Robert Cole and Jesse Choper quoted in California Magazine, May 28, 2014
“Honorary degrees expose universities to a broader range of objection,” Cole says. “A university may not agree or disagree with a person’s speech, but an honorary degree is an endorsement of that person.” He believes universities should set public criteria for giving out honorary degrees, and steer away from awarding them to people merely because they are famous.
Jesse Choper chalks up a lot of these commencement speech issues to political correctness. “That’s why I’m not a fan,” he says. “I think it’s important to have a variety of views.” To this day, he remembers a small group that tried to hijack a Berkeley law school graduation in the 1990s by hiring a plane to fly a banner over the ceremony to protest the ban on affirmative action. “I don’t think it was effective at all,” Choper says.
The New York Times, November 18, 2011 by Jennifer Gollan
A half-century ago, Berkeley’s protest movement revolved around racial equality, free speech and, later, opposition to the Vietnam War…. “At first,” Mr. Cole said, “the university couldn’t really understand why students were asserting themselves in this way. But these issues were so blatantly American issues, so they appealed to a very large cross section of students and faculty.”
Associated Press, May 7, 2009 by Terence Chea
Robert Cole, a professor emeritus at Berkeley’s law school, said he believes the university should conduct its own investigation to determine if Yoo’s work for the Bush administration violated the campus’ faculty code of conduct.
“The university has got to protect its integrity,” Cole said. “Every professor we put in the classroom has to have professional competence and ethical integrity.”
The Daily Californian, April 22, 2009 by Alexandra Wilcox
“These news stories underline what has long been the case—that the university has some obligations to conduct a thorough professional analysis on how its code of conduct applies to off-campus conduct by a faculty member at a professional schoolֽ” said Robert H. Cole.
Rakowski said pursuing disciplinary action for professors’ off-campus conduct is extremely rare. “It’s a real stretch,” he said. “It’s going to be a difficult question whether the faculty code of conduct applies to this, if the accusations are true.”
The Daily Californian, March 4, 2009 by Alexandra Wilcox
-Robert H. Cole … said Yoo’s Oct. 23 memo was a “panicked one lacking in professional objectivity. It’s incredible to me that 9/11 means the president has essentially unlimited power to dispense with our civil liberties,” he said.
-It is not far-fetched that individual rights may be restricted in times of war, said Jesse Choper…. “Most constitutional scholars would agree that the government interest in times of war will be given greater weight by the courts in certain respect in regulation of certain liberties,” he said.
Esquire, May 13, by John H. Richardson
“Torture violates the very premise of the legal system itself, that there is something irreducible and inviolable about every person,” says Yoo’s fellow Berkeley law professor Robert H. Cole. “You can’t write a memo about it the way you would write about snowmobiling in Yosemite.”