UCLA Alumni Group Is Tracking 'Radical' Faculty
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 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.
The website 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."
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