UCLA

ANALYSIS: With wit, wisdom and bold one-liners, conservative scholar takes down leftist tenets

Well-known author and scholar Heather Mac Donald recently visited UCLA to talk about the idea of “microaggressions” on college campuses, but before she even went there, she had a few words to say about the people running the place.

The launch of her talk Thursday began with outlining the proliferation of the “massive diversity bureaucracy” at universities in general and UCLA in particular. She called out UCLA’s brand new Vice Chancellor for Equity and Diversity position by mentioning his salary alone could “pay…for 12 under privileged college students” to attend UCLA. She also chided UCLA Chancellor Gene Block for “selling out his faculty” and believing “that faculty need constant monitoring by a phalanx of chancellorettes and deanlettes.”

She went on to say university administrators have cast the diversity issue as an “epidemiological miasma,” because they never mention the exact perpetrators but allege that it is everywhere.

And she was just getting warmed up.

Mac Donald, a self-proclaimed “secular conservative” who is well known for her articulation of conservative views on crime, proceeded to describe a litany of academic horrors at the public campus.

First, she recalled an incident in the UCLA Education school where professor emeritus Val Dean Rust was subject to protests because of alleged microaggressions in his editing of student papers a few years ago.

Among the 81-year old professor emeritus’s alleged transgressions were repeatedly requiring students to write “Indigenous” in lowercase form instead of uppercase, requiring students to capitalize “white” if they also chose to capitalize “black,” and requiring students to use the Chicago Manual of Style instead of the style standards of the American Psychological Association.

Mac Donald called the result of the situation – in which Rust was forced to stay away from UCLA for six months and the student protester who led the cause was praised – as a “travesty of justice typical of this reign of terror.”

She mentioned that she herself interviewed many of Rust’s former students, and all of them had nothing but praise for the retired professor, who was well known for only wanting the best for his students. Her final verdict on the situation was that “UCLA grovels to protesters.”

She also cited a viral video that attacked UCLA for grievances against black students. Mac Donald said the way the university responded to the video, which was public praise, defies the true narrative of the situation.

The video implies that current black students are as equally oppressed as black students on campus in 1969. But Mac Donald highlighted that although only 3.8 percent of the university is black, only “5 percent of UCLA applicants are black” and only 7 percent of California is black. She said interviews with Professor Richard Sanders and Professor Tim Groseclose, UCLA whistleblowers on affirmative action, have revealed to her that “UCLA twists itself into knots to admit blacks.” She went even further by claiming that the “UCLA Law school admits blacks at 400 times what their proficiency would predict.”

In the closing moments of her lecture, Mac Donald implored students to reject what she calls a “cult of victimhood.” She encouraged students instead “get revenge by acing your chemistry exam.”

During the question and answers portion, Mac Donald fielded questions on a variety of topics, including the “campus rape epidemic.”

She questioned the validity of the rape epidemic, postulating that if such an epidemic existed at elite universities, then there would be a strong movement for single sex schools, but instead there is a push for coed bathrooms. In an additional remark, she said that the idea that women are only victims at universities “makes her want to throw up.” She cited the larger number of women at universities and the “frenzy to find qualified women and minorities” for professorships as evidence against such an idea.

The event drew attendance from both students and outside community members, and was organized by Bruin Republicans as part of their “Lectures on Conservative Thought” series. There were no protests of the talk.

College Fix contributor Jacob Kohlhepp is a student at UCLA and vice president of the Bruin Republicans.

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Well, that backfired.

After forcing a vote of all UCLA faculty on whether to add a diversity requirement for graduation, opponents of a requirement lost badly in the final tally, 916-487, Inside Higher Ed reports.

The vote was much closer when just the UCLA College faculty voted last year – 332-303.

Critics had thought “the professional schools’ professors (as well as emeritus professors, who were entitled to vote) might be more dubious of the idea than were the current U.C.L.A. College faculty,” the story says.

Here’s what students will have to do:

Under the requirement, students will be required to earn at least a C in a course that “substantially addresses racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, sexual orientation, religious or other types of diversity.” Currently more than 200 courses, in a range of disciplines, qualify, and more courses are expected to be created over time. …

The new requirement does not add to the total number of credits required for an undergraduate degree.

The “con” summary against the requirement said students won’t necessarily learn about other cultures with a requirement:

With approximately 90 percent of our undergraduate students identifying with at least one diversity identity group, many students may take the diversity course most aligned with their identity, and are then less likely to learn about perspectives different than their own. This possibility is even greater since the report of the Diversity Initiative Implementation Committee has indicated that many courses focus on one identity group. Rather than exposing students to perspectives of other groups that differ from their own, the diversity course may give the students an opportunity to stay in their own identity group, a ‘ghettoization’ effect.

Read the story.

