Yesterday we posted a letter from the NYU Law School chapter of the ACLU to Dean Richard Revesz. In its letter, the ACLU requested that a “town hall” meeting to discuss the controversial visiting professorship of Dr. Li-Ann Thio go forward as planned, even though Dr. Thio has canceled her visit to NYU.
We’ve learned that the town hall meeting will be going forward as planned. It should be an interesting event; perhaps we’ll cover it. NYU folks, please email us with the info once it’s available.
In addition, the NYU ACLU sent us a message to clarify one matter. Based on some of the comments to our last post, it seems some readers think the ACLU was arguing for rescission of Dr. Thio’s offer. The ACLU wanted to emphasize that it never took that position and that it respects Dr. Thio’s right to free speech.
If you’re tired of this story, then stop reading here. If not, you can read the full statement of the ACLU, after the jump.
The chair of the NYU Law ACLU sent us the following message:
I’m the chair of the NYU Law ACLU. It appears that people have gotten the impression from our letter to Dean Revesz that we were suggesting the Law School should have rescinded its offer to Dr. Thio. That is not our position, so I thought it important that I clarify.
We are not suggesting that the Law School should have rescinded its offer to Dr. Thio, nor are we necessarily taking the position that she should not initially have been offered a visiting professorship. We thought it important to send Dean Revesz this letter for two reasons: one, because we were concerned that after Dr. Thio announced her intent to cancel her visit at NYU a further discussion within the Law School community about an issue that will inevitably come up again would not happen, and two, because we think that the Law School can more firmly express its opposition, as an institution, to Dr. Thio’s statements, just as it has expressed its opposition to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” We do not think that making such a statement would impinge on any academic freedoms; we are certainly not suggesting that Dr. Thio should be silenced. The balance of ensuring that a community is comfortable for all its members while maintaining an academic environment in which all intellectual viewpoints can be heard is obviously a complicated one, which is a major reason we feel strongly that holding a town hall meeting on this subject at NYU Law is important.
It seems to us that the Law School has expressed its opposition to Dr. Thio’s statements. From Dean Ricky Revesz’s earlier message:
[A]s an institution we believe that a society that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, or that tolerates such discrimination against qualified people, is not just….
To be clear, the Law School categorically rejects the point of view expressed in Professor Thio’s speech, as evidenced by our early and longstanding commitment to end discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.