Claire Mutchnik

When I joined the Yale Daily News in the fall of 2017, a new phenomenon was sweeping journalism, both at Yale and across the country. In October 2017, The New York Times broke allegations of decades of sexual abuse against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. In the months that followed, dozens of other outlets began publishing allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men around the world.

A year later, in the thick of what had quickly become the #MeToo movement, I was assigned to cover student life at Yale, with a focus on Title IX issues. I was 19 and starting my sophomore year of college.

My first day on the beat, I stepped into a national firestorm. When I arrived at Sterling Law Building, expecting to cover a small student protest, I spotted news reporters outside with their bulky cameras and hundreds of students milling around in the main hallway. Realizing something big was about to unfold, I skipped all my classes to stay at the Law School and cover a large-scale student sit-in protesting the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh ’87 LAW ’90.

My next two weeks were consumed by Kavanaugh’s confirmation proceedings and the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him. After Deborah Ramirez ’87 accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct during their time at Yale together, I scoured the alumni directory, contacting anyone who might have known either of them. In between classes, I called women who had lived in Ramirez’s entryway during her first year at Yale, Kavanaugh’s brothers in Delta Kappa Epsilon and even Kavanaugh’s editor from his time as a sports reporter for the News.

Kavanaugh’s conduct as a Yale undergraduate was quickly becoming a national news story. A News article about Kavanaugh’s fraternity waving a flag of underwear went viral online, and The New York Times published a story about a bar fight on Broadway that Kavanaugh was allegedly involved in during his junior year. Reporters from across the country descended on campus, eager for a scoop. As I competed for interviews alongside professionals with camera crews, I started to feel like a […]

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