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Taliesin Nexus, an educational nonprofit based in Los Angeles, is offering workshops at UCLA this August for pro-liberty students eyeing a career in film, television and/or publishing.

Taliesin Nexus’s workshop faculty is comprised of seasoned creative professionals currently working in their chosen fields as screenwriters, producers, novelists, talent reps, etc. with credits like NBC’s The Blacklist, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, The Simpsons, and That ‘70s Show, and blockbuster movies like Noah, Braveheart, Elf, American Pie, and Liar Liar.

The workshops are completely free — tuition, room and board, and travel are all covered.

The programs include the “Apollo Workshop” (for film and TV aspirants) and the “Calliope Workshop” (for new novelists and nonfiction book authors) in addition to the following:

The Liberty Lab for Film: TN provides a $10,000 grant each to seven teams (of two filmmakers each) to make a short film or web series with a liberty-related theme over the summer. Each team will be assigned a mentor from among their experienced faculty of Hollywood pros who will provide guidance and feedback along the way. Last year, TN screened the completed films in October at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood before an audience of industry insiders.

Odysseus Fellowship: This is a paid three-month internship program that places interns with leading Hollywood production companies such as Image Movers (Polar Express, Cast Away), Disruption Entertainment (Noah, Godzilla), and Mpower Pictures (Passion of the Christ). Interns receive either school credit or a stipend of up to $5000, plus a fantastic learning and networking experience.

MFA Scholarships: TN is offering scholarships of up to $4000 to aspiring authors attending accredited MFA programs to study creative writing.

Taliesin Nexus works to increase the diversity of voices in the entertainment industry, and to train and support pro-liberty filmmakers, writers and other creatives who are exploring liberty-oriented themes.

For more information visit their website at http://talnexus.com.

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ANALYSIS: Opposition to UCLA diversity requirement has been surprisingly successful

LOS ANGELES – Starting today and running through April 10, educators at UCLA can vote over whether to create a new academic requirement for undergrads that would force them to take some sort of diversity class.

The vote on its face may seem unremarkable – campuses across the United States have added such mandates, including most University of California schools.

But what makes this vote different is that it represents the culmination of months of hard work – lobbying, protests and education campaigns – by a coalition of professors and students at UCLA who have taken a stand for academic freedom against the threat of more liberal bias on campus. I am proud to be a member of this coalition.

I am proud that despite calls for professors that oppose the requirement to be fired, and the use of student funds to put on events to support the controversial ballot measure, we have stood up for undergraduates.

And, surprisingly, we have been successful.

The new mandate was initially approved in a 332-303 vote by College of Letters & Science faculty in October. After its passage, a petition signed by 64 professors forced the issue to a full faculty vote.

This is important, as it allows unbiased professors from every school at UCLA to vote on the requirement, expanding the pool of voters to more than 3,000. Voting begins March 30 and continues until April 10. All UCLA professors, current and emeritus, can vote.

Getting this new vote to take place took perseverance – and it also highlighted the fact that there many more on campus who oppose leftist indoctrination than one might think. Student advocates like myself have been pleased to discover that there are a large number of students and faculty who stand against being told how to think.

When student activists, led by Bruin Republicans, organized a protest against the requirement in January, Yik Yak was abuzz with students expressing their outrage over the idea of spending more of their tuition money on classes they find polarizing or that have nothing to do with their major. ucla2

Members of the Bruin Republicans also emailed hundreds of faculty members outside the College of Letters & Science to voice concerns. Professors from the medical, dental and engineering schools, for example. In the emails we explained that not all students are hive minds to the “social justice” cause. We expressed the very real experience that these types of “diversity” classes force a political mindset on students. Many professors emailed back, expressing their sense of solidarity with us.

During our Facebook campaign against the requirement, we experienced some personal and racial attacks from proponents of the diversity requirement, but these attacks only revealed to fellow students the true colors of many of the “social justice” crusaders. Many of our peers came to our defense. We did not convince everyone, but hundreds of comments later, many students who were previously in support of the requirement are questioning its effectiveness.

What started with just myself and two professors has grown into a movement on campus. We now have a full website, www.realdiversity.org, that we created so the administration could not hijack the debate by making con arguments harder to find.

Articles from prominent professors appear on Real Diversity and on the official Academic Senate website, and give compelling arguments as to why the requirement should not be passed.

Professor Schwartz, an acclaimed political science professor who is popular among students, writes that the diversity requirement proponents are “scraping the bottom of the academic barrel” in the studies they site to support the requirement. He states that despite the unsubstantiated studies, “diversity proponents could not find a single study that even purported to show that ‘diversity’ courses cured bad attitudes.”

Professor Manson, a respected anthropology professor, elaborates that “the cited data [in support of the mandate] provide no compelling argument for imposing a new course requirement.”

