UCLA has a Confucius Institute, which claims that:
Through collaboration with campus, community, and China-based educational partners, the UCLA Confucius Institute develops programs that provide opportunities for the study of Chinese language and culture across our region and in China. Recognizing the wealth of history, expertise, and resources available in California, our programs are designed to connect experts and communities, engage new audiences, and advance UCLA's mission of teaching, research, and public service.
Meanwhile, many American colleges and universities are closing their institutes. And for good reason:
The University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University have ... recently closed their Confucius Institutes amid growing concerns about whether universities that host them are granting undue influence to the Chinese government in matters of curriculum and staffing.
The WSJ recently highlighted the nature of the problem:
Critics have argued that China’s Confucius Institutes pose a threat to academic freedom in the United States, Canada, Europe and beyond. Now the Beijing official in charge has confirmed it.
If you’re new to this issue, the Chinese government has set up 1,100 of these state-run Confucius Institutes since 2004 to teach language and culture within universities and grade schools world-wide. Now the institutes are facing long overdue scrutiny, and some universities and school districts are closing them down.
On Sunday the BBC interviewed Chinese Vice Minister Xu Lin, director-general of Confucius Institute Headquarters. She confirmed in no uncertain terms that her organization exports the values of the Chinese Communist Party to foreign academic institutions, from Columbia and Stanford to neighborhood elementary schools.
Ms. Xu described how the teachers must file official reports and answer questions about whether they discussed politically sensitive subjects in the classroom. She also confirmed that Beijing forces foreign institutions to deny employment to believers in Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in China. ...
Ms. Xu’s comments now challenge the legions of American university and K-12 leaders who have never raised concerns, even as most of them signed secret contracts with Beijing.
I challenge UCLA's leadership to explain why we -- in the words of the AAUP -- "permit Confucius Institutes to advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate.”
The Washington Post article is full of eyebrow raising details:
When officials at the University of California at Los Angeles began negotiating a $300,000 speech appearance by Hillary Rodham Clinton, the school had one request: Could we get a reduced rate for public universities?
The answer from Clinton’s representatives: $300,000 is the “special university rate.” [In fairness, the fee is funded by an endowed gift and was donated to her foundation, but still ....] ...
Top university officials discussed at length the style and color of the executive armchairs Clinton and moderator Lynn Vavreck would sit in as they carried on a question-and-answer session, as well as the kind of pillows to be situated on each chair. Clinton’s representatives requested that the chairs be outfitted with two long, rectangular pillows — and that two cushions be kept backstage in case the chair was too deep and she needed additional back support.
After a lengthy call with a Clinton representative, UCLA administrator Patricia Lippert reported to campus colleagues, “She uses a lavalier [microphone] and will both speak from the audience and walk around stage, TED talk style. We need a teleprompter and 2-3 downstage scrolling monitors [for] her to read from.”
During a walk-through of Royce Hall five days before the lecture, the e-mails show, Clinton’s team rejected the podium planned for her use during her 20- to 30-minute speech, setting off a scramble on campus to find a suitable podium and rent a new university seal to match. ...
Her representatives asked for a case of still water, room temperature, to be deposited stage right. They also asked that “a carafe of warm/hot water, coffee cup and saucer, pitcher of room temperature water, water glass, and lemon wedges” be situated both on a table on stage as well as in another room where Clinton would stand for photos with VIPs.
For the green room, Clinton’s representatives requested: “Coffee, tea, room temp sparkling and still water, diet ginger ale, crudité, hummus and sliced fruit.” They also asked for a computer, mouse and printer, as well as a scanner, which the university had to purchase for the occasion. ...
When university officials decided to award Clinton the UCLA Medal, Clinton’s team asked that it be presented to her in a box rather than draped around her neck. That request was sent to the university’s chancellor, Gene Block. ...
Organizers faced criticism that more students could not attend, particularly after an early morning event to allow students to enter a lottery for one of 413 free tickets turned into a shoving match. But students without tickets were able to watch a live stream of the event in an overflow location, Renaud said.
Other controversy surrounded Clinton’s visit. When an online survey asked the public what questions should be posed during a 40-minute question-and-answer session, university officials noted in e-mails that the majority of the suggestions were about the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Somehow one suspects few of those questions got asked.
Neither UCLA nor Hillary Clinton come out of this episode looking very good.
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) invites inquiries, nominations and applications for the position of Dean of the UCLA School of Law.
