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Crusading for conservatism? 
20th-Jan-2006 05:30 pm
While I've been hearing about this story of some UCLA alum trying to get people to keep an eye on certain professors, I didn't really believe it. I mean, I did to some degree, but I figured it was some some flake with some crazy idea based on not getting along with his instructors. Then I read this article. Gotta say that I'm pretty disappointed with this Andrew Jones guy.

Now, don't get me wrong in the idea that this guy shouldn't be expressing his opinion of faculty that he believes are not doing a good job. I think it is the right of every student to express such concerns as sometimes teacher/instructors/professors can get WAY out of line in the views they express in class (I've seen it myself). However, Jones seems to be utilizing a bit of a smoke and mirrors trick in how he's expressing his opinion.

If you check out the sites Bruin Alumni Association and UCLA Profs.com (which Jones is connected to) you will see that he is very specific in how he talks about things and that there is a subtlety that I'm afraid many people might not pick up on. On either of those sites you can see writings and statements in how the groups wish to deal with the "most radical professors." There are even a few articles on the UCLA Profs site.

Taking just a few minutes to look through the page it's easy to see that there is a very strong conservative overtone. That's not a big thing, it's just a view. What I have issue with is the subtlety I mentioned earlier. As you look through either site you will see that the writers of the sites seem to constantly talk about the how under represented the conservative view (or Republican view depending on what you're reading) is as a counter to the "radical" professors. The subtlety in that? The "radicals" are those that are not conservative or Republican, hence liberal or Democrat. That's highly misleading. There is no evidence that having a larger conservative or Republican pool of instructors will decrease the number of "radical" professors. You can be a radical conservative or Republican, but the sites are doing their best to paint it as though those labels are the remedy to the "radical" professors.

A couple of articles even try to use numbers to "show" the bias. There is one HUGE problem with the articles and their "examination" of the numbers. There is no mention of who is applying and who is hiring. Now if the writers could find evidence and PROVE that only Democrats or self-proclaimed liberals were being hired, then I'd say they've got a good argument and they should get to the root of the problem. Of course, we don't know who APPLIES to teach at UCLA. If the list of applicants is predominantly registered Democrat or self-proclaimed liberal, then that isn't the fault of the school. Now, should they go out of their way to hire people who are Republican or conservative. That is debatable. It would be cool to have equality across the board on all levels, but hiring someone based on the idea that they're under represented would be affirmative action and it doesn't seem that Jones in big on that. Too bad.

So, once again we're faced with someone going out of their way to "investigate" individuals simply because he isn't happy with the political scene of where he is. Well, guess what. That is part of life. If he was that concerned with it then he probably shouldn't have gone to school there. If he wanted to go there to fight the good fight (so to speak) then great for him. However, I would encourage him to fight it intelligently and not simply based upon his own radical theories and beliefs.

I gotta say I'm really getting sick of all this "labeling" stuff. Sure, it makes life easier to some degree...but it seems more and more it just removes any responsibility people have to actually think and judge for themselves.
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