Anjalika / Rene — Two notes on the state of American Academia

Topic(s): Academic Freedom? | Comments Off on Anjalika / Rene — Two notes on the state of American Academia

Two notes on the state of American Academia
1. A Student’s Guide to Hosting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week October 22-26,
2. Furor disrupts plans for UCI school of law (from LA Times)
quite bizarre I think .. -as
A Student’s Guide to Hosting Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week October 22-26,
During the week of October 22-26, 2007, the nation will be rocked by the
biggest conservative campus protest ever – Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, a
wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.
The purpose of this protest is as simple as it is crucial: to confront the
two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on
terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the
terrorist threat. Nothing could be more politically incorrect than to point
this out. But nothing could be more important for American students to hear.
In the face of the greatest danger Americans have ever confronted, the
academic left has mobilized to create sympathy for the enemy and to fight
anyone who rallies Americans to defend themselves. According to the academic
left, anyone who links Islamic radicalism to the war on terror is an
“Islamophobe.” According to the academic left, the Islamo-fascists hate us
not because we are tolerant and free, but because we are “oppressors.”
Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week is a national effort to oppose these lies and
to rally American students to defend their country.
Download Complete Guide:
http://www.terrorismawareness.org/islamo-fascism/49/a-students- guide-to/
Schools to date at which the David Horowitz Freedom Center will be
organizing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Weeks Penn State Temple University Pace
University Arizona State University UC Berkeley George Mason University
Columbia University Emory University Georgia Tech University UCLA Dartmouth
University University of Rhode Island American University Northeastern
University Columbus State Community College Depaul University Bates College
University of Miami University of Michigan – Ann Arbor University of New
Haven George Washington University University of Virginia USC Harvard
University Yale University Cornell University Princeton University
University of Pennsylvania Brown University Georgetown University Stanford
University University of Washington Ohio State University Purdue University
Notre Dame University University of Michigan – Dearborn Wellesley University
of Pittsburgh Dennison Cal State Northridge Duke University University of
Colorado, Boulder Santa Ana College Regent University Bradley University
Drury University Washington University in St. Louis Indiana State University
SUNY New Paltz University of Texas, Austin Unity College Roger Williams
University Lawrence University University of Delaware Loras College The
College of New Jersey University of Maryland, Baltimore County Broward
Community College Hampden-Sydney College University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign King’s College Bloomsburg University UNC Chapel Hill UC
Irvine University of Arizona Florida State University BYU – Idaho Liberty
University Clemson University University of Maine – Farmington University of
South Florida Sarasota-Manatee University of Alabama Saint Francis
University Ohio State University Drexel University Dickinson College Messiah
College Western New Mexico University of Toledo Furman University UNC
Greensboro Franciscan University of Steubenville UNC Charlotte Rice
University Hillsdale College Evangel University Northern Arizona University
UNC Wilmington Saint Anselm College North Carolina State Huntington
University Boise State University University of Wisconsin – La Crosse Kansas
Wesleyan Minneapolis Community and Technical College Hanover College
University of Iowa University of Texas – San Antonio Williams College Texas
A&M Palomar College Trinity University Brooklyn College East Tennessee State
University Skyline College Tulane Univer
2. Furor disrupts plans for UCI school of law
The decision to drop Erwin Chemerinsky as dean could delay the 2009 opening.
By Garrett Therolf, Rebecca Trounson and Richard C. Paddock
Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
September 14, 2007
For decades, UC Irvine has aspired to open Orange County’s first
top-flight law school, declaring it to be the university’s glaring
“missing piece.”
The effort was thrown into turmoil after UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake
abruptly dropped respected liberal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as the
school’s first dean. Drake said he had lost confidence in the educator, in
part, because of Chemerinsky’s recent opinion articles that made him a
“lightning rod,” including a scathing rebuke of U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto R.
The action ignited a debate about academic freedom and political meddling
that only grew more fierce Thursday, with some faculty members calling for
Drake’s resignation after a hastily scheduled meeting of the university’s
academic senate on Thursday afternoon.
Officials said the turnaround on Chemerinsky could delay the opening of
the law school — scheduled for 2009 — and so tarnish the institution
that it would be difficult to assemble the scholars and staff needed to
establish the school as one of the nation’s best — UCI’s long-cherished
On Thursday, an open letter gathered 181 signatures in the first six hours
it was posted on a website for students, faculty and staff. In part it
said: “We are disturbed because of the deep violation both of the
integrity of the university and of the intrusion of outrageously one-sided
politics and unacceptable ideological considerations.”
Social sciences professor Frank D. Bean said: “If it’s a matter of outside
pressure, the chancellor should have stood up to that. If it’s a matter of
concerns over Chemerinsky, why wasn’t due diligence done? There are no
scenarios that one can construct that are acceptable. Rarely are things so
clear cut.”
By the end of the day, Drake faced hundreds of faculty members at the
senate meeting, and he struggled to squelch criticism.
The chancellor, speaking tentatively and choosing his words carefully,
offered no additional detail on what led him to reverse his decision on
Chemerinsky. He told the crowd, however, “My decision not to hire
professor Chemerinsky had nothing to do with academic freedom or the
infringement of academic freedom in any way.”
Mark Warschauer, a professor of education, left the meeting saying he
didn’t think Drake’s appearance would put the issue to rest. “I don’t
think this satisfies,” he said.
Jutta Heckhausen, secretary of the academic senate, said the faculty panel
would probably meet behind closed doors next week and might consider
making a formal statement against the chancellor.
