Ryan Golden on Thio Li-Ann

A comment from Ryan Golden (thank you, Ryan!) which I believe deserves to be more widely read:

I spearheaded the campaign against Thio at NYU, and was quoted in today’s New York Times article. Because pretty much all of my comments were edited out, here is my take on the situation, and the Dean’s response.

This is not an issue of academic freedom, because Thio took actions in the Parliament of Singamore that oppressed the LGBT community. Many students and alumni of NYU consider her a human rights violator, and we believe international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch would agree. By inviting her to NYU, the administration
provided a human rights violator with tacit approval by a United States university that her views are within the bounds of academic freedom. We do not believe NYU would have considered her actions to be within the bounds of academic freedom if they had the effect of oppressing racial or religious minorities.

While NYU has historically been at the forefront of the LGBT rights movement, many of us are concerned that the law school treated this situation in a manner that is a step backwards. We are concerned how it will affect recruiting of LGBT students, and we are concerned how it will affect financial support from alumni.

Finally, while the Dean stated that “the value of the global program would be diminished if the visiting scholars all thought of difficult legal issues–including issues of sexual morality–in the same way,” we cannot comprehend what value there is in inviting a human rights violator to teach a course in human rights. He stated “We can learn from these visitors, and–we hope–they can learn from us.” I take issue with his statement that we can learn from a professor like Thio. For one, he is not a student, and
as a student I have no desire to debate with a professor who believes that LGBT individuals do not deserve human rights because their mere existence is a moral wrong. The human rights academic community is long past this
debate.

Ryan Golden
NYU Law Class of 2011

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2 Responses

  1. Yes saw that & loved it, thanks for the link.

    Hope that guy is the artist/engineer/citizen/father/teacher/government/entrepreneur of our future

    & If all that is too much for him to handle–hope there are more of you like him out there.

  2. hey, have you seen this? http://theonlinecitizen.com/2009/07/ntu-student-protests-against-censorship-in-graduation-speech/

    We have our very own inspiring student leaders as well.

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