[Marxism] Witch hunt at UCLA

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jan 18 07:27:33 MST 2006


http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-ucla18jan18,0,4943877.story?coll=la-home-headlines
 From the Los Angeles Times
UCLA Alumni Group Is Tracking 'Radical' Faculty
By Stuart Silverstein and Peter Y. Hong
Times Staff Writers

January 18, 2006

A fledgling alumni group headed by a former campus Republican leader is 
offering students payments of up to $100 per class to provide information 
on instructors who are "abusive, one-sided or off-topic" in advocating 
political ideologies.

The year-old Bruin Alumni Assn. says its "Exposing UCLA's Radical 
Professors" initiative takes aim at faculty "actively proselytizing their 
extreme views in the classroom, whether or not the commentary is relevant 
to the class topic." Although the group says it is concerned about radical 
professors of any political stripe, it has named an initial "Dirty 30" of 
teachers it identifies with left-wing or liberal causes.

Some of the instructors mentioned accuse the association of conducting a 
witch hunt that threatens to harm the teaching atmosphere, and at least one 
of the group's advisory board members has resigned because he considers the 
bounty offers inappropriate. The university said it will warn the 
association that selling copies of professors' lectures would violate 
campus rules and raise copyright issues.

The Bruin Alumni Assn. is headed by Andrew Jones, a 24-year-old who 
graduated in June 2003 and was chairman of UCLA's Bruin Republicans student 
group. He said his organization, which is registered with the state as a 
nonprofit, does not charge dues and has no official members, but has raised 
a total of $22,000 from 100 donors. Jones said the biggest contribution to 
the group, $5,000, came from a foundation endowed by Arthur N. Rupe, 88, a 
Santa Barbara resident and former Los Angeles record producer.

Jones' group is following in the footsteps of various conservative groups 
that have taken steps, including monitoring professors, to counter what 
they regard as an overwhelming leftist tilt at elite colleges and 
universities around the country. He said many of these efforts, however, 
have done a poor job of documenting their claims. As a result, Jones said, 
the Bruin Alumni Assn. is offering to pay students for tapes and notes from 
classes.

"We're just trying to get people back on a professional level of things. 
Having been a student myself up until 2003, and then watching what other 
students like myself have gone through, I'm very concerned about the level 
of professional teaching at UCLA," said Jones, who said he is supporting 
himself with a modest salary from the organization and is its only 
full-time employee.

He said he plans to show what he considers biased material to professors 
and administrators and seek to have teachers present more balanced lectures 
or possibly face reprimand.

UCLA administrators say they are planning no immediate legal action, other 
than to notify Jones and to alert students that selling course materials 
without the consent of the instructor and Chancellor Albert Carnesale 
violates university policy. Patricia Jasper, a university lawyer, said UCLA 
would reserve the right to take legal action if any students engaged in 
unauthorized selling of materials.

Adrienne Lavine, chairwoman of UCLA's academic senate, agreed that the 
university could do little more at this point. She said she found the 
profiles on the alumni group's website "inflammatory" and "not a positive 
way to address the concerns that Mr. Jones has expressed." Still, she said, 
"I certainly support freedom of speech and that extends to Andrew Jones as 
much as it does to every faculty member on campus."

The group's recent campaign has upset a number of targeted professors and 
triggered the resignation last weekend of Harvard historian Stephan 
Thernstrom, a prominent affirmative action opponent and former UCLA 
professor, from the advisory board for Jones' organization.

Thernstrom said he joined the alumni group's more than 20-member advisory 
board last year because he believed it "had a legitimate objective of 
combating the extraordinary politicization of the faculty on elite campuses 
today."

Still, Thernstrom said, "I felt it was extremely unwise, one, to put out a 
list of targets of investigation and to agree to pay students to provide 
information about what was going on in the classroom of those students. 
That just seems to me way too intrusive. It seems to me a kind of 
vigilantism that I very much object to."

Thernstrom said a fellow advisory board member, Jascha Kessler, an emeritus 
UCLA English professor, also resigned for the same reason. Kessler could 
not be reached for comment, but Jones confirmed that Kessler had resigned.

Jones said other members of the advisory board include Linda Chavez, former 
federal civil rights commissioner in the Reagan administration and head of 
a Virginia-based anti-affirmative action group; former Republican Rep. Jim 
Rogan; and current UCLA professors Matt Malkan and Thomas Schwartz.

Jones said he has lined up one student who, for $100 a class session, has 
agreed to provide tapes, detailed lecture notes and materials with what the 
group considers inappropriate opinion. He would not name the student or the 
professor whose class will be monitored. Jones characterized the work as 
non-commercial news gathering and advocacy that does not violate university 
policy.

On one of its websites, the Bruin Alumni Group names education professor 
Peter McLaren as No. 1 on its "The Dirty Thirty: Ranking the Worst of the 
Worst." It says "this Canadian native teaches the next generation of 
teachers and professors how to properly indoctrinate students."

McLaren, in a telephone interview, called the alumni group's tactics 
"beneath contempt."

"Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it 
as a reactionary form of McCarthyism. Any decent American is going to see 
through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no 
credibility," he said.

The website also lists history professor Ellen DuBois, saying she "is in 
every way the modern female academic: militant, impatient, accusatory, and 
radical — very radical." In response, DuBois said: "This is a totally 
abhorrent invitation to students to participate in a witch hunt 
 against 
their professors."

But DuBois minimized the effect on campus, saying "it's not even clear this 
is much other than the ill-considered action of a handful, if that, of 
individuals."

The group's leading financial backer, Rupe, is a UCLA alumnus. He said his 
foundation donated $5,000 because "I think there's not enough balance on 
the campus. Some families are going into hock to send their kids there, and 
are not getting their money's worth."

Rupe said the group's plan to pay students to record alleged bias "would be 
ideal if it could be done legally."

Rupe's philanthropy is not centered on conservative causes. His foundation 
donated $500,000 to UC Santa Barbara in 1998 to endow a professorship 
studying the effects of the media on social behavior.

Ronald E. Rice, who holds the professorship, said Rupe told him he was 
"really interested in the truth. He wants to bring people with different 
perspectives together to really argue."

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