In the meantime, officials leading the launch of the law school said the
decision makes it likely the school will not be ready to accept its first
class as scheduled in 2009.
In order to meet the target, plans called for a dean to be in place this
fall and for six to eight senior faculty members to then be hired this
academic year. The search for Chemerinsky took nine months before a formal
agreement was reached, and search committee members said they would now
probably start again from scratch.
“We had three other finalists, and one of them would have definitely done
it a week ago,” said psychology professor Elizabeth F. Loftus, a member of
the committee. “If you asked them today, I don’t know. I don’t think the
law school will be derailed, but who knows what’s going to happen next?”
Although Drake has denied that he took action under pressure from
conservatives, Loftus said Thursday that the chancellor told the committee
during an emergency meeting Wednesday night that he was forced to make the
decision by outside forces whom he did not name. A second member of the
committee confirmed Loftus’ account to The Times but asked to remain
“I asked whether it was one or two voices or an avalanche, and the answer
is that it was an avalanche,” Loftus said. “But we are not supposed to
capitulate to that in the world of academic freedom.”
Chemerinsky said that in their final conversation Tuesday morning, Drake
told him significant opposition to his hiring had developed but did not
specify who the critics were.
“We just agreed that in the public statement, we’d say that I had proven
too politically controversial,” said Chemerinsky, now of Duke University
and formerly of USC.
Drake told him that the appointment would prompt “a bloody fight” within
the UC Board of Regents and that “if we won, it would damage the law
school,” Chemerinsky said. “. . . He said, ‘I knew you were liberal, but I
didn’t realize how controversial you’d be.’ He said, ‘I didn’t realize
there would be conservatives out to get you.’ ”
Chemerinsky said that when he was interviewed by Drake in June, the two
men discussed how an administrator or dean needs to be careful about
public statements and the potential effect of those statements on the
institution he or she leads. But Chemerinsky said Drake never told him he
couldn’t write opinion pieces.
Several members of the Board of Regents said Thursday they were puzzled by
Drake’s decision, adding that they believe Chemerinsky’s appointment would
not have been blocked by the 26-member body.
Gerald Parsky, former chairman of the Board of Regents, and Richard Blum,
the current chairman, were contacted by Drake in late August before the
UCI chancellor had reached a final decision about the hiring.
Blum was in the Middle East on Thursday and unavailable for comment, but
Parsky said Drake briefed him about the search process in that phone call
and told him he was leaning toward Chemerinsky. Drake “did not ask my
opinion on Chemerinsky and I did not provide it,” Parsky said.
“The regents support academic freedom and the right of the chancellor to
decide on the hiring of a dean based on the academic needs and goals of
his individual campus, and the regents do not interfere with these
matters,” Parsky said. “And I do not believe we did in this case at all.”
Chemerinsky’s appointment did not initially appear to be controversial.
Under UC procedures, the authority to select a dean falls to the
chancellor, and the candidate is not subject to approval by the regents, a
university spokesman said. The regents are required to approve any
salaries above $205,000. The board was scheduled to consider Chemerinsky’s
salary at an upcoming meeting because the sum would have been above that
Regent John Moores said the chance that any regent knew about
Chemerinsky’s hiring as dean and sought to intervene was “as close to zero
as anything can get.”
Moores noted that people might speculate on what the Board of Regents
would do in a certain situation. But he said that doesn’t mean that any of
the regents have actually weighed in. “It’s awfully easy to hide behind
the notion that the regents might not approve this,” he said.
Regents Moores, Sherry L. Lansing and Judy Hopkinson, and Michael Brown,
chairman of the UC system’s Academic Senate and a non-voting member of the
Board of Regents, all said they knew of no opposition that would arise
when the salary came up for approval at their meeting next week.
State Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez, a regent, condemned Drake’s decision.
Joan Irvine Smith, the heiress to the James Irvine land fortune who
donated $1 million to the law school through her foundation, said she was
surprised by the news that Chemerinsky’s appointment had been withdrawn.
She said she had dinner with Drake and his wife, Brenda, Saturday night at
a fundraiser and that he never mentioned it, even though they discussed a
number of other issues about the school.
“This appears to be something that was extremely recent,” she said. “This
sounded like a very fine gentleman. I think it’s a shame.”
In an interview, Drake said the law school’s namesake and $20-million
donor, Donald Bren, had no role in the decision. “He stayed away from the
decision entirely,” the chancellor said.
One well-known political scientist at UC Irvine said the controversy might
stir up Orange County’s old image as a bastion of right-wing conservatism.
“It’s possible for people external to the county to say, ‘Aha. The days of
the cavemen are back,” said UCI political science professor Mark Petracca.
“It has given people the opportunity to bash Orange County for a
reputation that is contemporarily undeserved. It gives people a chance to
say, ‘There they go again. This could only happen in that part of the
country — Orange County.’ ”
The aborted effort to hire Chemerinsky is only the latest run of bad
publicity to throw a shadow over the university. Seemingly at many points
in its quest for prominence there has been a dramatic setback — a scandal
in its medical school’s liver transplant program, the illegal sale of
cadaver parts by its Willed Body Program and the prosecution of fertility
doctors who stole eggs and embryos and implanted them in other women.
Drake was hired as chancellor in 2005, years after the cadaver and
fertility scandals and just months before news of the liver program issues
broke. He was brought in to help the university move forward.
The open letter, which called on Chemerinsky to be rehired, said, “We are
deeply concerned, because this action places UC Irvine once more in the
spotlight for the most negative and debilitating of reasons.”
Copyright 2007 Los Angeles Times