higher education

To Teach Human Rights, New York University Invites an Anti-Gay Professor

In the halls of higher education, opposing viewpoints shouldn’t just be permitted, they should be encouraged. But when New York University’s law school asked Dr. Thio Li-ann, of the National University of Singapore, to teach the course “Human Rights in Asia” this fall, it invited students to pay tuition to learn from someone who teaches the wrongs of homosexuality.

A noted human rights advocate, Li-ann is also a fierce supporter of Singapore’s law that criminalizes same-sex sex. To explain how someone who’s so against institutional oppression and human suffering could also be against extending rights to gays and lesbians, you’ll have to understand Li-ann’s position: “A moral wrong cannot be a human right.” And according to the NYU Outlaw blog protesting Li-ann’s hiring, she compares anal sex to “shoving a straw up your nose to drink.” Even Bruno wasn’t wise enough to make that leap.

And still, NYU wants to have her as a visiting professor. Smartly, NYU Outlaw (an organization of the law school’s gay students) will use Li-ann’s marred perspective on human rights to have an open dialogue (via forum) “about the boundaries of human rights.” Also, an open dialogue on what type of professors NYU students’ tuition should pay for. Because, as Transracial notes, Dr. Li-ann is among those who not only finds homosexuality deplorable, but also curable. Why not, then, add Astrology 101 to pre-reqs?

It begs the question: Would NYU invite to its campus someone who believed people of color are less than? That women are not as capable as men? That Nazi sympathizers deserve our sympathy? Once again we’ve got a case where homosexuality remains one of the last acceptable forms of discrimination. And this is, apparently, a viewpoint worth teaching students.

(In the above clip, Li-ann discusses Singapore’s 377A law, which criminalizes gay sex. She argues legislators should “not be bewitched by the empty rhetoric and emotional sloganeering employed by many radical liberals.” Singapore opted not to repeal the law, but the law minister insists they won’t enforce it.)

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