Chapman University Students Stage Campus Walk-out After Confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh

Katie Whitman

Students gathered in Atallah Piazza listening to speakers and sexual assault survivors.

Chapman University students participated in a nationwide walkout after Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. 

Law students across the country this week have organized a three-day protest against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. 

The national protest was evoked by an open letter by the National Lawyers Guild demanding “that anyone seeking to be elected to Congress in November commits to impeaching Kavanaugh to protect any semblance of rule of law and the people of our communities.” 

Hundreds of students at Chapman University joined the protest Wednesday, with many students from Chapman’s Fowler School of Law National Lawyers Guild endorsing the strike and joining students of all academic backgrounds in the center of campus for a public dialogue. 

Students with different perspectives about Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation spoke up about their views. 

Junior studio art major, Blake Hilton said she, and junior screenwriting major, Deming Magner were the organizers for the Chapman Walk-Out. 

“I’m here because I believe Dr. Ford, I believe Anita Hill and I think we are all here because of that and I think that we have to believe her because I am her, you are her, we are her,” Hilton said. 

In response to students against the walk out, Hilton explained the importance of voices being heard.

“I would say that if they [other students against the protest] say its a waste of time then they weren’t here because clearly this has been so cathartic for so many survivors and giving each other a voice and permission to share our experiences and be heard…I don’t see that as a waste of time, ever,” Hilton said. 

Film production major Austin Zollars said he attended the walkout because all of his friends, including some of his male friends have been sexually assaulted, as well as his mother, his grandmother and both of his sisters. 

“My mom is scared to talk about the Kavanaugh hearing with my dad. She’s afraid that she can’t even be open with him about that….They’ve been married for over 20 years, ” Zollars said. 

Zollar said he thinks it is “disgusting” that Kavanaugh has been confirmed and thinks it is important for white males to speak up.

“I think it is important for guys like me, who are white cis males [to be] talking out because unfortunately those are the types of people only some people listen to and that’s insane.” 

Chapman Law professor Dr. Denis Binder said the walkouts are a way for the students to express their frustration and anger.

“It will not affect anything though. Justice Kavanaugh is in for life. Even if the Democrats gain the House of Representatives and impeach the Justice, they will not have 67 votes in the Senate to remove him from office,” Binder said via email.  

Regarding Kavanaugh’s confirmation, he said the confirmation battle was a contest of raw political power.

“The Republicans had the votes and the Democrats didn’t. As President Obama said, elections have consequences,” Binder said. 

Chapman Law professor Thomas W Bell thinks the walkout is not a problem so long as students do not disrupt class and fulfill the ABA’s law school attendance requirements, they can come, learn or leave and protest as they see fit.

“The fact that it matters so much to so many people who sits on the Supreme Court demonstrates that the institution has taken on too much. In a better world, the justices would stick so closely to the plain, present, public meaning of the Constitution’s text that you wouldn’t have to go to Harvard to figure out what it supposedly means,” Bell said.