you weren’t living in a cave in mid-January this
year, you probably caught one of the headlines.
“Rat Out a Rad Prof for $100,” bellowed the New
York Post. “Rightwing group offers
students $100 to spy on professors,” screamed the U.K. socialist rag The Guardian. Even the Los
Angeles Times, which had broken
the story, eventually carried a venomous Sunday feature op-ed
“Witch hunt at UCLA.” On this topic, at
least, observers from the left and the right had seemingly reached
the Bruin Alumni Association’s UCLAProfs.com website was a disgusting
piece of McCarthyism
richly deserving bipartisan condemnation.
But to paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, never have
so many people been
so misled by so many different media outlets.
witch hunt, by definition, is a pursuit of something that
does not exist. Radical professors, the
of the UCLAProfs.com website, are very much real. Indeed,
they constitute the greatest threat
to the university’s undergraduate education today.
At UCLA, biased professors and courses not
only abound, they are actually sheltered by an institutional culture
and often encourages such professional malfeasance.
I was subjected to any number of classes that typified
this ugly trend, the one I remember best is a 2002 political science
titled “Can Law Change Society?” a class taught by guest professor
Ripston, none other than the executive director of the powerful
California chapter of the ACLU.
hundreds of students in the hands of a full-time
political activist seemed an intuitively poor idea, an impression
Ripston’s classroom behavior. Rather
than providing a forum for studying a
wide range of topical issues, the class was solely a forum for airing Ramona Ripston’s views on the
issues. The verdict on every hot-button
covered in class hewed closely to the ACLU party line.
The result: students learned that abortion
was good, racial preferences were better, and the gay/lesbian radical
was next to godliness. By contrast,
racial profiling and the death penalty were portrayed as utterly
kept a steely death-grip on class lecture and
discussion. Dissenting opinions, sometimes
mine, were quickly dismissed or let to pass without comment, while
and even repeated ditto-istic comments from a Greek chorus of
students. In most classes, guest
lectures provide an opportunity to present countervailing views to the
students. Not so in Ripston’s class. While Ripston did indeed perform outreach to
assemble her slate of guest lecturers, the effort was literal: every
lecturer had passed within an arm’s length of Ripston’s desk at ACLU
result, we heard party-line lectures from such radical
eminences as Steven Rohde, the immediate past president of the ACLU-SC,
Matthews, an ACLU-SC gay/lesbian issues staff attorney, and Dan Tokaji,
then-ACLU-SC staff attorney. D-list
M*A*S*H* also-ran (and Ripston pal) Mike Farrell provided his hard-line
penalty perspective. And, for a capper,
we heard from Ripston’s husband (and Tokaji’s one-time boss), 9th
Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Steven Reinhardt, who argued that the
Rehnquist Court had turned America into a police state.
This predictable view was in no small part
animated by Reinhardt’s personal neuroses, given that the Rehnquist
reviews of his decisions had made Reinhardt one of the most-overturned
in the history of American jurisprudence.
Ripston, not to be outdone, poured her own vitriol
on the then-Chief
Justice, telling not once, not twice, but three times (until students
did repeat from memory) a venomous anecdote which falsely intimated
Rehnquist was a racist.
and her class were hardly an anomaly at UCLA. But
I was also confident that in this case
the bias was so obvious and extreme that UCLA would have no choice but
act. At the conclusion of the class, I
took my concerns to Political Science department chairman Michael
Lofchie. Placing a tape recorder between
us, I recited
a detailed litany of Ripston’s outrageous behavior, only to have
assure me, “a professor will sometimes say things to be provocative, to
students worked up,” and obstinately declare, “We would never monitor a
professor’s point of view in the classroom.”
Lofchie closed our fruitless discussion with a final
it was only because of UCLA’s inability to meet Ripston’s high salary,
because of her abusive behavior, that she would not be returning to
struck out badly with Lofchie, I tossed up a Hail
Mary pass with an appeal to UCLA’s highest authority, Chancellor Albert
Carnesale. I sent an email on August 19,
2002 directing Carnesale to my write-up on the class, and requesting a
to discuss the problems it highlighted.