Founded in 1949, the UCLA School of Law is the youngest of the top 20 law schools in the country and is committed to advancing the field of law through strong traditions of progressive teaching, influential scholarship and innovation. One of UCLA’s 11 professional schools, the school has approximately 180 full-time and part-time faculty (of whom 65 are tenure track) who teach approximately 1,100 students enrolled in Juris Doctor (J.D.), Master of Laws (LL.M.) and Doctor of Juridical Science (S.J.D.) programs. The school houses many research centers in such areas as business law; climate change; international and comparative law; food law; real estate; and sexual orientation and gender identity law; and it offers academic specializations in business law and policy; critical race studies; entertainment, media, and intellectual property law; law and philosophy; and public interest law and policy. Eight concurrent degree programs allow students to pursue a J.D. along with a degree in African American Studies, American Indian Studies, Management, Philosophy, Public Health, Public Policy, Social Welfare and Urban Planning. UCLA law faculty are recognized worldwide for their contributions to scholarship, teaching and law reform in a broad spectrum of fields that have significant societal impact – including constitutional law, civil rights and critical race studies, environmental law and policy, criminal law, corporate law, public interest law, employment law, international law and intellectual property.
As the chief executive and academic officer for the school, the dean sets the standard for intellectual engagement and accomplishment by providing strategic vision for and operational leadership of the academic programs. The dean works to advance legal scholarship and education – promoting initiatives within and outside UCLA; enhancing excellence through diversity in educational programs and faculty and student recruitment; and linking the work of law faculty and students to other disciplines, communities and interests within and outside the academy. He/she serves as the school’s public voice, articulating its contributions to local, state, regional, national and international communities and pursuing an aggressive development program to build the school’s resources. Reporting to the executive vice chancellor and provost, he/she serves on the deans council and the council of professional school deans, collaborating with the chancellor, executive vice chancellor and provost, vice chancellors and vice provosts, deans and department chairs at UCLA and across the University of California system.
Ideal candidates will be nationally recognized with demonstrated leadership and administrative experience and a strong commitment to legal education and scholarship. Minimum requirements include a record of distinguished scholarly accomplishment and intellectual leadership in the field of law; substantial administrative leadership; success in external and alumni relations and development; an established record of advancing diversity; and credentials that merit appointment at the rank of full professor.
Situated on 419 acres, five miles from the Pacific Ocean, UCLA is enriched by the cultural diversity of the dynamic greater Los Angeles area, as well as the geographic advantages of Southern California. One of the world’s preeminent public research universities, UCLA is an international leader in breadth and quality of academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs, with more than 4,000 faculty members who teach approximately 40,000 students in the College of Letters and Science and 11 professional schools. UCLA is consistently ranked among the top institutions nationally for research funding, having generated an average of $1 billion in research grants and contracts annually over the past four years.
Confidential review of applications, nominations and expressions of interest will begin immediately and will continue until an appointment is made. To be ensured full consideration, please email a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to LawDeanSearch@conet.ucla.edu by January 16, 2015. Address inquiries to Traci Considine, manager of executive recruitment in the Office of the Chancellor (310-206-8003).
The University of California is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through diversity, and seeks candidates committed to a campus climate that supports equity and inclusion.
Back when I was a little bitty first year law student one of the first things I learned was how to run a West key number through the decennial digests. But it is a skill I assumed had died out, sort of like mastadon hunting.
Prompted by a question Ted Frank posed over on Facebook, however, I just went over to West Publishing's website and discovered they still make decennial digests. Who knew? It's been 20 years since I had a graduate research assistant who knew how to run West key numbers in the hardbound decennial digests. Indeed, I had assumed West had stopped making them. But now that it turns out you still can buy the decennial digests, the questions become (1) do any law schools still teach how to run key numbers in the decennial digests and (2) does anybody still do this in the real world?
I've been having a certain amount of fun posting here, as well as on Twitter and Facebook, about how warm LA has been as the rest of the country freezes. This seems to have annoyed many friends and longtime readers, so I thought I should take note of a major downside of life in LA. Or, more precisely, life in my part of LA.
The state has just released an updated map of the active Hollywood fault. I won't tell you exactly where my house is on this map. Suffice it to say, however, that it's not on the dashed red line but it is well within the part of orange fault zone west of the 101. Yikes!
FWIW, here's what I know about the potential for activity on the fault:
As I pondered this Drudge headline:
I noticed that my AcuRite 75077 Wireless Weather Station with Remote Sensor and Atomic Clock was reporting a temperature of 102 degrees in my backyard. So I'm going swimming.
Don't hate me because I'm warm.
In 2011, the University of California at Los Angeles wrecked its English major. Such a development may seem insignificant, compared with, say, the federal takeover of health care. It is not. What happened at UCLA is part of a momentous shift that bears on our relationship to the past—and to civilization itself.