(RELATED: Mathematicians refute oft-cited ‘diversity trumps ability’ study)

Professor Trachtenberg, a respected expert in international relations, diplomatic history and historical research methods, states that the requirement might have a “ ‘ghettoization’ effect” by “encouraging students to retreat into their various identity group enclaves.”

Professor Malkan, a leading professor in the department of astrophysics, finds that there will be a “diversity deficit” caused by the lack of courses available to fulfill the requirement and a lack of money available to finance the courses.

As the voting begins, I hope that other professors at UCLA will see that this requirement is a political, not an academic, pursuit. I hope that they see that students already struggle to graduate on time. I hope that they see that money is scarce. But no matter the result, one thing has become clear: there still exists a quiet and calm foundation of people in academia that believe in seeking truth and supporting freedom.

College Fix contributor Jacob Kohlhepp is a student at UCLA and vice president of the Bruin Republicans.

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School says it’s purely a financial decision – trial ain’t cheap

Scientific research at universities is supposed to involve inquiry into established theories and hypotheses.

That is, unless they question environmental regulations.

One UCLA science researcher, a 34-year veteran of the school, found himself out of a job in 2011 after examining the data underlying diesel regulations proposed by a California regulator and exposing the shoddy credentials of a lead author of that regulator’s report.

James Enstrom secured victory in a two-and-a-half year legal battle against UCLA last week when the school agreed to settle the case.

The school is paying the “diesel particulate matter” expert $140,000, reinstating his title as “Retired Researcher,” and restoring his access to UCLA resources, “effectively” rescinding his termination, according to the American Center for Law & Justice, which represented Enstrom.

Enstrom had challenged the validity of a California Air Resources Board study on diesel particulate matter and mortality in the state and the regulations that followed. He denounced the research as a faulty reading of data.

UCLA retaliated against Enstrom after he “became an aggressive and lone critic at UCLA of air pollution research,” escalating in 2008 after he testified in California Senate hearings, according to a lawsuit filed by the center in 2012.

It accused the school of initiating “a series of actions designed to silence and ultimately terminate Dr. Enstrom.”

jamesenstrom.DailyBruinEnstrom exposed fraudulent behavior in the studies on which the board relied, including that of the lead author of a 2008 report. Hien Tran “admitted he purchased” a magna cum laude Ph.D. for $1,000 from a “diploma mill associated with a fugitive pedophile,” according to CalWatchdog.

It’s “the standard MO” of the regulatory board to use “unverified studies to gin up regulations” in the state, according to Lois Henry, a Bakersfield Californian columnist who covers California politics, in a column last month.

After blowing the whistle, Enstrom found his position’s funding cut, as detailed in a 2010 letter from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education to then-Chancellor Gene Block.

“Every day that the case continues is a deeper violation of academic freedom and freedom of speech and a more thorough chilling of faculty speech at UCLA,” FIRE said. The availability of an appeals and grievance process “does not absolve you or UCLA of the moral and legal responsibility to immediately reverse the decision not to rehire Enstrom.”

An April 2011 letter from the Academic Freedom Committee of the Academic Senate also sided with Enstrom, calling the school’s failure to reappoint him “a violation of academic freedom.”

In an email to The College Fix, Enstrom pointed to the importance of the Secret Science Reform Act, currently under consideration in Congress, which would require public disclosure of “materials, data and associated protocols” as well as “computer codes and models,” so that results can be understood and research replicated.

Speaking about the settlement, UCLA told The Daily Bruin that it did not target Enstrom for his political beliefs.

It said that “Enstrom’s presence as a researcher for decades, despite his minority positions defending diesel emissions and tobacco, demonstrates” that UCLA promotes academic diversity.

A spokesman told The Fix that UCLA settled the case because it would cost “far less than the legal costs of a trial.” Enstrom’s settlement includes “some other incidental campus services, such as eligibility for parking and email, associated with his retiree status.”

College Fix reporter Matt Lamb is a student at Loyola University-Chicago.

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It’s the Factual Feminist versus the fanatical feminists.

Dr. Christina Hoff Sommers’ talk at UCLA today is expected to be boycotted. She has been accused of supporting “misogynists” and spewing “hate speech” by a campus group called “Law Women of UCLA.”

The letter, written by the group’s public interest chair Lisa Smith, states in part that attending the talk would “lend credence” to Sommers’ views, and Smith urges others to boycott the event.

Smith is upset Sommers denied the existence of “rape culture” and described the discussion surrounding sexual assault on campus as hysterical, among other complaints.

Sommers, whose “Factual Feminist” YouTube videos are wildly popular, is a former philosophy professor and prolific author known for her critiques of feminism, including Who Stole Feminism: How Women Have Betrayed Women and The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men.

Sommers responded to the boycott on Twitter:

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