‘Tiger Mom’ Amy Chua, who until recently was one of Yale’s most popular professors, insists she’s still unsure of the exact rules she broke that led to her demise and alleged exile from the Ivy League school.
‘Tiger Mom’ Yale Law professor Amy Chua says she’s been ‘publicly humiliated’ but doesn’t want to be ‘chased out’ after being banned from tutoring freshmen for alleging she and her husband hosted alcohol-fuelled dinners in their home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 58-year-old, who was until recently one of Yale’s most popular professors, insists she’s still unsure of the exact rules she broke that led to her downfall and alleged exile from the Ivy League school.
Some have argued that the mother of two is a victim of the cancellation culture because of her continued support for Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh amid his allegations of sexual misconduct.
Her husband, fellow Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld, is halfway through a two-year unpaid suspension over allegations that he sexually harassed three female students, including unwanted touches and attempted kisses.
Chua, named Tiger Mom for her 2011 parenting book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom,” had become known at Yale over the past two decades for mentoring law students and helping coveted internships.
At Yale, professors are assigned to supervise their own group of about 15 first-year law students, the so-called ‘small group’.
Chua reached a confidential agreement with Yale in 2019 that banned her from its small-group roster, as well as drinking or socializing with students outside of class, after she claimed she had been drinking heavily with them and making inappropriate comments.
Chua, named Tiger Mom for her 2011 parenting book “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom,” had become known at Yale over the past two decades for mentoring law students and helping coveted internships. Her husband, fellow Yale Law professor Jed Rubenfeld, is halfway through an unpaid two-year suspension over allegations of sexual harassment.
Chua is pictured above 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 allegedly violated her non-socializing agreement by hosting drunken dinners at her home in New Haven, Connecticut, with students amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
It led to Chua being banned from tutoring freshmen.
The allegations of the drunken diners, her ban, and details of Chua’s 2019 confidential agreement did not come to light until April when the Yale Daily News reported about it.
Chua continues to deny any violation, but said in an interview with the New York Magazine to invite groups of three or four students to her home in the afternoon to supervise them.
She denies that any dinners took place and insists she doesn’t know what rules she broke.
“I was publicly humiliated with a total lie…and I was treated humiliatingly,” she said.
Chua suggested she believed the socialization ban, which was made as part of the 2019 agreement, was no longer relevant when she was assigned to mentor again last fall.
She described the whole ordeal as “painful.”
“I’m done… I mean, those are great memories, but this whole thing has been so painful,” she said.
“Given all the baggage I’ve got around me now, I think it’s going to be my own policy never to have a party here.
‘I will see. I mean, maybe. I’d like to get over this.’
In the days after the Yale Daily News article was published, Chua complained about alleged “breach of confidentiality” that led to the details of her agreement with the school being leaked. She also accused the student newspaper of mischaracterizing her 2019 agreement with the school
Speaking of the first deal of 2019, Chua said she made it under duress.
“I didn’t want to agree with a lot of things. I felt a bit misunderstood and also felt a bit attacked,” she said.
“I thought some things were completely unfair. But in the interest of moving forward, we negotiated both the apology and some sanctions. I haven’t even read these letters properly; I know I have to become a lawyer.
‘I shouldn’t say attacked. I felt like I was being wrongly accused of many things.’
After her so-called exile, Chua said Yale Law had never really felt like home, but she didn’t say she was leaving.
“Well, I don’t want to be chased away,” she said.
In the days after the Yale Daily News article was published, Chua complained about alleged “breach of confidentiality” that led to the details of her agreement with the school being leaked.
She also accused the student newspaper of mischaracterizing its 2019 agreement with the school.
Chua stressed that she didn’t 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 say that too by asking me to teach a Small Group – basically twisting my arm to do it! — the school clearly expected me to interact with students, so the idea that I was under some sort 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, tutoring students for at least two decades
“As I bust my brains out imagining what ‘dinner parties’ with students they might refer to, I can think of only a few possibilities — which I’m not only behind but proud of,” she wrote. .
She went on to cite several instances where she said she had invited students “in extreme need” to her home after asking her for help, after being exposed to death threats amid mounting anti-Asian hate crimes, and the felt that the Yale Law board did not support them.
“Since we couldn’t meet in the law school building, we met at my house, and I did my best to support and comfort them,” Chua said, adding that her husband was not present at those meetings.
“I don’t believe I’ve broken anything in my agreement.”
While defending herself, Chua collected and shared on her website 50 pages of letters from current and former students denouncing her suspension.
Many have claimed that she is a victim of the cancellation culture because of her controversial opinions.
Chua wrote an op-ed before allegations of sexual assault came against US Supreme Court judge Brett Kavanaugh, describing him as a “mentor to young lawyers, especially women.”
Her oldest daughter, Sophia Chua-Rubenfeld, a Yale Law graduate, worked as a clerk for Kavanaugh.
Chua and her husband were both previously accused of telling young law students how to dress when they worked 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 angry with me for my support of Kavanaugh. And some people will always be really mad at me for being married to my husband. But I can just keep my head down and just do what I’m good at,” Chua told New York Magazine.