UCLA

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.CACforum

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.

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(This post has been UPDATED. See below.)

After the imbroglio surrounding Duke University’s decision to allow, and then not allow, a weekly call to Muslim prayer from the Duke Chapel bell tower, there were claims that this had also been going on for some time at UCLA. However, the school refutes that assertion. (See UPDATE below.)

Christian News.net notes the video below takes place at “the north side of the [UCLA] campus near the athletic field off Sunset Boulevard.”

And, “while the audio is faint, Arabic-style chanting can be heard in the footage as students gathered on the lawn.”

Unlike Duke, UCLA is a public institution. Stay tuned.

Read the full article.

h/t to WND.

UPDATE: The Washington Times reports that the UCLA call to prayer was “a one-time event conducted by students hosting a weekend conference.”

[UCLA] spokesman Phil Hampton said students issued the call to prayer during a student conference last weekend sponsored by the Muslim Students Association.

“The call to prayer was played over a portable device in a campus quad during a conference last weekend hosted by the Muslim Student Association, one of nearly 1,000 registered student groups on campus,” Mr. Hampton said in a statement.

“While UCLA respects freedom of religion and assembly and values the diversity of students’ beliefs, a public call to prayer is not a regularly scheduled occurrence at UCLA,” he said.

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LOS ANGELES – “Foster diversity – don’t force divides!”

That was one of several mantras 19-year-old UCLA sophomore Olivia McCoy called out as she stood atop a concrete platform in the center of campus Wednesday afternoon.

Carrying a sign that said “#LetUsChoose” in bold, blue letters, the political science major had a few other expressions she’d throw out as she demonstrated along the campus’ free speech corridor, where thousands of students traverse between classes.

“Support academic freedom,” McCoy declared with confidence to passersby. “Let us choose.”

McCoy was joined by several other members of the Bruin Republicans as they shared their message with peers that the effort among some faculty to mandate students take some sort of diversity course as a graduation requirement is not supported by all students.

“We are saying let us choose the classes we are going to take,” McCoy said. “It’s our money, it’s our choice.” ucla2

The diversity requirement is a hotly contested and controversial issue on campus.

Faculty within the College of Letters and Science have twice voted on whether to create such a mandate in recent years, but the votes failed to gain a majority of support. Then last fall – after some students demonstrated in support of the effort – it finally passed with a narrow margin.

Many expected the new mandate to be rubberstamped into approval, but a group of 61 professors late last year petitioned to have all educators on campus vote on it.

A dueling petition has attempted to block that request, but the issue may be voted on campuswide in late February.

With that, the Bruin Republicans said they wanted to send a message that not all students support the idea.

“We are the first group on campus to come out and take a stand against this,” said biology major William Chakar, 21, past chair of the group. “Diversity is not a bad thing. As college Republicans, we are one of the most diverse groups on campus. But these classes go against diversity and try to instill a viewpoint.”

Students gathered for the demonstration held signs with slogans such as “academic freedom matters” and “stop coercion in the classroom.” They circulated a petition and collected some signatures. Several protesters handed out fliers to students walking by which stated “Say NO to the diversity requirement – #LetUsChoose.”

“While we do support diversity, we don’t think it should be forced,” said sophomore Alex Rhim, 19, a political science major. “They can take these classes anyway.”

The flier handed to students stated in part that the diversity requirement “institutionalizes racial, ethnic and religious divides within the community. … The diversity requirement forces students to take a class where you could be subject to ridicule for your religious beliefs, ethnic background or sexual orientation. The diversity requirement requires more of your tutition dollars to be spent irresponsibly.”

Several other conservative campus groups set up shop to add their support to the protest, including TurningPoint USA and the California Freedom Project, the latter of which supports free market causes.

“This is our money, this is our tuition,” said freshman Drake Everlove, 18, of the freedom project. “Personally I am in a lot of debt and a lot of other students are in debt. I am already feeling it in my bank account and (UC leader) Janet Napolitano recently approved a tuition increase. It’s just more and more they are piling on.”

Reaction to the protest was mixed. While the Bruin Republicans did gain some support, there were several naysayers as well. The demonstrators got a few sideways glances. One student called out “do the research before you sign it.” Other students threw the fliers away in the trash.