What came shooting back that day was a
(superficially polite) middle
finger from the Chancellor, who tersely stated, “I regret that you have
been disappointed with UCLA; however…I do not find your approach to
be constructive. Accordingly, I do not
share your interest in the prospect of our meeting to discuss this
responses of both Carnesale and Lofchie were textbook
examples of UCLA’s closed-ranks reaction to any suggestion that its
education was anything but “excellent,” the hollow buzzword used
during the wildly successful Campaign
UCLA fundraising drive that eventually netted over $3 billion. Moreover, both of these high-ranking
administrators had failed in their more basic obligation to inform me
of my procedural
rights as a concerned student. It was
only much later that I learned I was entitled to assistance from the
Ombuds Office and the Academic Senate. But
in a way, perhaps the pair did me a favor.
Since like will always protect like, there was
little chance that
directing my complaints to bureaucratic entities would lead to any
changes. The massive organizational
of such ostensible defenders of student rights functions to protect all
most grossly misbehaving professors. Watching
the wrist-slaps meted out to outright charlatans like Ward Churchill
cynics might be excused for speculating whether anything short of
would qualify a university professor for termination.
generally, biased or unprofessional behavior falls
into two general categories. The first
and less common type of abuse is the introduction of unrelated
material to a given class. In the
archetypal example, a chemistry or English literature professor starts
class session with a political rant about the Congressional corruption
or the war
in Iraq. The second variety of biased
behavior is one of ideological imbalance, typified by Ripston’s class. As a political science course, it was right
and proper that we covered controversial ideological issues. The problem lay in the fact that Ripston
exclusively radical viewpoints on the various issues, without the
balance of any
responsible professor accepts that ideological balance
will at bare minimum require teaching students the two major opposing
an issue. A responsible professor also
understands the difference between major and minor viewpoints, and does
make the disingenuous argument that ideological balance requires
present every crackpot theory extant. In
turn, we student academic freedom proponents accept that ideological
an ideal measured by good faith efforts rather than a mathematical
50/50 split. In short, ideological balance
is the common-sense
expectation that in covering a given issue, a professor will at least
major pro- and con- arguments – a rather minimal standard that UCLA is
currently failing to meet.
that UCLA was unwilling to police itself, my thoughts
turned to addressing external pressure points that could result in the
university undertaking this much-needed reform.
In that vein, I couldn’t help but remember UCLA’s
roaring success in
pulling down alumni donations, typified by Campaign
UCLA’s $3 billion in fundraising. The
more I watched and learned, the more I became convinced that if UCLA
California taxpayers truly understood what was happening on campus –
complete and utter dominance of political extremism in the faculty,
administration, student body and academic institutions – a third to
half of them
would support our common-sense reform campaign.
The end result would be a campus environment
respectful of all
viewpoints and strongly aligned against indoctrination.
idea compelled me in January 2005 to single-handedly found
the Bruin Alumni Association, an IRS-recognized non-profit organization. Beginning daily operations in May of that
year, I rapidly assembled an Advisory Board boasting political and
standouts like Linda Chavez and Dr. Walter E. Williams, then spent
months consumed by the usual start-up concerns like clerical matters,
wasn’t until October, with a small amount of money in the
bank and a full Advisory Board in place, that I felt comfortable
first major project, the UCLAProfs.com website.
Simple in its conception and purpose, UCLAProfs.com
would offer full-length
profiles of politically extreme UCLA professors, with a particular
those whose politics had direct and indirect effects on students. By offering extensive portraits of multiple
UCLA professors, we could accomplish two objectives.
The first would be offering UCLA students
something akin to a Consumer Reports for
professors. In an increasingly
information-based world, it seemed odd that UCLA students were still
blind into most of their classes. UCLAProfs.com
seemed the ideal vehicle to correct this deficiency.
