Official Statement to Dean Morrison

Below is a letter delivered to Dean Morrison on April 18, 2014 in response to his April 17, 2014 message to the NYU Law community.
April 18, 2014

 

Dear Dean Morrison,

We are grateful for your message to the NYU Law community and the reaffirmation of your support for students’ rights to express their views on campus. The 500-plus students and faculty who have expressed their grave concern to us about Daniel Straus’s actions will surely see this as an important first step in addressing his behavior and opening up a campus-wide dialogue on the issue.

We do note, however, that your statement also affirmed CareOne’s legal right to issue subpoenas to anyone of evidentiary interest, even NYU Law students, as part of its evidence-gathering efforts. While acknowledging the legal rights that Mr. Straus and his company may have, we would like to reiterate our belief that the issuance of the subpoenas is a serious breach of comity and an attack on the free speech that we believe all students should enjoy. While we appreciate that NYU Law has provided counsel for the subpoenaed students – a fact that we have always mentioned in our conversations on campus – we believe that the NYU Law administration should publicly oppose Mr. Straus’s subpoenas and any further use of this legal device by trustees against students.

CareOne’s use of subpoenas to stifle free speech on NYU Law’s campus speaks for itself.  If Mr. Straus, as member of the Law School community, is “fundamentally committed to the welfare of our students” and does not “seek or welcome a conflict of any kind between a member of the Board of Trustees and a member of the student body,” he would cause the subpoenas to be withdrawn immediately and issue an apology. When an inappropriate act is committed in our community, there should be questions raised and consequences considered. We question Mr. Straus’s ability to keep students’ best interests in mind and to play a responsible role on the Board by fostering, not stifling, dialogue on matters of public concern. We hope that you will make good on NYU Law’s commitment to students and the free and open exchange of opinions.

We are enclosing a copy of the petition and the over 500 NYU-affiliated signatures that we sent to Mr. Straus by mail on April 16th. We consider the broad support we have received to be a testament to the level of interest in protecting political speech on campus. We thank you for the opportunity you have given us to engage with the administration and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

 

[Concerned Students at NYU Law]

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