Friday, April 27, 2007
At first glance, David Chang’s reserved exterior belies the deep feelings he has for righting society’s wrongs, especially with regard to racial discrimination. But his passion and commitment to addressing these issues quickly become clear not only through his conversation and writings, but also through his actions.
Former cochair of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, Professor Chang worked hard to combat some of the City’s most heinous incidents of brutality and to push for legislative remedies through the passage of anti-hate crimes statutes.
“Hate-motivated violence is perhaps the most fundamental denial of community and human rights,” he says with conviction. He has written extensively on hate crimes legislation and the constitutionality of affirmative action policies, finding himself “almost obsessed with the problems of achieving racial justice in a fundamentally racist society.” He has also worked with the Los Angeles-based Center for Law in the Public Interest. He is now chairman of the Board of Directors of Pratt Area Community Council, an organization that serves a wide range of housing-related needs for low- and moderate-income residents of Brooklyn.
His scholarship has been recognized as outstanding. In 1992, New York Law School presented the Walter M. Jeffords Distinguished Writing Award to Professor Chang for his article, “Discriminatory Impact, Affirmative Action, and Innocent Victims: Judicial Conservatism or Conservative Justices?” (Columbia Law Review, 1991) and in 2001, the Otto L. Walter Distinguished Writing Award for his article, “Selling the Market-Driven Message: Commercial Television, Consumer Sovereignty, and the First Amendment” (Minnesota Law Review, 2000).
While at Yale Law School, where he received a J.D. in 1982, Professor Chang became interested in First Amendment issues and constitutional litigation, due in part to a summer internship with the in-house counsel at The Washington Post. He also realized during his first year at law school that he wanted to teach, finding his Yale professors inspiring. “I found that I enjoyed the academic approach to exploring questions; to coming up with better ways of thinking about problems,” he explains.
Professor Chang, who has been on the New York Law School faculty since 1983, brings this appreciation for intellectual development into his classroom.
“I am very impressed with New York Law School students, and find them serious and committed. Their accomplishments, especially among the Evening Division students, are often amazing,” he says.
Outside of academics, Professor Chang also has many passions, including restoration of his Victorian-style brownstone in Brooklyn, pool, golf, photography, and his dog Kenya. [Mark Godsey]