Brett Kavanaugh Boasts of Being a “Renate Alumnius” in High School Yearbook. Renate Was a High School Girl.


This week, Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s high school yearbook was uncovered, and with it, another controversial case regarding Kavanaugh’s treatment of women. In the yearbook, Kavanaugh listed “Renate alumnius” as one of his credentials on his personal page, in reference to Renate Schroeder, a girl who at the time, was a student at a Catholic school not far from Kavanaugh’s. Football and booze were also among the high school senior’s self-proclaimed accomplishments.

The name “Renate” was found over 14 times in the Maryland-based Georgetown Preparatory School’s 1983 yearbook, both on students’ individual and group pages. “Renate Alumni,” in fact, was listed as the caption under a group shot of 9 high school football players, one of whom was Trump’s latest Supreme Court nominee.

In light of this finding, several of Kavanaugh’s high school classmates have come forth to comment on the nominee’s character. Two classmates told The New York Times that by proclaiming themselves “Renate alumni,” Kavanaugh and his football friends meant to brag about their sexual conquests. Sean Hagan, a former Georgetown Preparatory student, commented, “They were very disrespectful, at least verbally, with Renate. I can’t express how disgusted I am with them, then and now.”

Excessive drinking is also a major theme in Kavanaugh’s self-crafted yearbook page. He boasts of his position as treasurer of the “Keg City Club,” adding “100 kegs or bust” to his bio entry.

On September 14th, Renate Schroeder Dolphin, along with 65 other women who were acquainted with Kavanaugh in his high school years, wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee voicing their support of the Supreme Court nominee. The letter affirmed, “He [Kavanaugh] has behaved honorably and treated women with respect.”

Dolphin said that at the time of signing the letter, she was completely unaware of the “Renate alumni” comments found in Georgetown Prep’s high school yearbook. “I learned about these yearbook pages only a few days ago,” she explained. “I don’t know what ‘Renate Alumnus’ actually means. I can’t begin to comprehend what goes through the minds of 17-year-old boys who write such things, but the insinuation is horrible, hurtful and simply untrue. I pray their daughters are never treated this way.”

In preparation to defend Kavanaugh’s yearbook comments in court, where the nominee is set to testify this Thursday after Christine Blasey Ford accused him of sexual assault, Alexandra Walsh, Kavanaugh’s lawyer, has put forward an explanation: she claims the yearbook comments refer to a brief kiss Renate and Kavanaugh shared after attending a high school event together, and nothing more.

Dolphin, however, recalls the evening differently. “I think Brett must have me confused with someone else, because I never kissed him,” she responded to Walsh’s explanation.

Kavanaugh denied that Christine Blasey Ford’s accusation was true. Similarly, he has denied the validity of all statements questioning his character in high school after the recent yearbook findings. “People might have had too many beers on occasion and people generally in high school— I think all of us have probably done things we look back on in high school and regret or cringe a bit,” he defended.

The nominee issued no apology to Dolphin for his yearbook comment and its insinuation. Instead, he put forth a different narrative of his high school life, claiming to Fox News, “The vast majority of the time I spent in high school was studying or focused on sports and being a good friend to the boys and the girls that I was friends with.”

Kavanaugh’s was not the only disrespectful statement towards Dolphin found in the 1983 yearbook. DeLancey Davis, one of Kavanaugh’s classmates, boasted of his position as “Chairman of the Bored” of the “Renate Club.” It’s not the misspelling that’s egregious here as so much as the blatant disrespect towards women contained in the statement.

It is frightening that a person who is running to serve in the highest court in our nation may still earn the spot despite allegations of sexual assault and as found in the yearbook, blatant objectification of women. The fact that despite the victims who have come forward and derogatory comments found in his yearbook, Kavanaugh may still sit on the Supreme Court speaks to how much discrimination towards women, while sometimes acknowledged, is still tolerated in this country.

Many argue that it is unfair to automatically believe Ford, and in general, women who come forward as alleged victims of sexual assault cases. Regardless of whether you think that Ford deserves to be believed, however, it is impossible to ignore the “Renate alumni” phrase. There is no contesting what is written in the yearbook ink.

This yearbook findingin conjunction with the Ford vs. Kavanaugh caseonly go to show the pattern of disrespect towards women in the nominee’s behavior, a pattern that does not deserve to be tolerated in high schools, or on the Supreme Court.

We are alumni of schools and institutions, but certainly not people. Any insinuation otherwise is sexist. To claim to be an alumnus of a woman, given the sexual insinuations and objectification behind that statement, is a disrespectful thing for anyone to say. It certainly shouldn’t be tolerated from a Supreme Court nominee.

Meera Santhanam