October 25, 2005

We Believe in Yoo

by Armen

[Note: Cross posted at Nuts & Boalts]

I'll definitely have more to say about this later, but this morning's disruption of Con Law by those who can't live without a cause to fight for really pissed me off (as many noticed). If you weren't around this morning, about half a dozen protesters stormed into Booth, where Prof. Yoo was in the middle of asking me a question, to protest his torture memos. Yeah I know, some people still live in the past. I'm glad my classmates were for the most part in agreement that the means was not appropriate. I'm also glad that others have contacted Prof. Yoo to offer to come early tomorrow to make up for the lost time.

And that is what really irked me. Disrupting a class is disrupting a class is disrupting a class. I can agree with your message ad infinitum, but you are in the wrong for disrupting a class. This was something the protestors could not fathom. Neither could some of my classmates, with one saying "well, it's civil disobedience." The premise of civil disobedience is breaking a law you disagree with as a way to demonstrate its wrongfulness. If the protestors disagree with the university regulations and state laws prohibiting disruption of class, then they're welcome to break those rules and face the consequences. But they broke those rules and laws for other reasons that have nothing to do with disrupting class. They acted selfishly to promote their own cause. As important as they perceive their cause to be, they cannot steal our time from us... that is, without paying for it. I'd really like to know where they live. Let's just say the strobe lights and bull horms will be out in force. I am a champion of classroom time and feel that no hour of the night is too sacred to get my message across.

More seriously, the crux of the protesters' argument was that John Yoo should not be teaching here. I couldn't disagree more. He WAS a tenured professor here when he took leave to work at the DOJ and returned to that position. Tenure is such a sacred position for a reason. But of course those whose knee-jerk reaction is to disagree with a person without much thought tend not to respect such concepts as tenure or academic freedom. Frankly, these people are worse than the Bill O'Reillys of the world who went after Ward Churchill. At least Bill O used his bully pulpit and didn't disrupt Churchill's classes.

October 25, 2005 04:47 PM | TrackBack

How would you feel about someone who took a spot in that class for the express purpose of seizing every possible opportunity to challenge Yoo, sometimes illogically and inarticulately, about his views on whether certain international agreements are binding and whether we should obey their spirit even if they technically aren't?

I'm thinking about the potential comparison to the NYU kid who asked Justice Scalia about sodomy. Presumably those who make some attempt to engage their opponents are preferable to those who try to silence them, but it's interesting that the person who asked an obnoxious question has drawn so much more negative attention than the folks who were trying to make Scalia inaudible.

Posted by: PG at October 26, 2005 12:27 AM
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