Yale Law School Can Block Military Recruiters

Associated Press - February 3, 2005

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - A federal judge has ruled that Yale Law School can block military recruiters from campus without fear of losing federal funding.

U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall ruled Monday that a federal law requiring universities to let recruiters on campus violates the school's constitutional right to free speech.

School policy requires all recruiters to sign a nondiscrimination pledge, which the Pentagon has not done in light of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy banning open homosexuality.

Defense officials argued that federal law requires Yale to allow recruiters on campus even without signing the pledge.

With the government threatening to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding, Yale faculty members sued the Department of Defense last year.

Hall's decision echoes a ruling in November by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia in a case filed by other law schools. The Pentagon has said it will take that case to the Supreme Court.

In the Yale case, military officials said they were reviewing Hall's decision Wednesday and had no comment.

Immediately following the ruling, Yale's law school returned to its decades-old policy of banning military recruiters. The school temporarily halted that policy in 2002 to avoid losing federal funding.

"The military is free to make its own contact plans and recruiting efforts, but the Yale Law School cannot and will not give the military the assistance that it gives to employers that agree not to discriminate," said David N. Rosen, an attorney representing the school's faculty.