
“11,000 discharged,” one read, for those kicked out of the military since 1994 for being gay, according to the Government Accountability Office. Another read, “$364,000,000 wasted,” for the cost of the policy since 1993.
“We absolutely think that history will vindicate us,” said Sara Jeruss, one of the leaders of the Yale OutLaws. She said Monday’s protest was not anti-military or against the recruiters. “We would like to be able to join, but can’t.”
She acknowledged that the military does allow gay people, but she said, “Asking them to not be openly gay is tantamount to asking them not to join.”