Please find below the letter I sent to Yale General Counsel, demanding a full retraction of their grossly false and defamatory public statements about me, statements that destroyed my life and career, and almost drove me to suicide and almost incited my murder. Yale General Counsel responded by refusing to apologize and refusing to retract these grossly false and defamatory statements. They refused to comply with any of my demands.
Notice to Cease and Desist and Notice of Demand for Retraction and Apology
VIA EMAIL: email@example.com
March 25, 2019
Susan Sawyer, Sr. Associate General Counsel
Office of the General Counsel
2 Whitney Avenue
New Haven, CT 06510-1220
Re: Defamation of Character of Sarah Braasch
Dear Attorney Sawyer:
This letter serves as a demand that all Yale Administrators cease and desist their grossly false and defamatory statements about me, Sarah Braasch, immediately. This letter also serves as a demand that all Yale University Administrators who have made such grossly false and defamatory statements about me, including Yale President Peter Salovey, Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley, Yale Vice President of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews, Yale Associate Dean of Graduate Student Development and Diversity Michelle Nearon, and Yale Campus Police Chief Ronnell Higgins, immediately and publicly retract those statements and immediately and publicly apologize to me, Sarah Braasch, for having made those grossly false and defamatory statements.
These grossly false and defamatory statements include the following:
1 – Yale President Peter Salovey’s public condemnation on August 1st, 2018, of me, Sarah Braasch, as guilty of racial harassment and his citing me as the impetus for sweeping University-wide policy changes. This occurred after the Yale General Counsel Attorney Susan Sawyer made clear to my Attorney, Jennifer Zito, that Yale had dropped the racial component of the charges against me, because there was absolutely no reason to think that I had ever acted out of racial animus or bias, in any way, shape, or form. Moreover, when Yale President Peter Salovey made his grossly false and defamatory August statement about me, he knew that I was suicidal and had been since May 8th, 2018. He knew that I had received thousands upon thousands of death threats and threats of violence, and that I had been forced into hiding for my personal safety. He knew that he was endangering my life, as well as destroying my reputation, career, livelihood, and life. Moreover, President Salovey was fully aware that I was entirely innocent, but he precluded the possibility of my receiving a fair hearing in front of the disciplinary committee, denying me any due process whatsoever, in gross violation of his contractual obligations with me.
2 – Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Lynn Cooley’s grossly false and defamatory public statement on May 8th, 2018, wherein she makes false statements of fact about what occurred on May 8th, 2018, and she grossly mischaracterizes the incident, both of which statements and characterization she knew to be false, not only because she was aware of what had transpired since February 24th, 2018, but also because I explicitly informed her of such in an email. She responded to me via email by stating that she had absolutely no intention of either retracting or modifying her grossly false and defamatory statement about me, Sarah Braasch.
3 – Yale President Peter Salovey’s grossly false and defamatory public statement about me, Sarah Braasch, on May 10th, 2018, wherein he condemns me as racist and ignorant, and he describes the May 8thincident as hateful and exclusionary. At this point, President Salovey was fully aware that I was entirely innocent. It simply isn’t possible that he hadn’t been informed by the Yale Administrators and the Yale Campus Police of my voluminous correspondence and dealings with them regarding how I had been terrorized in my isolated dorm room for months.
4 – Yale Vice President of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews’ grossly false and defamatory public statement about me, Sarah Braasch, on May 10th, 2018, wherein she describes the May 8thincident as one of racial bias, discrimination, and harassment. She claims that she is “deeply troubled” by the May 8thincident and claims that she doesn’t know what happened. I was informed by Yale Provost and University-wide Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Spangler that VP of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews was one of the Administrators who had been involved since February 24th, 2018, so her claims not to know what happened are false.