Until 2011, students majoring in English at UCLA had to take one course in Chaucer, two in Shakespeare, and one in Milton —the cornerstones of English literature. Following a revolt of the junior faculty, however, during which it was announced that Shakespeare was part of the "Empire," UCLA junked these individual author requirements. It replaced them with a mandate that all English majors take a total of three courses in the following four areas: Gender, Race, Ethnicity, Disability and Sexuality Studies; Imperial, Transnational, and Postcolonial Studies; genre studies, interdisciplinary studies, and critical theory; or creative writing.
In other words, the UCLA faculty was now officially indifferent to whether an English major had ever read a word of Chaucer, Milton or Shakespeare, but the department was determined to expose students, according to the course catalog, to "alternative rubrics of gender, sexuality, race, and class."
Such defenestrations have happened elsewhere, and long before 2011. But the UCLA coup was particularly significant because the school's English department was one of the last champions of the historically informed study of great literature, uncorrupted by an ideological overlay. Precisely for that reason, it was the most popular English major in the country, enrolling a whopping 1,400 undergraduates.
The UCLA coup represents the characteristic academic traits of our time: narcissism, an obsession with victimhood, and a relentless determination to reduce the stunning complexity of the past to the shallow categories of identity and class politics. Sitting atop an entire civilization of aesthetic wonders, the contemporary academic wants only to study oppression, preferably his or her own, defined reductively according to gonads and melanin.
All of which rings true to this UCLA faculty member. In any case, Mac Donald goes on to make the case why this new approach to the humanities is a very bad idea. Read it. And weep.
Climate scientists from the University of Bristol in England have used a climate model to simulate the climate of Middle Earth. The model was also used to determine where on Earth is most like certain places in Middle Earth.
According to Dr. Dan Lunt:
This work is a bit of fun, but it does have a serious side. A core part of our work here in Bristol involves using state-of-the-art climate models to simulate and understand the past climate of our Earth. By comparing our results to evidence of past climate change, for example from tree rings, ice cores, and ancient fossils of plants and animals, we can validate the climate models, and gain confidence in the accuracy of their predictions of future climate.
In the UK, the Shire's climate was most similar to Lincolnshire and Leicestershire. Eastern Europe, particularly Belarus, had the highest concentration of Shire-like areas.
As for Mordor, "Los Angeles and western Texas are notable for being amongst the most Mordor-like regions in the USA."
That explains a lot.
Making the news recently is California Senate Bill 131, which seeks to open up a one year "window" in 2014 allowing anyone over the age of 26 to sue the Catholic Church for damages stemming from clergy sex abuse. Suits would be allowed even if the alleged activity took place many decades ago and even if the accused abuser is long ago deceased, thus making it nearly impossible for the Church to effectively defend itself in court.
Sound familiar? It should. California enacted the exact same measure a decade ago, which led to the Catholic Church in California paying out $1.2 billion in settlements because of the "window" year of 2003 determined by the state legislature.
Indeed, it was implicit a decade ago that California's temporary lifting of the statute of limitations was a one-time event that would give people who were abused decades ago a unique opportunity to come forward and collect damages. Yet cash-hungry contingency lawyers are at it again for a second round. ...
After the record $660 million settlement in Los Angeles in 2007 (which was a direct result of the 2003 window), the jubilation among contingency lawyers was to the point that their celebration "looked like a frat party" with some lawyers "even chest bumping," according to one victim who witnessed the surreal scene.
Indeed, the notorious Church-suing lawyer Jeff Anderson, who funnels tens of thousands of dollars annually to the anti-Catholic group SNAP, has already set up a web site (along with Facebook and Twitter accounts) as a way to attract more clients in the event that SB 131 is passed.
Yet mainstream journalists like Powers go to great lengths to portray the Church's efforts opposing the outrageous bill as somehow nefarious and sinister. Meanwhile, they ignore the efforts of contingency lawyers like Anderson, who stand to bank millions if SB 131 is enacted.
It's a very bad bill, as I explained at: http://www.professorbainbridge.com/professorbainbridgecom/2013/06/an-open-letter-to-assemblyman-adrin-nazarian.html
If like me, you're disgruntled about Janet Napolitano's appointment as the new President of the University of California system (see here and here), what is particularly galling is that there was an obvious alternative. I speak, of course, of former UCLA law school dean and current University of Chicago law dean Michael Schill. In addition to having two highly successful deanships under his belt, Mike has been a finalist in at least one major University chancellor search. When he was in the running to be head of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the local paper reported that "UW-Madison chancellor finalist Michael Schill [is] known as fast-rising higher ed administrator":
Schill, who was law school dean at the University of California, Los Angeles, for five years before moving to Chicago, was known as the "energizer dean" at UCLA and is considered a fast-rising university administrator.
