Not sure I feel about this:
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.
Some of the instructors mentioned accuse the association of conducting a witch hunt that threatens to harm the teaching atmosphere, and at least one of the group’s advisory board members has resigned because he considers the bounty offers inappropriate. The university said it will warn the association that selling copies of professors’ lectures would violate campus rules and raise copyright issues.
The Bruin Alumni Assn. is headed by Andrew Jones, a 24-year-old who graduated in June 2003 and was chairman of UCLA’s Bruin Republicans student group. He said his organization, which is registered with the state as a nonprofit, does not charge dues and has no official members, but has raised a total of $22,000 from 100 donors. Jones said the biggest contribution to the group, $5,000, came from a foundation endowed by Arthur N. Rupe, 88, a Santa Barbara resident and former Los Angeles record producer.
I don’t have a problem with identifying and criticizing those who use their lectern as an opportunity to berate, belittle, or otherwise abuse students. I don’t really have a problem with accountability and having outside groups look into whether or not professors are abusing their positions. But what I do fear are the kinds of kids who are going to keep Andrew Jones and his group in business. They are the kid who sat in every class with you and loudly and annoyingly recited something he heard on Rush Limbaugh, thinking this showed the professor was a left-wing crank. This is, I am betting, the kid who screamed bias because the teacher seemed to spend more time looking to the left side of the class than the right, or the kid who saw bias because the professor refused to call 1992-2000 the “Dark Years.”
In other words, while I have no problem with an honest acounting of what professors are doing, and I have no doubt that there are, by any standard, some radicals at UCLA, I am afraid a bunch of little David Horowitz’s are not the folks I want rooting them out. And if I am wrong about Andrew Jones and his group, my apologies. But I know how these things work, and in order to get funding from the ‘right’ groups, they are going to have to try to ruin some good people in the process by making charges that are unfair or dishonest.