5 – Yale Campus Police Chief Ronnell Higgins’ grossly false and defamatory public statement about me, Sarah Braasch, on May 10th, 2018, wherein he said that I was “admonished,” a statement that he subsequently removed, but not before the incalculable damage was done. The statement, that I had been “admonished,” was propagated around the world, including by Yale VP of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews. Chief Higgins’ public statement is astonishing in its omissions of crucial facts that would have exonerated me. He neglects to mention everything that I had told the Yale campus police officers on May 8thabout why I felt compelled to call the non emergency helpline of the Yale campus police, which is included in the Yale campus police body camera footage from May 8th, which they continue to refuse to release. He neglects to state that I had been terrorized in my isolated dorm room for months before May 8th. He neglects to state that I only called the non emergency helpline of the Yale campus police after the woman whom I had encountered made statements to me making it clear to me that she was very likely one of the persons who had been terrorizing me that evening and for months. He neglects to mention that I had been begging the Yale Administration and the Yale campus police for months to protect me and to stop the harassment, stalking, and attacks against me, to no avail. He neglects to state that he had, via Yale Provost and University-wide Title IX Coordinator Stephanie Spangler, repeatedly assured me that it was always ok to call the Yale campus police, for any reason, at any time, even if I am unsure of whether my circumstances merit such a call. He assured me that I never do something wrong by calling the Yale campus police. He also assured me, repeatedly, via Provost Spangler, that I have every right, as a woman living alone in Yale’s on campus graduate student housing, to take reasonable precautions to ensure my own safety, including being able to enter my dorm room safely.
6 – Yale VP of Student Life Kimberly Goff-Crews and Yale Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley discussed possible punishments for me with the Yale Daily News, including being banned from Yale’s on campus housing and being banned from teaching at Yale, as was reported in the Yale Daily News on May 12th, 2018. On October 5th, 2018, Yale Graduate School Dean Lynn Cooley banned me from Yale’s campus in perpetuity, and banned me from teaching at Yale in perpetuity, with no due process whatsoever, and after the disciplinary charges against me had been withdrawn. At the time that Secretary Goff-Crews and Dean Cooley were discussing possible punishments for me with the Yale Daily News, they knew that I was entirely innocent. They knew that I had been terrorized in my isolated dorm room for months before May 8th. They knew that the only reason I called the non emergency helpline of the Yale campus police on May 8this because the woman whom I had encountered made statements to me that made it clear to me that she was very likely one of the persons who had been terrorizing me that evening and for months. They knew that the Yale Housing Managers had cleared me of any wrongdoing whatsoever regarding the February 24th, 2018 incident.
The damage to my life, reputation, livelihood, good name, and career are incalculable. I was forced to flee my dorm room and then campus. I was suicidal for near a year and forced into hiding for my personal safety. I continue to be defamed as a racist, including today, in the Yale Daily News. I can’t even begin to count the death threats and threats of violence that I have received. I can’t even begin to count the number of instances of defamation as guilty of racial harassment that I have endured in the national and international news media, as well as on social media, including in the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC’s GMA and The View, The Washington Post, and the list goes on and on. My academic and legal and human and civil rights careers are over. I will never be able to secure gainful employment. I will no longer be able to support myself.
I had been a lifelong human and civil rights licensed attorney activist who had devoted her life to undermining oppression in all of its many forms, including racism. No one who has ever known me has ever heard or seen me say or do anything racist ever. Everything that I had wished for my life is no longer possible. Everything that I had strived for my entire life has been destroyed, it has been stripped from me through no fault of my own.
As a result, I immediately demand the following:
- Yale immediately end the ban against my being present on campus;
- Yale immediately end the ban on my teaching at Yale;
- Yale release all body cam videos to the media with advance notice to me of the release date;
- Yale make clear that the video taken of me on May 8thwas recorded illegally under Connecticut State Law;
- Yale make clear that I had a reasonable expectation of privacy standing in the threshold of my dorm room in Yale’s on campus housing;
- Yale make clear that women living in Yale’s on campus housing, including older, disabled women have the right to take reasonable precautions to ensure that they may enter their dorm rooms safely, including by calling the Yale campus police;
- Yale issue a public apology to me for concluding that I acted with any racial animus in connection with these incidences, and stating that all the evidence known to Yale suggests otherwise; and
- That Yale publicly announce that I have been publicly misrepresented as engaging in discriminatory misconduct. Indeed my work at Yale and beyond evidence that I harbor no racial animus whatsoever. To the contrary, I have dedicated myself to causes of social justice including the cause of eradicating all forms of discrimination.
I expect a response from you in short order.
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