Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Students Being Paid by Rightwing Group to Report on UCLA Faculty
Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 04:45:23 PM PDT
Not naming names, but some people around here like to talk about how they're not "PC" (usually right after they've said something maybe kinda sexist/homophobic/take your pick). This is said like it's some brave rebellion against the status quo. And colleges are pointed to as a place PC reigns supreme. In the mean time, who is actually being attacked on campus for their politics?
From an email that was just forwarded to me:
Do you have a professor who just can't stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican Party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? It doesn't matter whether this is a past class, or your class for this coming winter quarter.
If you help UCLAProfs.com expose the professor, we'll pay you for your work.
That's right. Students are being paid to report on their teachers' political views.
The site is sponsored by the Bruin Alumni Association, itself a group with the apparently sole purpose of exposing and combatting an "exploding crisis of political radicalism on campus. It's endangering the very core of UCLA - the undergraduate experience."
So what exactly is the Bruin Alumni Association? It sounds pretty official, doesn't it? Well, its president and founder is a 2003 UCLA graduate. Its advisory board includes former Bush Labor Secretary nominee Linda Chavez, former House Manager in the Clinton impeachment Jim Rogan, notoriously ethical and rigorous gun-control researcher John Lott, and occasional Rush Limbaugh show guest host Dr. Walter Williams. And they're paying current undergrads to be Big Brother's watchful eye on the UCLA faculty.
(The payment schedule is "Full, detailed lecture notes, all professor-distributed materials, and full tape recordings of every class session, for one class: $100"; "Full, detailed lecture notes and all professor-distributed materials, for one class: $50"; "Advisory and all professor-distributed materials: $10")
And what is this exploding crisis of political radicalism?
"One aspect of this radicalization, outlined here, is an unholy alliance between anti-war professors, radical Muslim students, and a pliant administration. Working together, they have made UCLA a major organizing center for opposition to the War on Terror."
Look a little more and you find that it's also about affirmative action (surprise!), being supported by the student "Diversitistas." That, naturally, there is a "vicious anti-Semitic troika" of faculty who "peddle hatred of Israel and Zionism." Even a faculty member who UCLA Profs.com admits is "in public not much of a fire-starter" is examined because his "personal history and theoretical background" are suspicious.
Even the number of petitions signed by UCLA faculty is examined. But these aren't just petitions, they're radical petitions. Because being against the Iraq War is radical, y'all. (It makes me a little tingly to realize how radical this country has become.)
One of the most sustained and vicious campaigns of the radical right has been against colleges and universities. It makes sense - these are some of the few institutions that stand against the right's sway over the information available to people in this country. And one of the major ways the right has attacked the academy and the left more generally is accusations of a PC Thought Police, roaming through your local university, stifling or downright censoring anyone who dares express an honest conservative thought. The poor, poor babies.
Meanwhile, well-funded conservative organizations are paying students to help attack their liberal professors; teachers who have been targeted by such groups have received hate mail and death threats.
So don't talk to me about "PC." Definitely don't talk to me about "PC thought police." Because on one side we have people supporting a range of liberal policies who, sure, maybe sometimes aren't best friends with their conservative colleagues, but who there is little credible evidence have practiced anything like censorship. And on the other side we have a network of right-wing organizations attacking anyone and everyone who says something they don't like. We have death threats, attempts to revoke tenure, all sorts of intimidation. That, my friends, is thought police.