Using our profiles, a liberal student could happily
enroll with outspoken Political Science professors known for pushing
views. Conversely, a moderate student
wanting to hear all sides of an issue would have a good idea of whose
second, albeit ancillary benefit would lie in spreading
the word about UCLA’s professors to the wider world.
UCLA alumni and California taxpayers visiting
the site would get a full understanding of the increasingly extreme
affiliations and activism of the UCLA faculty, seeing, for example,
Marxists outnumber Republicans in most UCLA humanities and social
departments. In short, non-student
visitors would get a cold-shower understanding of what UCLA has become
exactly their alumni donations and tax dollars are funding at the most
prestigious public university on the West Coast.
experienced some difficulty in deciding who to profile simply
due to the sheer number of low-hanging radical fruit.
I started with a core group of professors
with extremely high political profiles.
These professors quickly led to dozens of other
extremist professors via
common membership in radical faculty groups or via signatures on
petitions. In the latter example, a
radical political petition inked by one professor typically bore the
of a dozen UCLA colleagues. Compiling
these names and petition subjects in a spreadsheet, I found that
had signed a half dozen or more political proclamations were almost
subjects for a profile.
actual research and writing process for the profiles was
also not perfectly scientific. Since the
write-ups were intended to give prospective students and interested
non-students an exhaustive view of the professor’s politics and
reviewed nearly every available Google result, along with the full
magazine and newspaper databases, supplemented in particular by the Daily Bruin online archives. The
result was research files that routinely ran
for dozens of pages, and profiles that in turn often totaled as much as
the exception of a few anecdotes from my personal classroom
experiences or my proprietary research, everything presented in the
public record. UCLAProfs.com’s critics,
mendacious as they were, never tried to claim that we had fabricated
facts. Though cloaked by a hundred
arguments, their actual resentment boiled down to their anger that a
and a largely critical one at that, had woven a hundred scattered
and actions into a full, and invariably unflattering, portrait.
little wonder that UCLA professors didn’t like hearing
the truth. Even I was shocked at what I
found. Famous Freirean (read Marxoid)
educational theorist Peter McLaren proudly notes, “Most of my doctoral
advisees are getting their Ph.Ds so that they can become professors and
transform teacher education institutions. They were radical teachers
social activists who now want to help to transform institutions of
Labor Center Director Kent Wong, who moonlights as a
professor in a number of extremist undergraduate majors, was close
for McLaren. A graduate of the National
Lawyers Guild radical training ground known as the “People’s College of
Wong is one of the new activist superstars of UCLA’s academic terra
firma. While Wong and his center’s
purpose is to “study” the labor movement, the Center in truth functions
nothing more than a taxpayer-funded factory churning out activists and
scholarship taking a hard-line pro-labor stance, just as its creators
in the California
its #2 ranking in the nation, or perhaps because of
it, the Graduate School of Education and Informational Studies boasts a
veritable covey of academic loons to accompany their top bird McLaren. Not least among these is Douglas Kellner, a
one-time University of Texas professor and Austin public access
fixture. Kellner believes with all
apparent seriousness in an extensive multi-generation Bush family/Nazi
connection (manifesting itself in spittle-flecked denunciations of a
Reich”) and argues in a recent book, “either the Bush administration
attacks were coming and exploited them to push through their rightwing
and foreign policy” or failed to detect and stop the attacks due to
of the typical anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-Republican
agenda common to dozens of UCLA’s radical professors, the site also
vicious anti-Israel anti-Semites like Gabriel Piterberg, Sondra Hale
and the fork-tongued
Saree Makdisi, who has stated publicly, “Israel is a fantasy of the
Jews.” More creative in his misbehavior
was (now conveniently
deposed) Academic Advancement Program Director Adolfo Bermeo, who was
an honorable resignation from his post in 2005.
