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Published February 14, 2009 THE PANTHER

Upon learning of John Yoo's appointment to Chapman's law school as the 2009 Fletcher Jones Distinguished Visiting Professor, I 'Googled' his name and immersed myself in what I found. It is shameful. 

Yoo is merely the latest in a long line of banal apologists for tyranny whose detritus litters the historical landscape. Yoo served an administration that elevated ideology over the Constitution, partisanship over patrimony. Founders with widely divergent views on executive authority, such as Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson and Madison, were united in opposition to those expressed by Yoo. He represents everything they feared and tried to contain. 

Berkeley's reputation is secure, its prestige is undiminished by the presence of Yoo on its faculty. Chapman's is not. 

He comes to Chapman's law school by invitation. In his memorandums condoning torture and asserting that the president is above the law - later rescinded by the Department of Justice - Yoo violated his ethical obligations as a lawyer. He perverted the clear meaning of the law to condone the administration's policies. 

I do not understand how Yoo's presence on the faculty can benefit Chapman unless it is to appeal to a small right-wing constituency that supports the university financially. 
If that is the case, you have made a Faustian bargain. 

You are known by the company you keep. The reputation of the law school carries with it the reputation of the university. Offering a broad diversity of views is a hallmark of an institution aiming to provide a liberal arts education "of distinction," but giving a scofflaw professor a megaphone inside a right-wing echo chamber, which the law school seems to have become, is not.

My wife and I have proudly supported Chapman - my "alma mater," my nurturing mother - in word and deed since graduating in 1969. We have regularly contributed financially over the years. We have considered augmenting our annual contributions by naming Chapman as a contingent beneficiary in our living trust. No more. 

Unless Yoo's appointment is withdrawn, Chapman will neither receive another dollar from us, nor will I be an advocate for Chapman to prospective students. 

It grieves me to say that I am ashamed of Chapman. Your Chapman has beautiful new buildings and grounds; my Chapman had a tradition of devotion to true liberal arts education, not indoctrination. Your Chapman has a shiny veneer which conceals advocacy of a defunct ideology; my Chapman had a beautiful soul.

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This page contains a single entry published on February 17, 2009 10:02 AM.

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