BOSTON (CBS) - Students at New England Law Boston are objecting to news that Ambassador to New Zealand and former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown will be the school's next president and dean. The announcement was made November 8th, and within days a petition circulating demanding the school reverse its decision to appoint Brown.
It reads in part, "Ambassador Brown's values are opposed to those of New England Law | Boston and its student body."
The petition was created by 3rd year student Dylan Lang who says he didn't know much about Brown when the announcement was made. "I started looking into more of his past and political views and I was really appalled," Lang said.
Lang takes issue with Brown for his, "strong track record of opposition to LGBTQ+ rights" pointing to comments made in the past, and his voting record. "We have a lot of LGBTQ students. I identify as a gay male myself, and to have someone who doesn't embrace and welcome our community is definitely hard to swallow," Lang said.
In the petition, Lang also expresses his concern over Ambassador Brown's record on women's rights, and his support of President Donald Trump who appointed him Ambassador to New Zealand. "This is an administration right now that is so against the rule of law and basic human rights," Lang said. "And for us to have a dean who is not willing to recognize that, and not willing to speak out against it is frustrating."
There are 725 full and part time students who attend New England Law. As of Tuesday afternoon, Lang said more than 200 current and former students had signed the petition. "I've heard from alumni from as far back as the class of 1978 thanking me for the petition, and wondering how else they can get involved," Lang said.
We reached out to Ambassador Brown but did not immediately hear back. When it was announced he would be joining the school last week he said, "Throughout my time in public life, I've worked hard to bring people together, and that's an approach I intend to apply every day in my new role."
New England Law responded to the petition with a statement that reads in part, "In the past few days, we have heard from many students, faculty, and alumni who have shared their excitement about the selection of Ambassador Brown. We value the feedback of all students, positive and negative, and plan to provide a community forum at some point to discuss their views. We look forward to Ambassador Brown leading New England Law towards an exciting future."
Dylan Lang says he doubts students are excited, and is confident the student body will not sit quietly. "I think our students are riled up and they're ready to make noise," Lang said. "I don't know what's next but I'm willing to bet that this isn't going to stop here."
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