Friday, July 24, 2009
An anti-gay law professor and former politician from Singapore who had been invited to teach a course at New York University on “Human Rights in Asia” won’t accept the invitation, the school announced yesterday.
Thio Li-ann, a professor at the National University of Singapore and a former member of Parliament had been scheduled to teach the human rights course and a seminar on constitutionalism as a visiting professor at NYU’s law school. But, Ms. Thio was schooled in the difference between Singapore and the U.S. when the invitation caused outrage on the NYU campus because of statements she’s made about homosexuality and the repeal of Section 377A, the Victorian-era law that criminalizes gay sex in Singapore.
More than 800 people have signed an online petition saying that, by hiring her, the NYU law school was “acting in opposition to its own policy of nondiscrimination and undermining its commitment to advancing human rights worldwide.”
The petition called the invitation extended to Thio by NYU “disingenuous, untenable, and unacceptable.” It says “academic freedom is not a license for bigotry.”
But an announced yesterday said Thio has withdrawn. In a statement signed by NYU law dean Richard Revesz, Thio decided to decline the invitation because “she was disappointed by the hostility of some members of our community to her views regarding homosexuality and gay rights, and by the low enrollments in her classes.”
As is usually the case with people like this, Thio wasted no time playing the vicitm card, complaining, “I do not feel welcomed as a person; I feel unfairly treated and greatly disrespected.” No word yet on when she will be returning to Singapore but tomorrow won’t be soon enough for me.