NYU Human Rights Prof (and Gay Rights Opponent) Withdraws
A law professor from Singapore who was scheduled to teach a course on human rights at NYU this fall has withdrawn amid a furious controversy over her strong opposition to gay rights.
Dr. Thio Li-ann has canceled her plans to teach a human rights course at New York University – School of Law following an uproar over remarks she made about homosexuality. The 41-year-old National University of Singapore professor is also a member of her country’s Parliament, and in 2007 she spoke out against repealing a law that criminalizes sex between men. Thio said that repealing the law would be “radical” and would “subvert social morality.”
Once the professor’s comments began spreading via the Internet the reaction was strong and immediate.
NYU’s gay and lesbian law student group questioned how their university could allow a supposed human rights activist — who not only doesn’t believe in gay rights but in fact fights against them — to teach at the school.
Jackson Murley is a student in his third year at NYU, and a member of the student organization OUTLaw. Murley thinks the professor cancelled because of the backlash following her homophobic comments.
Murley: “She had her speech, we had ours. I think she couldn’t handle it.”
In a public statement, the dean of New York University’s law school said Thio was withdrawing due to low enrollment in her courses, and what he called “an atmosphere of hostility by some members of our community.” Dean Richard Revesz (REV-etch) apologized for the discomfort the controversy has caused many of his students. He also called the incident a learning experience.