An alumni group dedicated to "exposing the most radical professors" at the University of California at Los Angeles is offering to pay students $100 to record classroom lectures of suspect faculty.
The Web site of the Bruin Alumni Association also includes a "Dirty Thirty" list of professors considered by the group to be the most extreme left-wing members of the UCLA faculty, as well as profiles on their political activities and writings.
UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale on Thursday denounced the campaign as "reprehensible," and school officials warned that selling or distributing recordings of classroom lectures without an instructor's consent violates university policy.
News of the campaign prompted former Republican congressman James Rogan, who helped lead impeachment proceedings against former President Bill Clinton in the U.S. House of Representatives, to resign from the group's advisory board.
"I am uncomfortable to say the least with this tactic," Rogan, now a lawyer in private practice in California, said in an e-mail resignation made public by the Los Angeles Times. "It places students in jeopardy of violating myriad regulations and laws."
At least two other members of the group's advisory board, which consists of more than 20 individuals, also have quit over the group's efforts to have students record their professors.
The group, which is not affiliated with UCLA or its official alumni association, is the creation of Andrew Jones, a 2003 UCLA graduate who said he runs the organization mostly on his own with $22,000 in private donations.
Jones told Reuters that he is out to "restore an atmosphere of respectful political discourse on campus" and says his efforts are aimed at academics who proselytize students from either side of the ideological spectrum, conservative or liberal.
"We are concerned solely with indoctrination, one-sided presentation of ideological controversies and unprofessional classroom behavior," Jones said on his Web site.
Jones' site describes his campaign as "dedicated to exposing UCLA's most radical professors" and his list of the university's "worst of the worst" singles out only professors he says hold left-wing views.
Jones said he would accept recordings only from students whose professors consented in writing to have their lectures taped. And students would be paid $100 only if they furnished complete recordings of every class session, as well as detailed lecture notes and all other teaching materials from the class.
Jones, who also is offering to pay $50 for only notes and materials, said so far one student has signed up to participate and two others have expressed interest.
UCLA spokesman Phil Hampton said the university planned to send Jones a letter warning him that faculty hold copyrights to all their course materials and that his campaign encouraged students to violate school policy.
Copyright 2006 Reuters.
An update to that:
Activist drops reward for info on 'radical' professors
Wednesday, January 25, 2006; Posted: 10:11 a.m. EST (15:11 GMT)
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- A conservative activist dropped his offer to pay students up to $100 per class for providing information on what he called "radical" professors at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The activist, Andrew Jones, said Monday he would continue his effort with unpaid volunteers.
Jones' Bruin Alumni Association had offered UCLA students up to $100 to supply tapes and notes from classes to expose professors he considered to be pushing liberal political views on their students.
After news reports about the plan, Jones was criticized by faculty members who complained of a "witch hunt." Several prominent members of his organization's advisory board, including a former congressman, resigned from the group after details of the payment plan became public.
Jones, 24, a 2003 graduate and former head of the campus Republicans, said he was concerned about the level of professionalism among teachers at the university. He said the payment offer had become "a distraction from the real problem, which has been all along the issue of classroom indoctrination by UCLA professors."
Lawrence H. Lokman, a UCLA spokesman, said University of California rules bar the distribution of course materials unless permission is granted by the instructor and campus chancellor. As a result, he said, Jones' campaign violates UC policy even if no payments are involved.
Jones said one student, whom he declined to identify, had committed to participate in the paid campaign and will now do so as a volunteer.
Meanwhile, the effort suffered another defection. Radio talk show host Al Rantel of KABC in Los Angeles announced that he would resign from the advisory board.
Rantel said he remained concerned about the politicization of college campuses but that Jones "mishandled the issue horribly."
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.