"Everybody understands he's going to be head of a great university someday," said Douglas Baird, who teaches at the University of Chicago law school and helped choose Schill to be dean. ...
Schill has a reputation as a successful fund raiser. As law school dean at UCLA, he helped bring in $65 million in three years toward a $100 million endowment campaign before being lured to Chicago.
And a Wisconsin faculty blogger opined that there were several reasons to support Schill, including:
2. Schill genuinely likes to talk, and seems to really enjoy listening too. Body language conveys a lot, and Schill's speaks of openness, assertiveness and sincerity. After more than hour of close observation from only a dozen feet away, I can assess this quite well. His reception line went very slowly because he refused to brush anyone off or move them along, despite the efforts of his hosts. He made excellent eye contact, leaned forward when speaking, was evidently comfortable with physical contact (I witnessed several hugs, real handshakes, and he even challenged me to a race), doesn't wear his ego on his sleeve, and displayed a range of emotions. Let's just say, I've seen chancellors smile before but their eyes usually wandered over my shoulder. Schill has a background in activism, and this talent displays it. Of course, I suspect he is shrewd as well-- he knows that people like to be listened to, and he does so to maximum advantage.
3. Voicing strong concern for affordability, Schill told me that we must "keep tuition low, and aid high," restraining ourselves to increases solely to keep up with inflation. He did not speak of competitive pricing, and or peer comparisons. Now, perhaps this is just because he's speaking to me, and he's read the blog. But I checked on this, and what colleagues of his told me is that "He's too smart to think pricing high is smart, and far too smart to believe in 'disruptive' innovation." I asked him for his thoughts on test-optional admissions and he was able to discuss that literature with me, bringing up his teaching on higher education at UCLA in a manner that was quite impressive. In his view, the Supreme Court will rule against Texas in a narrowly tailored decision.
4. Schill is a candidate for chancellor with a very serious and impressive set of publications and books that merit tenure (so is Blank, by the way). He's written on low-income housing, immigration and race, and co-authored with smart people I like and trust, such as Amy Ellen Schwartz of NYU and Colin Chellman of CUNY. I especially liked what I read in Housing and Community Development in New York City: Facing the Future regarding the reasons why efforts to improve low-income housing have failed; he attends to politics and structure in insightful ways. ...
But overall, I am supportive of Michael Schill's candidacy for chancellor. He's bright, calm, thoughtful, and exceedingly well-liked by those who work with him. I'd enjoy getting to know him better.
Indeed. When he was our dean, Mike was a tireless fundraiser and superb administrator. More important, he consistently demonstrated his fealty to academic values such as academic freedom, high quality scholarship, and intellectual diversity. Those are, of course, precisely the values that Napolitano's tenure at DHS convinces me she lacks ... and probably that she doesn't even understand.
We could have had a 24 carat gold choice, but the Regents opted for fools gold.
I see that I'm not the only one who is displeased by Janet Napolitano's appointment as the new President of the University of California system. (See my earlier post for my take.) Interestingly, the complaints are coming from both right and left, as the Washington Times reports:
“University of California students can look forward to the same authoritarian management style Secretary Napolitano brought to the Department of Homeland Security, hardly a bastion of free speech and open government,” said Rep. Doug LaMalfa, a California Republican. “While I am pleased to see her leave Homeland Security, Napolitano’s views are entirely incompatible with the UC system’s history of civil liberties and the decision to appoint her is perplexing.”
Those views were echoed by immigrant-rights advocates who predicted Ms. Napolitano’s move to run the school system, expected in September, will be “met with protests.” “UC should take the opportunity to thoroughly examine her record in Arizona and at DHS to see if it reflects the university’s values before they confirm her to this important post,” said Chris Newman, legal director for the Los Angeles-based National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
And a scathing editorial at IBD, entitled Is Janet Napolitano Best The UC Regents Can Do?, opines that:
Instead of appointing a world class scientist, leading medical expert, respected academic or distinguished public servant — such as the truly qualified Condoleezza Rice — to lead the great University of California system, the UC regents opted for a political hack of no academic merit whatsoever. Their pick, Janet Napolitano, has presided over one disaster after another at the Department of Homeland Security. ...
There's every reason to think Napolitano would bring what was once considered the world's finest public university system to a new low. Her record at Homeland Security was a series of failures, stemming from a slavish devotion to her boss in the White House and an adherence to political correctness. ...
And just to underline what she really stood for — Napolitano presided over the Transportation Security Administration, which today is one of the worst faces of Big Government, harassing terrified toddlers on their way to Disneyland and old war heroes in wheelchairs holding colostomy bags. Heckuva job, Janet.
Someone with this record at the University of California can lead that once-great institution only downhill.
I couldn't agree more.