A rather bizarre scene is unfolding in Berkeley’s City Council which is considering five measures attacking Berkeley Professor John Yoo. One measure demands criminal charges of Yoo for his torture memo as a Bush official while another demands that no student be compelled to take a class from him.
Yoo’s 2002 memo made a legal argument in favor of torture and it was signed by his boss, former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee. It was later rescinded by the Administration — but only after it became public.
The fact is that Yoo is protected by academic freedom and liberals should not support efforts to manage the workings of law schools. Those same advocates would be deeply aggrieved if the Texas or Kansas legislature tried to force changes in course offerings due to liberals on the faculty.
Yoo’s memo was a great offense to everyone who believes in the human rights. He will likely spend his entire life under the cloud of an academic who embraced the very antithesis of the rule of law. However, this is a matter for the legal academy and not politicians to address.
In the meantime, I am searching for past memos that might allow the DC city council to demand that I be relieved on teaching duties. There was that column on eating horses, for example. That should be good enough to strip me of access to students. Accordingly, I would like to be the first to demand that George Washington protect students from corrupt ideas and influences by transferring all of my teaching responsibilities to my colleagues. I am prepared to give a public confession of corrupt ideas to further this movement.
Come on, folks, Yoo is nothing. I am a menace. Indeed, I am looking at a pile of ungraded exams that should immediately be impounded to be given to a less controversial figure. These students deserve better than the likes of me. I know me and I know they deserve better.
For the Yoo story, click here.