This, despite a son who stole over $1 million in
antiques and collectibles while employed in the Special Collections
the UCLA Library, and despite his own behavior which included an affair
student enrolled in his class. Even
Albert Carnesale, whose circumspection is legendary, was forced to
himself, declaring that if Bermeo were a Dean rather than a tenured
he would have been “out of here” as soon as the affair was discovered. Carnesale also observed that, given the
female student’s tender age, Bermeo didn’t “miss statutory rape by that
weeks grew into months and the research and writing
process continued, my consideration turned to the number of profiles
appropriate for an initial site launch.
Ten or twenty profiles seemed clearly inadequate,
putting the entire
project in danger of dismissal as poison-pen cherry-picking. But it wasn’t until I hit on the catchy
phrase “The Dirty Thirty” (my title for the site’s satirical
of UCLA’s most radical professors) that I had an actual numerical goal.
last days of 2005, having completed thirty profiles
and (accidentally) one more, I set about assembling the actual website. Besides the profiles, which were the meat of
the site, I presented four initial studies focused on (in turn) UCLA
political donations, UCLA faculty political party registration, UCLA’s
anti-Semitism problem, and radical political petitions signed by UCLA
faculty. Each study confirmed that, more
UCLA is a one-party school.
arranging the profiles and articles on the new site, I
added one final sub-page. While not
exactly an afterthought, I also never anticipated that it would end up
main media focus for the entire project.
This single page, headlined “Help UCLAProfs and get
paid!” offered three
levels of compensation ($10, $50 and $100) to UCLA students interested
helping us collect evidence of abusive professors.
The offer, and thinking behind it, were quite
simple. We invited students unhappy with
their professor’s biased, unprofessional behavior to contact us. Then, provided the student’s documentation
from the first few sessions confirmed or strongly suggested that the
was engaged in either off-topic or one-sided teaching, we would sign a
contract with the student. In return,
the student would provide at quarter’s end full tape recordings of
session, companion notes highlighting audience questions and reactions,
copies of all professor-distributed materials.
To earn $50, a student would provide detailed notes
and materials but no
tape recordings, while a student would earn $10 for alerting us to an
or past class for which the student could offer written testimony about
abuse but, for various reasons, lacked proper notes.
nearly every aspect of the financial offer was
distorted by the media and our critics, they did manage to get one
the BAA’s primary interest, just as every headline suggested, was in
$100 for tape recordings. This interest
stemmed not from our supposed neo-McCarthyite intention to “smear”
professors or because the BAA was a collection of “Junior Brownshirts”
a “hit list.” Rather, our inspiration
for tape-recording professors was spawned from watching, for over half
decade, the student academic freedom movement spin its wheels when
prove charges of professorial malfeasance.
No matter how outrageous and well-documented the
against a professor, the matter invariably
descended into a he-said she-said standoff, the
student’s word against the
professor’s. Misbehaving professors
could, and always did, answer charges of political indoctrination by
the student of taking their words out of context, distorting the
their lectures, or most often, simply misquoting them.
In the end, what did a student have?
Notes scribbled on a paper; notes that,
unless the student was a trained stenographer, could very plausibly be
dismissed as inaccurate for any number of reasons.
Sentences, full ideas, and even entire
lectures hinge on single words, and what did the student have? Notes scribbled on a paper.
professors’ defense was, of course, almost always
rubbish. Students aren’t stupid. They typically remember a professor’s
comments vividly and with surprising accuracy.
But without reliable third-party evidence, students
and professors would
continue to vainly pelt each other with mud, getting dirtier with every
exchange. For this reason alone, tape
recordings should have been welcomed by both students and professors. Here was an evidence-collection process which
captures a professor’s every word perfectly.
Distortion, misquoting, or decontextualization
difficult, if not, for all practical purposes, impossible.
With tape-recording, students and professors would
no longer engage in pointless slap-fights, answering claims of
counter-claims of grade-based grudges.
If a professor compared Bush to Hitler, that would
be on the tape. If there was context for
the remark, that
would also be on the tape. And much like
Biblical axiom about truth, tape recordings would set innocent
the vociferous attack on the UCLAProfs.com website,
and in particular, our small financial token for cooperating students
put in an extraordinary effort on our behalf?
