CHRISTIAN PROFESSOR WITHDRAWS FROM NYU
Catalyst September Issue 2009
Dr. Thio Li-ann, professor at the National University of Singapore, was invited to teach at New York University Law School this fall. After it was discovered that the Christian professor, while serving as a Singaporean lawmaker in 2007, opposed a repeal of the law proscribing homosexual acts, NYU students and alumni organized to protest her appointment. She subsequently withdrew her interest in teaching at NYU.
On July 23—the day that the New York Times published a story about Professor Thio, Bill Donohue e-mailed and wrote to NYU’s law school dean, Richard Revesz.
In a July 23 statement on Professor Thio, Revesz tried to flip the issue of intimidation by blaming her for creating “an unwelcoming atmosphere.” In Donohue’s letter he pointed out that Revesz said that she “replied to them [critics of her appointment] in a manner that many member [sic] of our community—myself included—consider offensive and hurtful.” Donohue then asked Revesz to identify “a single sentence that is at all untoward.”
On August 6, Donohue received an e-mail from Revesz stating, “I welcome differing viewpoints and appreciate hearing from you [Donohue].” But Donohue’s letter did more than register a disagreement—he challenged Revesz to identify a single sentence in Thio’s response to her critics that was, in Revesz’s words, “offensive and hurtful.” Revesz knew that there weren’t any and the best he could do was to say that “comments were made [by Thio] that were viewed as offensive by those with opposing viewpoints.”
Revesz allowed the anti-free speech bullies to score a victory. He seems to love diversity, except for the only kind that should count on a college campus—diversity of thought. This is clear by his treatment of Thio. It’s plain to see that he refused to take up Donohue’s challenge and point out a single sentence that was “offensive and hurtful.”
Professor Thio was hounded out of NYU for political reasons. The fact that Revesz could not provide evidence to support his position effectively vindicates Thio.