POLITICS

GMU Students Rip Departing President Over Brett Kavanaugh's Hire

Ángel Cabrera "displayed a lack of compassion for survivors of assault," charges the campus group Mason for Survivors.
Mason For Survivors, a student-led advocacy group at George Mason University that speaks out on behalf of survivors of sexual
Mason For Survivors, a student-led advocacy group at George Mason University that speaks out on behalf of survivors of sexual assault, is happy to see the university's president hit the road.

George Mason University president Ángel Cabrera is taking a new job this fall as the president of a different university ― and some of his current students say he can’t leave fast enough.

In a scathing and lengthy statement, the student-led advocacy group Mason For Survivors torches Cabrera for leaving behind a legacy of “disdain” for the well-being of students by hiring Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh for a teaching gig.

“Displayed a lack of compassion for survivors of sexual assault by proudly endorsing and defending the Antonin Scalia Law School’s hire of Brett Kavanaugh,” the group says of Cabrera, who is heading to the Georgia Institute of Technology in September.

“After witnessing the disdain Ángel showed for the wellbeing of Mason students in order to enrich himself and increase profit for George Mason, we believe that our university will be better off under different leadership,” the statement continues.

Mason For Survivors has been sparring with university administrators for months over the law school’s decision to give Kavanaugh a three-year contract to teach a summer course at its England campus. Students have held protests, sparked an ad campaign and gathered more than 15,000 signatures on a petition opposing Kavanaugh’s hire. He was confirmed to the Supreme Court in October after an ugly, painful, weekslong Senate fight over Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that he sexually assaulted her in high school.

Cabrera didn’t help the situation when, during an April town hall on campus, he told the students he knows they’re upset about Kavanaugh’s hire, but too bad.

“Even if the outcome is painful, what’s at stake is very, very important for the integrity of the university,” Cabrera said to audible gasps from students at the event.

In an incredibly awkward moment at the town hall, six out of seven administrators on a panel kept their hands down ― including Cabrera ― when a student asked them to raise their hands if they would feel comfortable with an alleged sexual assaulter being in close proximity to their children on a campus.

Requests for comment from a George Mason University spokesman and a Mason For Survivors spokesperson were not returned.

There’s one fairly obvious reason why the Virginia university would hold its ground in hiring Kavanaugh: money. Kavanaugh is part of the Federalist Society, a powerful national organization of conservative lawyers that’s been hand-picking President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees, including Kavanaugh. The group oversaw GMU receiving an anonymous $20 million gift in 2016 and has been involved in GMU hiring.

CONVERSATIONS