It was because biased, malfeasant professors liked the stalemate, liked the fact that in the end, it
their word against those of an accusing student. Taping
was dangerous precisely because it
would end all of that. If the student
academic freedom movement was not an utter sham, then we would finally
proof of pervasive bias and indoctrination.
Likewise, if UCLAProfs.com was pursuing phantoms or
was engaging in a
baseless “witch hunt” as a thousand Internet Einsteins claimed, then we
be driven from the field of public debate, tarred and feathered with
irrelevance and falsehood…if the tapes we would purchase would show no
approach offered vindication to the innocent and well-deserved
exposure and punishment for the guilty.
That no UCLA faculty members would accept this
righteous premise speaks
volumes about their fear of a future in which the entire world would
or read exactly what was being taught, and how, at UCLA.
Without putting too fine a point on it, radical
UCLA faculty knew that taping would be the end of them.
As a result, the agenda formed almost
instantly and spread with lightning speed: stop
the taping at all costs, and destroy the messenger.
not surprised that UCLA and its radical defenders
should attack me red of blood and black of passion.
The real shock was the cowardly betrayal I
suffered from a number of BAA Advisory Board members I considered my
allies. On January 15th, within
hours of my first interview with Stuart Silverstein of the Los
Angeles Times, whose article three days later would launch
UCLAProfs.com into national and then international prominence, I
resignations from UCLA emeriti professors and BAA Board members Stephan
Thernstrom and Jascha Kessler. Both
besides expressing a (to me bewildering) sense of disgust and revulsion
well-intentioned financial offer, accused me of imaginary sins. I had failed, Thernstrom and Kessler chided
me, to ask for the board’s advice on the financial offer to students. Problem was, I had very much advised the
board of the plan in a pre-launch email on January 8th, and
asked them for advice and help in promoting the site.
These two resignations, with their false
accusations that I had not even consulted the BAA board, were part of
story-breaking January 18th Times
article, and functioned as so much bloody chum to the
radicals desperately seeking
a weakness in our project. ‘Look,’ they
crowed triumphantly, ‘this Andrew Jones fellow is such a raving lunatic
even his Advisory Board won’t stick with him!’
time, it looked like the critics were right. Craven
conservatives resigned one by one,
each planting a knife in my back before exiting stage right. Jim Rogan was perhaps the toughest
resignation to swallow. While long ago
cast out of office and past his political prime, I was still an
had even helped his (failed) Congressional campaign in 2000 against
Schiff. But I quickly learned that,
while a Board member, a Bruin, and a lawyer, Jim Rogan was one thing
others: a cowardly, self-interested politician.
And like a politician, Rogan had a predetermined
limit of how much
political heat he was willing to take before getting out of the kitchen. It turned out that Rogan reached his limit
within a day of the Times story break,
resulting in a blistering Times article
on the 19th in which Rogan took what felt like every knife
block and methodically planted each of them in my back.
Rogan snarled that he didn’t need my “website
to learn there is an overabundance of liberal faculty” at elite
he already knew and acknowledged this as an inalterable and natural
affairs. What’s more, Rogan noted archly,
the dominance of radicals in the faculty of his alma maters UC Berkeley
“doesn’t seem to have hurt me.”
disgusting pair of lowest-common-denominator arguments could
have been cribbed from a posting at the ultra-radical DailyKos.com site. But coming as it did from the mouth of a
supposed conservative – one of the House managers of the Clinton
every news article breathlessly reminded readers – its effect was
deadly. But Rogan, a self-professed man
of “regulations and laws,” would have done well to stop for a second
realize that the gross political imbalance of UCLA’s faculty (the 24
to a single Republican in the Political Science department is one
not a naturally occurring phenomenon, and that just because he
didn’t dislike radical indoctrination
doesn’t invalidate the fact that it is still an injustice and one that
be resisted. Rogan’s smug, condescending
attitude, if applied to crime, would have us tell a mugging victim that
as his pistol-whipping wounds heal, his attacker won’t face
after all, the crime doesn’t seem to have hurt him permanently.
