Comparitive Study of Constitutional Challenges

Jul 2010

This class was pretty awesome. You are unlikely to meet a more engaging and passionate person than Prof OuYang. She's a practicing civil rights and immigration attorney and has worked on a lot of important cases so she knows a ton. She is clearly really passionate about her work but cares just as much about her students and teaching. Our class took place in the middle of the Qing Wu affair, involving a legal immigrant who was in deportation proceedings (look up the case!), so we got a behind-the-scenes look at how civil rights law works (and doesn't work) in reality. There's one "textbook" which is basically a compilation of historical excerpts, court decisions, and contemporary articles. The course is pretty comprehensive, beginning with slavery and the resulting laws and decisions (ie Dred Scott) and ending with post-9/11 policies regarding immigration, racial profiling, etc. She expects students to read the cases carefully. Only downsides: The class was a little dry sometimes. There's definitely some room for discussion but this is not an open forum for philosophers; Prof OuYang is looking for answers to specific questions about the cases. We all learned a lot but it got a little long sometimes (especially since she usually held us at least 20 minutes past the 2 hour seminar) But really--take this class. If you're like me, this class will change you. It will make you want to be an activist.

Sep 2007

i agree with all of the other reviews. best professor at columbia, great person, best class i have ever taken. i wish she taught more classes! i learned more in this class than in the rest of my 4 years at columbia.

Jan 2005

Professor OuYang is a great teacher who dares to explore the real problems that go on in the United States. It is hard to believe that our country is the land of the free after taking this class but you also get the feeling that you can do something about it. OuYang is a civil rights attorney and has first hand accounts of abuse of the constitution against minorities. She forces students to understand court cases and decisions and read between the lines.