The president of the prep school that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh graduated from in 1983 wrote a letter Friday to the school community saying that the all-boys institution needs “to continue to evaluate our school culture” and to talk with students “honestly and even bluntly about what respect for others, especially respect for women and other marginalized people means in very practical terms — in actions and in words.”
The letter from the Rev. James R. Van Dyke, president of Georgetown Preparatory School, came after several days of news reports describing a culture of excessive drinking, drug use and alleged sexual assault and misbehavior at the Bethesda, Md., school during the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was a student there. On Sunday, Christine Blasey Ford publicly accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when she was a 15-year-old student at Holton-Arms School and he was a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Prep.
It is “a challenging time for a lot of reasons,” wrote Van Dyke, who joined the school just a few months ago. “But [Prep] is a wonderful place, a wonderful school, a wonderful community.” He did not directly address the accusations against Kavanaugh or mention the judge’s name.
Van Dyke wrote it was time to “think deeply and long about what it means to be ‘men for others,’ what the vaunted Prep ‘brotherhood’ is really about. It is a time to continue our ongoing work with the guys on developing a proper sense of self and a healthy understanding of masculinity, in contrast to many of the cultural models and caricatures that they see.”
Van Dyke wrote that it has been challenging to see the school painted in unflattering, “caricature” terms. “Contrary to the caricature . . . the wider school community is not uncaring,” he wrote.
While acknowledging he may have to face difficult phone calls and emails, Van Dyke wrote that he would not want to be anywhere else and that “our school and its community is well prepared to and committed to help these young men to become most truly men of faith and men for others.”