I would have had no problem had Rogan chosen to
depart quietly and privately as others did.
Conservatives can and do have respectful and
legitimate disagreements on
political strategy, tactics, public relations, and a hundred other
considerations. The real betrayal by Rogan and others was not their
but their vicious, self-interested denunciations on their way out the
things had become politically touchy because the
story narrative had been wholly consumed by lies. Radicals
and a keening UCLA faculty had
established the official story-line as one of “spying,” with the BAA
students to “rat out” their professors. But
the truth was on our side, if only the departing Board members had
cared to see
it and speak it. The argument was
simple: taping would definitively convict the guilty and spare the
innocent. In fact, had anyone kept a
level head and looked at the project with a modicum of emotional
they would have realized the taping effort was no more “spying” than is
motorcycle police officer using a radar gun to time vehicles traveling
street. Even law-abiding drivers may wish
that this practice weren’t necessary, but ultimately, if
you’re not breaking the law, you’re not going to get ticketed. So it was with our taping.
We could only expose an abusive professor if we had actual documentation of the
professor being abusive. That’s not
bribing, that’s not spying, that’s whistle blowing.
That our critics managed to change the public
understanding of the program from one of whistle blowing to one of
out” professors is a testament to their tenacity, though not their
is a belief in reality over appearances, in
fact over emotion. The fact that so many
BAA board members caved in to public perceptions and visceral emotion
led me to
seriously question their conservative credentials.
Al Rantel was the last but not the least
hyperbolic resignation that followed this line.
While claiming that there had been no change in his
“outlook or desire
to combat the institutionalized persecution of conservative students
beliefs by leftist university professors at UCLA and beyond,” Rantel
resignation to me through the media, informing the New
York Times of his decision many hours before bothering to email
me a statement. I had forced him
this decision, he insisted, because I “came up with the [payment] plan
[legally] vetted it later,” with the result, he claimed, that “the
discredited and tarnished.” I had “done
more harm to [my] organization and to the movement for academic freedom
any left wing professor could hope to do.”
quite a masterful sandbagging, but none of it was true.
From the moment I created and aired the
financial offer, legal precautions were foremost in my mind. That is why, on January 5th, before
launching the site, I consulted a preeminent 1st Amendment
the UCLA School of Law who confirmed exactly what my own research had
indicated: the financial offer was a clear-cut case of 1st
Amendment-protected newsgathering, with the students acting essentially
stringers, a common practice in the news media.
We had no plans to post full-length audio clips or
onto the site, nor did we plan on selling anything on the site. UCLA or an individual professor might have
had a justiciable complaint had we been a commercial, for-profit
had we taped private conversations in offices, or had the individuals
not been registered students in the class.
But none of those concerns applied.
Everything about UCLAProfs.com (run by a non-profit
less) fell solidly under the protections of the 1st
knowing we were on firm ground, I still took the
precaution of making a call to the Pacific Justice Institute within 48
the Wednesday story break, and received immediate assistance from their
talent, Chief Counsel Kevin Snider, who appraised the situation exactly
and the UCLA expert already had: we were very much on solid ground. Within the day, Snider sent a stiff reply to
Legal Counsel Patricia Snider’s legal nasty-gram, and wrote another
Board members explaining our legal defense and assuring them that PJI
standing by to answer any legal challenges.
As with the accusations of Thernstrom and Kessler,
recriminations simply don’t match facts.
What part of pre-launch consultation with a 1st
scholar, followed by the prompt enlistment of the PJI after the story
could be characterized as coming up with the plan and legally vetting
later? But I forget myself.
As with every other public board member
resignation, it was my supposed wrongdoing that had forced their
resignation – the
truth be damned.
response to our website and financial offer was (not
surprisingly) swift, well-coordinated, and like any political attack,
on winning, not respecting the truth. While
Chancellor Albert Carnesale cried crocodile tears of “anger and
and decried our “reprehensible” methods, UCLA’s legal pit bull Patricia
led a more substantive charge. Jasper
tirelessly to media sources far and wide (including the all-important Daily Bruin) that any student found to
be working with our organization faced severe punishment, up to and
expulsion. From a legal perspective, a
number of shaky state laws and campus student regulations apparently
at least an opening to persecute cooperating students.
