ANALYSIS: McCarthyism against independent-minded professors is new modern-day witch hunt.
When 46 professors at UCLA took a brave stand against their peers – signing their name to a petition asking that a diversity requirement approved by a portion of scholars instead be voted on by all faculty on campus – it was a huge risk.
Signing their name to the list meant they were aligning themselves with a small cadre of concerned conservative professors on campus who questioned the need for such a blatantly biased, self-serving academic mandate.
The brave signers were assured the petition – which has since effectively forced the matter to a campuswide vote next month – would be confidential.
But now their names have been exposed to the campus community with the help of left-leaning students who published the petition signers’ names via a hyperlink on the Daily Bruin as well as on a Facebook event page touting a student government-led “Cultural Crisis Forum.” That forum, held Wednesday, was convened specifically to discuss issues surrounding students and faculty who question or oppose the diversity requirement.
It’s an ironic twist of fate that the left is now using McCarthyism for its own intimidation tactics.
Recall Joseph McCarthy’s infamous declaration in 1950 that: “I have here in my hand a list of 205—a list of names that were made known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping policy in the State Department.”
Today, professors suspected of being a conservative or a conservative-sympathizer are the victims of the new Red Scare.
The petition the professors signed had simply asked for the academic senate to conduct a full faculty vote on the requirement. It did not explicitly state signers were against the requirement, only that “we, the undersigned members of the UCLA faculty, hereby request that the Nov. 20 legislative vote on the adoption of an undergraduate diversity graduation requirement be submitted to the entire senate membership by an electronic online ballot, following the procedures described in UCLA Senate bylaw #155, section 2, chapter V.”
According to a professor close to the subject who asked to remain unnamed, many of the professors signed the petition on the condition of anonymity. It is unclear who leaked this list to the group of progressive students who control the student government.
The link to the list of professor names on the “Cultural Crisis” Facebook event page described the signers as scholars who dissent from the diversity requirement. There appears to be no purpose for linking to the document other than to publicize and demonize the listed professors.
What’s more, a notoriously left-leaning columnist for The Daily Bruin hyperlinked to the professors’ petition in a recent column that also ridiculed and mocked a recent Bruin Republicans protest against the diversity requirement. During the four-hour event, members of the club vocalized their concern for the proposal, saying they believe it reduces academic freedom and funnels students into politically biased courses.
But the column derided the protest as having few participants and little support, and that UCLA should get with the program since the majority of campuses in the UC system have similar mandates.
The UCLA student government’s hastily convened “Cultural Crisis Forum” bemoaned the conservative students’ efforts under the auspices of productive dialogue. (It’s still unclear why a Bruin Republican protest that supposedly had few participants and little support prompted such an emergency session.)
The forum was one of the first major undertakings of the fledgling UCLA “Cultural Crisis Response Team,” developed last fall by members of the student government and designed “to be a resource to students who feel they have experienced challenges as a result of their cultural identities,” according to the Daily Bruin.
During the forum, those in attendance argued passing the diversity requirement would open doors to dialogue and help those afraid to walk around campus feel safer.
When it was brought up that, by definition, the requirement would force students to take certain classes, a proponent countered that they preferred not to use “force,” as it has a negative connotation.
Olivia McCoy, a student who protested the requirement and attended the forum, said it remained respectful in tone, and opinions for and against the requirement were heard. No resolution was reached, however.
The speculative date of the faculty-wide vote on the requirement is Feb. 25. Debate surrounding the requirement is expected to continue throughout the UCLA campus until then.
College Fix contributor Jacob Kohlhepp is a student at UCLA and vice president of the Bruin Republicans.