UCLA alumni group targets 'radical' professors

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A UCLA alumni group is offering students up to $100 per class to supply tapes and notes exposing professors who allegedly express extreme left-wing political views at the University of California, Los Angeles.

One of the professors calls it McCarthyism.

The year-old Bruin Alumni Association says it is concerned about professors who use lecture time to press positions against President Bush, the military and multinational corporations, among other things. Its Web site has a list of what it calls the college's 30 "most radical professors."

"We're just trying to get people back on a professional level of things," said the group's president and founder, Andrew Jones, a 2003 UCLA graduate and former chairman of the student Bruin Republicans.

Some of those targeted say it's a witch-hunt reminiscent of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-communism crusade in the 1950s.

"Any sober, concerned citizen would look at this and see right through it as a reactionary form of McCarthyism," said education professor Peter McLaren, one of those cited by the association. "Any decent American is going to see through this kind of right-wing propaganda. I just find it has no credibility."

The association's action led to the resignation of at least one of its 20-plus advisory board members.

"That just seems to me way too intrusive," said Harvard historian Stephan Thernstrom, an affirmative action opponent and former UCLA professor. "It seems to me a kind of vigilantism that I very much object to."

UCLA officials said they will warn the association that selling copies of professors' lectures would violate campus rules and raise copyright issues.

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Richard Bartholomew - 1/18/2006

These groups are unpleasant, but the response is a bit lame. Surely, it would be far better to say: "I never say or write anything that I can't defend. If you wingnuts want to spend your time giving me and my views extra free publicity, that's fine by me. Bring it on."

John Allan Wilson - 1/18/2006

It isn't Mcarthyism if it's true. I prefer to think of the effort as a First Amendment right for the right.