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January 18, 2006

Unfree radicals

Yet another stout defense of free speech from the lunatic right:

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.
… 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.

Let’s see what Rupe’s dollars are buying—for instance, this “profile” of “Radical of the Week” Douglas Kellner:

“Philosophy of Education” professor Douglas Kellner is something of a buried treasure on the UCLA campus. While in public not much of a fire-starter, especially compared to the roustabout behavior of his more active radical colleagues, Kellner is an absolute tiger on paper. A close look at Kellner’s personal history and theoretical background reveals a professor whose political views are a witch’s brew of worldwide conspiracy, Marxoid theory, “critical pedagogy,” and an overwhelming dose of anti-Bush hatred.

Seems perfectly fair and balanced. Others apparently disagree.

… 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 a fellow advisory board member, Jascha Kessler, an emeritus UCLA English professor, also resigned for the same reason.
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.

Education professor Peter McLaren, ranked #1 on Jones’ “Dirty Thirty” (“this Canadian native teaches the next generation of teachers and professors how to properly indoctrinate students”), describes the group’s tactics as “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.

Adrienne Lavine, chairwoman of UCLA’s academic senate, told the LA Times that there is little the university can do, and that freedom of speech “extends to Andrew Jones as much as it does to every faculty member on campus.”

Which kinda glosses over the point that Jones’ goal is to destroy that very freedom.

Posted by Stephen at 12:00 PM in Education | Politics | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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welcome to the new mccarthyism america. You really are in trouble if you let this one, get out of hand, for a second time.

Posted by: jobloggs at January 20, 2006 4:59 AM