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PolitiFact: Recruiting at Harvard briefly restricted under Kagan

The statement

Military "recruiting went on at Harvard every single day throughout the time (Elena Kagan) was there."

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., on ABC's This Week on Sunday

The ruling

In a discussion of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, defended her position on military recruitment while she was dean at Harvard Law School, saying: "She was trying to follow Harvard's policy. She was also trying to make sure that students who wanted to go in the military could."

Kagan argued that the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy — which denied entry to openly gay people — put recruiters at odds with a university policy that required employers who wanted to recruit through the school to sign a statement that they did not discriminate based on race, gender or sexual orientation.

But that conflicted with the federal Solomon Amendment, which barred federal money from going to universities that do not provide the military the same access as other employers.

In 2005, an appeals court ruled the Solomon Amendment was "likely" unconstitutional, and Kagan ended recruiter access for a semester. At her suggestion, the military recruited through a student group. But after that semester, under threat of losing funding, she allowed recruiting with the Career Services office.

The student group complained in 2005 that things did not go smoothly, saying it did not have the resources to conduct normal recruiting events.

For all but one semester, military recruiters had the same access as any company recruiting Harvard Law students. And for the one semester Kagan barred them from the Career Services office, she granted access via the student veterans association.

But Leahy exaggerated when he suggested it was business as usual, and he ignored the fact that there was a legal battle over the issue. We rule Leahy's comment Half True.

For more rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Recruiting at Harvard briefly restricted under Kagan 05/18/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 8:41pm]

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