Thursday, January 19, 2006

Make $$ By Ratting Out a Prof

From the Los Angeles Times:

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.

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.

Jones’ group is following in the footsteps of various conservative groups that have taken steps, including monitoring professors, to counter what they regard as an overwhelming leftist tilt at elite colleges and universities around the country. He said many of these efforts, however, have done a poor job of documenting their claims. As a result, Jones said, the Bruin Alumni Assn. is offering to pay students for tapes and notes from classes.

Aside from the fact that such actions probably violate campus rules and raise copyright issues (professor’s lecture notes are covered by the Copyright laws), Mr. Jones is assuming that college students — most of whom are considered to be adults — are too stupid to know political opinion when they hear it and are too immature to be able to figure out what to do when they hear it. He’s also assuming that some opportunistic students won’t turn in a professor, regardless of what’s said in the classroom, for a quick score of a hundred bucks. (“Hey, free money!”)

Having been a college student for a total of eleven years, if I had a hundred dollars for every time one of my professors were “abusive, one-sided or off-topic,” I would never have had to get a job. (“You’ve never heard of Napoleon Bonaparte? GET OUT of my classroom!”) As for Mr. Jones assuming that some sort of harm comes from having a professor espouse a political belief in a classroom, he seems to have emerged from his undergraduate experience at UCLA with his tightie-rightie creds and closed mind intact, so he thinks he’s either smarter than the average Bruin or he’s just a money-grubbing opportunistic Republican who is cynical enough to think he can rip off the students while pretending to care about their tender little minds. You make the call.