‘Tiger Mom’ Amy Chua, who until recently was one of Yale’s most popular professors, insists she still doesn’t know exactly what rules she broke that led to her downfall and so-called exile from the Ivy League school
‘Tiger Mom’ Yale Law professor Amy Chua says she has been ‘publicly humiliated’ but doesn’t want to be ‘chased out’ after being banned from mentoring first-year students over claims she and her husband hosted alcohol-fueled dinner parties at their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 58-year-old, who until recently was one of Yale’s most popular professors, insists she still doesn’t know exactly what rules she broke that led to her downfall and so-called exile from the Ivy League school.
Some have claimed the mother-of-two is the victim of cancel culture because of her continued support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh amid his sexual misconduct allegations.
Her husband, fellow Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld, is halfway through a two-year, unpaid suspension related to allegations he sexually harassed three female students, including unwanted touching and attempted kissing.
Chua, dubbed Tiger Mom for her 2011 parenting book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom’, had become renowned at Yale for mentoring law students and helping them secure coveted clerkships over the past two decades.
At Yale, professors are assigned to mentor their own group of about 15 first-year law students, which is known as ‘small group’.
Chua reached a confidential agreement with Yale in 2019 that banned her from the small group roster, as well as drinking or socializing with students outside of class, following claims she had been drinking heavily with them and making inappropriate comments.
Chua, dubbed Tiger Mom for her 2011 parenting book ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom’, had become renowned at Yale for mentoring law students and helping them secure coveted clerkships over the past two decades. Her husband, fellow Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld, is halfway through a two-year, unpaid suspension related to allegations he sexually harassed
Chua is pictured above with with husband Jed Rubenfeld and their two daughters
She was reassigned to the small group roster last fall.
But in March, some students complained to the dean that Chua was allegedly violating her non-socializing agreement by hosting drunken dinner parties at her New Haven, Connecticut home with students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It led to Chua being banned from mentoring first-year students.
The allegations of the drunken dinner parties, her ban and details of Chua’s confidential 2019 agreement only surfaced in April when the Yale Daily News reported on it.
Chua continues to deny any wrongdoing but did say in an interview with the New York Magazine to inviting groups of three of four students to her home in the afternoon to mentor them.
She denies that dinner parties took place and insists she doesn’t know what rules she broke.
‘I was publicly humiliated with a total falsehood… and I was treated degradingly,’ she said.
Chua suggested that she believed the no socializing ban, which was made as part of the 2019 agreement, was no longer relevant when she was assigned to start mentoring again last fall.
She described the whole ordeal as ‘painful’.
‘I am done… I mean, those are some great memories, but this whole thing has been so painful,’ she said.
‘Given all the baggage around me now, I think that it’s going to be my own policy never to have any parties here.
‘I’ll see. I mean, maybe. I would love to be able to get past this.’
In the days after the Yale Daily News article was published, Chua railed against purported ‘breaches of confidentiality’ that resulted in the details of her agreement with the school being leaked. She also accused the student paper of mischaracterizing her 2019 agreement with the school
Speaking about the initial 2019 agreement, Chua said she made it under duress.
‘I didn’t want to agree to a lot of things. I felt kind of misunderstood and I felt a little bit assaulted myself,’ she said.
‘I felt that some things were completely unfair. But in the interest of moving on, we negotiated both the statement of regret and then some penalties. I didn’t even read these letters very carefully; I know I’m supposed to be a lawyer.
‘I shouldn’t say assaulted. I felt I was being unfairly accused of many things.’
Following her so-called exile, Chua said that Yale Law had never really felt like home but she didn’t say she was leaving.
‘Well, I don’t want to be chased out,’ she said.
In the days after the Yale Daily News article was published, Chua railed against purported ‘breaches of confidentiality’ that resulted in the details of her agreement with the school being leaked.
She also accused the student paper of mischaracterizing her 2019 agreement with the school.
Chua stressed that she did not want to lead a small group in the first place and that the administration had to convince her to take on the assignment.
‘Let me also just say that by asking me to teach a Small Group – in fact twisting my arm to do it! – the School was obviously expecting me to socialize with students, so the notion that I was under some kind of ban is hard to understand,’ she wrote in a letter to faculty members.
The 58-year-old was one of Yale’s most popular professors and had been mentoring students for at least two decades
‘As I wrack my brain to try to imagine what ‘dinner parties’ with students they could possibly be referring to, I can only think of a few possibilities—all of which I not only stand by, but am proud of,’ she wrote.
She went on to cite several instances where she said she had invited students ‘in extreme distress’ over to her house after they reached out to her for help, having been subjected to death threats amid rising anti-Asian hate crimes, and feeling that the Yale Law administration was not supporting them.
‘Because we could not meet in the law school building, we met at my house, and I did my best to support them and console them,’ Chua said, adding that her husband was not present during those meetings.
‘I do not believe that I have violated anything in my agreement.’
As she defended herself, Chua collected and shared on her website 50 pages of letters from current and former students decrying her suspension.
Many have claimed she is the victim of cancel culture over her controversial opinions.
Chua wrote an op-ed before sexual assault allegations emerged against US Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, describing him as a ‘mentor for young lawyers, particularly women.’
Her eldest daughter, Yale Law graduate Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, clerked for Kavanaugh.
Chua and her husband were both previously accused of telling young law students how to dress if clerking for him. Chua was also accused of telling young students that Kavanaugh preferred attractive clerks but he denied the claims.
‘I know a lot of people will always be very upset at me for my support of Kavanaugh. And some people will be always very upset at me because I’m married to my husband. But I can just keep my head down and just do what I do well,’ Chua told the New York Magazine.