[Marxism] Witch hunt at UCLA

Peter McLaren mclaren at gseis.ucla.edu
Wed Jan 18 09:49:40 MST 2006

UCLA Alumni Group Is Tracking 'Radical' Faculty
By Stuart Silverstein and Peter Y. Hong, Times Staff Writers

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  

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."

On Jan 18, 2006, at 6:39 AM, Charles Brown wrote:

> Is "witchhunt" a euphemism for fascistic ?
> ________________________________________________
> YOU MUST clip all extraneous text before replying to a message.
> Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
> Set your options at: http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/listinfo/ 
> marxism

More information about the Marxism mailing list