Thursday, January 19, 2006

More on UCLA Profs / Bruin Alumni Association

Since this story is getting a lot of press nationally now, and I actually have first hand knowledge of the situation, I figured I'd add a little more on the situation. For the uninitiated, a small group of UCLA alumni have founded an organization devoted to "exposing" liberal faculty members. They report on the ones who are the "worst," and are offering money to students to give them notes from classes. The bottom line is that for the most part the organization is going to get nowhere. See, here's the thing. There are two basic possibilities when it comes to classes taught by "radical" professors. Either it's a basic course, or it's a course that's explicitly political. If it's the former, professors will keep politics out of the discussion to an extreme. Sometimes I think it's silly the way they try to avoid taking a stance. So for example, Professor Zasloff taught me torts. Great professor. Kept politics completely out of the discussion, and if anything was constantly playing devil's advocate against the way students thought. If a student takes notes on his lectures and gives it to those people, it's not going to produce anything, because he isn't spewing propaganda at every turn. He isn't at all, actually. The other type of class is explicitly political, like the Women and the Law class I'm taking with Professor Littleton right now. Another great professor. The course materials are quite explicitly political. It is a course on feminism. It is open in the sense that all views are welcome, but it is taught with an interest in women's issues that would be very hard to categorize as conservative. If you aren't interested in these topics, you aren't going to take the course. I'm pretty confident in saying no one would volunteer to give notes to these idiots even if they were paying $1,000 rather than $100. I know I wouldn't. So if there are potentially members of the class receptive to the Bruin Alumni Association point of view, it isn't going to be a class where those people get what they are looking for. And classes that would have overt political content are advertised as such, and I doubt anyone receptive to the Bruin Alumni Association would enroll in them. It's a dead-end, putting aside normative judgments.


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