Aya Gruber

Visiting Professor of Law

Fall 2017


Aya Gruber is a Professor of Law at the University of Colorado Law School. Professor Gruber received her B.A. in Philosophy from U.C. Berkeley, summa cum laude and her law degree from Harvard Law School magna cum laude, where she served as an editor on the Harvard Women’s Law Journal and founded the Interracial Law Students’ Association. As a student, Gruber wrote a paper, Pink Elephants in the Rape Trial (published in 1997) that explores the “feminist-civil libertarian dilemma” over rape reform and continues to appear in leading criminal law casebooks. After law school, Professor Gruber clerked for U.S. district court judge James L. King in Miami, Florida and then served as a felony trial attorney with the Public Defender Service in Washington, D.C. and the Federal Public Defender in Miami.

Professor Gruber currently teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law and procedure, critical theory, feminism, and comparative/international law. Her scholarship focuses primarily on feminist efforts to strengthen criminal law responses to crimes against women. Her article, The Feminist War on Crime (2007), combines insights from practicing as a public defender with extensive research on U.S. domestic violence reform to articulate a feminist critique of policies such as mandatory arrest and prosecution—a critique that proved influential to academics, lawyers, and policy makers. Professor Gruber extended this analysis to rape law (Rape Feminism, and the War on Crime, 2009) and other areas of criminal law, from homicide to human trafficking, through several widely taught and frequently cited articles, including: Consent Confusion (2016); Penal Welfare and the New Human Trafficking Intervention Court (2016); Anti-Rape Culture (2016); When Theory Met Practice (2015); Neofeminism (2013); and A Distributive Theory of Criminal Law (2010). She is currently working on a book, The Feminist War on Crime, which ties together many of the ideas from her articles on feminism and criminal law. In addition to her writing on gender and crime, Professor Gruber has written a book on comparative criminal procedure, articles on treaty law and human rights, and articles on criminal procedure and privacy.

Professor Gruber joined the University of Colorado faculty in 2010. In 2012, the students honored her with the Outstanding New Faculty Member Award. In 2013, she delivered the Austin W. Scott, Jr. Lecture, a public lecture given by a faculty member engaged in a significant scholarly project. In 2015, Gruber received Gilbert Goldstein Fellowship, awarded annually to a scholarly project of particular importance. In 2017, she received the Jules Milstein Award, given to the best faculty work of scholarship in the prior two years, for her article, A Provocative Defense (2015). Professor Gruber has been a fellow in the University’s Center for Values and Social Policy since 2015. Prior to Colorado, Gruber was a professor of law at University of Iowa and a founding faculty member of Florida International University Law School.

Professor Gruber was elected to membership in the American Law Institute in 2016, and has been an adviser to ALI Model Penal Code sexual assault project for several years. As a member of the University of Colorado’s Boulder Faculty Assembly and a chair on the University’s grievance committee, she has investigated high-profile campus sexual assault and harassment controversies. A frequent public speaker on criminal justice, Professor Gruber has appeared on PBS, Fox News, ABC, and is quoted in various news outlets, including the Denver Post, Slate, and the New York Times.

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