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I’ve been asked several times, including by the press, to comment on the controversy surrounding Harold Koh. Koh is a former State Department legal adviser — and occasional critic of mine — who’s now teaching international human rights law at NYU. That’s outraged some NYU students, who object to his appointment because of his role in the Obama Administration’s drone strike program, and are now circulating anti-Koh petitions. I can summarize my thoughts in short order:
While I don’t agree with Harold on many issues, the protest strikes me as silly. A university should bring forth all points of view, even those — especially those — that students, alumni, and faculty do not like. How better could law students learn than from someone like Harold, whose role as a government lawyer may have run counter to his views as a legal scholar and activist? If there are students, faculty, and alumni who think Harold should be excluded from the NYU community, they may want to go to a university that cares more about protecting their feelings than improving their minds. But they will be worse off for it.