Demonstrator Andrea Swanson, 20, even had a physical altercation with a female student who had taken one of the fliers.

“She said, ‘Well we are forced to take white classes,’ and crumpled it up and threw it at me,” Swanson said, adding she was not too concerned about the incident. “She was aiming for my face but I sort of moved.”

“We are trying to just get people to be informed,” Swanson added. “It’s not a racial issue.”

As part of their effort, members of the Bruin Republicans also emailed hundreds of faculty members outside the College of Letters and Science to voice their concerns. Professors from the medical, dental and engineering schools, for example.

Feedback from those emails have also been mixed, with some faculty supportive and others not so much, Bruin Republican members said.

But, they added they are glad to be taking a stand.

“When you are on a college campus, you want to feel like you are making a difference,” McCoy said. “We are taking traditional liberal tactics and using them for conservative beliefs.”

Jennifer Kabbany is editor of The College Fix (@JenniferKabbany)

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IMAGES: Jennifer Kabbany for The College Fix

Students will suffer under another graduation burden, opponents say 

UCLA’s planned “diversity requirement” only cleared a close faculty vote because self-interested professors submitted their own courses to be considered for the requirement, an opposing professor told The College Fix.

Approved in a 332-303 vote of College of Letters & Science faculty in October and then backed by the Legislative Assembly, the requirement will now be voted on by around 3,600 Academic Senate members, following a petition by a dissenting group of 59 professors and administrators, the Daily Bruin reported.

The bylaws of the Academic Senate state that members can ask for a revote that includes all faculty, regardless of college. Letters & Science enrolls about 85 percent of undergraduates, Belinda Tucker, who helped develop the proposal as vice provost of the Institute of American Cultures, told The Fix in an email.

Freshmen entering that college next fall, and transfer students in 2017, would have to take a diversity-related class in order to graduate if the proposal passes muster again.

The turnaround throws a wrench in the plans of administrators who had expected this winter quarter to be “vetting syllabi for classes that could fulfill” the requirement, not lobbying faculty for another vote, the Daily said.

“Every other campus in the University of California system” except for the new Merced campus “has had a diversity requirement (most for many years),” Tucker told The Fix.

There’s a “very sophisticated and robust body of research” showing that diversity requirements help students “work cooperatively with diverse people … negotiate controversial issues” and give them “greater tolerance,” among other skills, Tucker said. “The experience has been positive” since UCLA’s School of Arts & Architecture instituted a diversity requirement in 2008, she added.

Academic Affairs Commissioner Allyson Bach in the student government told the Daily that it didn’t make sense to have all professors vote on a proposal only affecting one college’s students.

University-wide support closer to 40 percent?

The initial College of Letters & Science vote was just “an advisory straw poll” with no power to impose graduation requirements, but it was still “stacked,” a veteran professor in the college who opposes the diversity requirement told The Fix.

That’s because it included the “presumed” favorable votes of about 150 faculty in the college “who have actually submitted their own course” for the requirement, a conflict of interest, the professor said: “When you put yourself on the ballot, who is not going to be sure to vote for himself?”

Teaching a course that counts toward a graduation requirement is a good way for professors to protect their enrollment numbers and enhance their prestige, the critical professor said. Without those 150 presumed yes votes, the margin becomes 60 percent against, the professor said: That’s a “closer approximation” of how the larger Academic Senate vote will likely turn out.

In a letter to their colleagues opposing the diversity requirement before the initial vote, a handful of Letters & Science professors said the vote organizers hid the opposition arguments on a “password-protected page that very few voters will see.”

Diversity Requirement Letter by scprweb

The requirement would impose large burdens on students “already struggling to graduate on time,” the professors wrote in the letter. Using the Implementation Committee’s own estimates, they said the school won’t have enough qualifying courses to meet student demand for the diversity requirement: There will be a “deficit” of 2,000 to 3,000 students between new undergrads and the number of undergrads completing the requirement.

Noting that Letters & Science faculty turned down a similar proposal two years ago, the professors wrote that the only “new non-academic development” has been the so-called Moreno report, an external review that reviewed bias and discrimination on campus. That report, however, didn’t recommend a diversity requirement and said faculty and staff – not students – were the main “perpetrators of the more egregious offenses.”

