Sunday, May 27, 2012

Yesterday’s Letter to the Editor by the Chancellor and Senate Chair: What’s It All About?

Some blog readers may have seen a letter to the editor in the LA Times by Chancellor Gene Block and Senate Chair Andrew Leuchter which responded to an earlier op ed in the Times by John M. Ellis and Charles L. Geshekter of a group called the National Assn. of Scholars and its California branch.  Yours truly suspects that many blog readers did not peruse the letters section of the Times this holiday weekend so here is a summary and explainer.  The op ed was based on a larger document published by that group and sent to the Regents.  It accuses UC faculty of liberal bias and of indoctrination of students in various courses.  If you didn’t see it, the Block-Leucther letter (along with other letters to the editor on the same topic) appears at:

Excerpt: …UCLA, like our sister campuses, welcomes and embraces all points of view. Though we agree that faculty should not inject political views into the classroom, Ellis and Geshekter have merely strung together anecdotes from handpicked courses across our system to try to prove a crisis. The plural of "anecdote" is not "data," however, and they cite no meaningful evidence. In fact, credible studies have shown that left leanings are typical of young Americans, and college does not make them any more liberal…

The earlier (May 20) op ed is at:

Excerpt: …In California, the state Constitution contains this unambiguous statement: "The university shall be entirely independent of all political or sectarian influence and kept free therefrom." Yet despite that, a bias to the left is now accepted as a routine part of a University of California education. That's the finding of a recent study by our organization, the California Assn. of Scholars...

The study to which the excerpt refers is at:

Excerpt: …This report is concerned with the corruption of the University of California by activist politics, a condition which, as we shall show, sharply lowers the quality of academic teaching, analysis, and research, and results in exactly the troubling deficiencies that are being found in the studies to which we have referred...

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