Petition in Opposition to Dr. Thio Li-Ann Teaching a Course on Human Rights at New York University School of Law

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    Dean Richard Revesz, President John Sexton, Directors of the Global Hauser Law Program, NYU Law Board of Trustees and NYU Board of Trustees
  • Sponsored By:
    Members of NYU Students and Alumni opposed to Thio Li-Ann teaching Human Rights
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We, the undersigned, express our deep dissatisfaction with New York University School of Laws appointment of Dr. Thio Li-Ann as a Global Visiting Professor of Law. Dr. Thio is an opponent of human rights and has used her role as a Nominated Member of the Singaporean Parliament to advocate for the continued criminalization of homosexuality in Singapore. Arguing against the repeal of a law that punishes sex between consenting adults, Dr. Thio stated that homosexuality is a gender identity disorder," that a moral wrong cannot be a human right and compared homosexual sodomy to shoving a straw up your nose to drink. Moreover, in 2008 Dr. Thio supported the imposition of a $15,000 fine on a free-access Singaporean television channel for presenting a gay couple and their child as a family unit.

By bringing Dr. Thio to NYU, the Law School is acting in opposition to its own policy of nondiscrimination and undermining its commitment to advancing human rights world-wide. This is a step backwards in the Law Schools longstanding support of the LGBT community.

Even more disappointing is the Administration's decision to stand by Dr. Thio's appointment. In an official statement released on July 9, 2009, Dean Revesz stated that "academic freedom requires that disagreement express itself through vigorous, civil debate, rather than an attempt to suppress those views." To harbor Dr. Thio under the banner of "academic freedom" is disingenuous, untenable and unacceptable. The full dignity of LGBT persons is beyond debate and the criminalization of private sexual conduct between consenting same-sex adults is a tool of oppression. While Dr. Thio believes that diversity is not a license for perversity, we believe that academic freedom is not a license for bigotry.

All of the undersigned strongly believe that the Administrations decision to appoint Dr. Thio was a grave mistake and her designation to teach "Human Rights in Asia" is inappropriate and offensive.