Sensing an opportunity, some student groups plan to lobby against the requirement.

“The Bruin Republicans at UCLA will come out in full force next quarter to oppose adding such a requirement that forces more politically biased indoctrination on students who are already enduring a rigorous academic schedule,” Bruin Republicans President Ryan Jones told The Fix in a statement. The club will hold rallies against the requirement and send representatives to speak to voting professors, he added.

The vote is scheduled to take place online in late February and early March.

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

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Arrested this spring on sexual-battery and false-imprisonment charges, a former student government official at UCLA is back on the streets less than halfway through his sentence.

The Daily Bruin reports that Omar Arce, the Community Service commissioner for the Undergraduate Students Association Council last year, was released Tuesday after 77 days in county jail.

He pleaded no contest in October under a plea deal, the Daily previously reported:

In April, Arce pleaded not guilty to three counts of sexual battery, one count of battery and one count of false imprisonment, which could have resulted in a maximum sentence of four and a half years behind bars. He faced an additional four counts of sexual battery and three counts of battery on Tuesday because two other women have since come forward as victims of battery, [Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner Alan] Rubin said.

Arce’s sexual batteries against the first accuser allegedly took place between October 2013 and March this year. With the added charges, he could have gone to prison for 8 years.

As a condition of his early release – due to overcrowding in the jail – Arce must stay away from UCLA until October 2015 and abstain from alcohol among other rules. If he violates probation, which runs until October 2018, he’ll go back to jail for a year and have to register as a sex offender.

The prosecution only sought a 180-day sentence “because it thought that number fit the crime,” the prosecuting attorney told the Daily.

Arce appears to have dodged another bullet: The Daily said in October that because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, he could face deportation “or other consequences concerning his immigration status,” which now appear to be off the table.

Read the Daily story.

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Professor Robert Goldstein of UCLA asked the following question on an exam: “[As] a recent hire in the office, you are asked to write a memo discussing the relevant First Amendment issues in such a prosecution. Write the memo.”

The scenario: Michael Brown’s stepfather, Louis Head, had shouted “Burn this bitch down!” after the Ferguson grand jury decided not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the killing of his stepson. Should prosecutors seek an indictment against Mr. Head for inciting violence?

As you might imagine with our ever-increasing hypersensitive society, Prof. Goldstein got some heat for the question.

Fox News reports:

But students complained, and writer Elie Mystal at the popular legal blog “Above the Law” opined that the test question was “racially insensitive and divisive.” Mystal also incorrectly alleged that the question asked students to “advocate in favor of extremist racists in Ferguson.”

Goldstein has apologized for putting the question on the test and has promised not to grade the question.

“I clearly underestimated and misjudged the impact of this question on you. I realize now that it was so fraught as to have made this an unnecessarily difficult question to respond to at this time. I am sorry for this,” he wrote in an email to his students that a UCLA spokeswoman forwarded to FoxNews.com.

He defended his intentions in posing the question, making reference to both the Ferguson incident and a New York grand jury’s decision not to indict another police officer on the death of an unarmed man placed in a chokehold.

“As with many of my exams in this upper-level elective class, questions may be drawn from current legal issues in the news or from recent court reports. This helps make the exam educational and relevant,” he wrote in his email to students.

Some fellow law profs thought Goldstein had nothing for which to apologize as the test question was very straightforward:

“If there are some law students who are such delicate flowers that merely being asked to assess whether certain controversial speech that’s been in the news is constitutionally protected, in a class covering the First Amendment of all things, then maybe they should find another profession,” David Bernstein, a law professor at George Mason University School of Law, told FoxNews.com.

He also noted that tossing out the question after-the-fact on a final exam was unfair to any students who might have spent a lot of time answering the question.

“The actual outrage is wildly misplaced,” Bernstein added. (Professor Bernstein is a contributor to the popular law blog The Volokh Conspiracy.)

Professor Glenn Reynolds (to whom the hat tip for this story goes) adds, “Grow up. It’s already hard enough to get a job in law without gaining a reputation for being hothouse flowers with pre-chipped shoulders.”

Read the full Fox News article.

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