Sunday, April 5, 2009

UC Berkeley: John Yoo's Job is Safe

By Robert Gammon
Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 1:49 PM

UC Berkeley law school Dean Christopher Edley has reaffirmed his position that the tenured job of notorious law professor John Yoo is safe. In an op-ed published in the Contra Costa Times over the weekend, Edley repeated his stance from last year that there is basically nothing that the university can do unless Yoo is convicted of a crime. Edley's piece came in response to a CC Times and Oakland Tribune editorial that expressed concerns that the university intended to punish the man who enabled torture. Great. So now both of our East Bay mainstream dailies desperately want to protect the right of a professor to authorize torture, as does the University of California. We certainly live among the truly courageous, don't we?

Indeed, Edley seemed taken aback by the outrageous idea that the university would ever touch Yoo or violate his precious academic freedom. What a ghastly suggestion! The dean argued that university has no choice but to leave Yoo alone, because even though it is home to some of the smartest people on the planet, it simply "does not have the institutional competence to conduct investigations involving classified intelligence." Never mind the fact that some of Yoo's "classified" work, including one his torture memos, has been public for some time. Never mind that fact that one of his memos clearly authorized torture by military interrogators. Never mind the fact that scholars from both the left and right have excoriated Yoo's legal scholarship. Never mind the fact that Yoo's work was so abhorrent that George W. Bush's own administration later denounced it, repeatedly. Nope. UC Berkeley, one of the great academic institutions of the world, simply doesn't have the brainpower to cope with something so complicated as John Yoo.

Edley also argues that his hands are tied because there are no established rules "for behavior distant from the functions of a university." In other words, Yoo is untouchable because his possible war crimes occurred while on leave from Berkeley. Hear that, tenured professors? The dean of the law school says that when you're on sabbatical, you can do basically anything you want. Except mess with co-eds, of course. The university does have standards, you know.

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