But UCLA might have benefited from
remembering that just because you can
do something doesn’t mean you should.
Because while Jasper and Co. were working ardently
to stifle any criticism of its poor, beleaguered professors, they were
and outright threatening a far more vulnerable campus constituency:
beset by radical professors refusing to cover both sides of
issues, or introducing them when not pertinent to the class topic.
legal defense was clear and undeniable. Provided
we could receive a fair hearing, we would
have ultimately been vindicated. But
being in the right and proving it are two different things. To even pursue a lawsuit against UCLA
required a plaintiff with standing, which in this case meant a UCLA
had worked with us, announced this publicly, and had been punished by
university. Only once we had such a martyr
in place could we then begin an expensive and time-consuming
process sailing into what a number of legal experts saw as largely
precedent-setting territory. In truth, few
if any students want to be the next Alan Bakke.
Even I (had I still been a student) would almost
certainly have declined
to make such a sacrifice – expulsion from UCLA, my life turned upside
years, the media poking and prying into every crevice – merely to
right to tape-record an abusive professor’s lecture.
UCLA realized its advantage and pressed it
home: no student was sufficiently interested in exposing an abusive
it risked inviting such agony.
to UCLA’s ferocious legal attack, students who had
sent me early initial feelers simply disappeared, while new leads and
up altogether. That is not to say that I
stopped receiving tips or stories altogether, rather, they now came by
dozen from folks like me – UCLA graduates with incredibly horror
were no longer subject to administrative persecution.
Meanwhile, UCLA’s lies and slander continued
to belch forth from the campus newspaper and from administration
like UCLA Today and the UCLA Alumni
Association website. Not only were we
encouraging students to break sacred campus regulations, Patricia
we in fact had no right to even use “UCLA” in our “UCLAProfs.com”
name. As Jasper told it, the situation
was clear cut, and we were in the wrong.
But, as Jasper conceded in a Daily
Bruin article, UCLA wasn’t planning on taking legal action on the
situation, choosing rather to “keep [its] options
open.” The reason legal action did not
come then, has not in the intervening
four months, and never will, is because (as any visitor to
WalMartMovie.com or a
similarly critical site will see), it is entirely legal to use a
term in a domain name provided the site is informational,
clearly states that it is not affiliated with the criticized entity. Jasper knew this quite well, but, ever the pit
bull, she didn’t hesitate to smear us shamelessly with the innuendo
were doing wrong.
January 23rd, after extensive consultation
with the BAA Board and other informal advisors, I brought the
story in large part to an end by withdrawing the financial offer. But while we no longer offered the small
financial incentive (which was never the point), we maintained our
to consulting with students and providing them assistance in
publicizing and confronting abusive professors.
In truth, the decision was not difficult to make. I was reluctant to expose students already
beset by radical professors and an administration in complete denial to
horror of a kangaroo court session with the justifiably notorious
Office. I could also see that UCLA’s
but all-too credible threats had very effectively poisoned the well of
willingness to participate. Yet while I
had seemingly been outmaneuvered by UCLA, the withdrawal was hardly a
wider view, UCLAProfs.com was an utter triumph. Without
paying out a dime for publicity or
advertising, I forced UCLA to address my
agenda: student academic freedom and the university’s pervasive problem
professorial indoctrination. Some 500
media outlets across the country and around the globe had covered the
me a gold-plated Rolodex for future exposes, while driving over 80,000
to the website in a matter of weeks. The
global attention had yielded dozens of useful tips, hundreds of new
donors, thousands of colorful hate emails, and most encouraging of all,
of alumni from other schools expressing interest in founding similar
their own alma mater. At the end of the
longest week of my life, I could finally take a deep breath and smile. If this was defeat, I’d be hoping to suffer
more of the same very soon.