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ERIC Number: ED530869
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Apr
Pages: 87
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California
National Association of Scholars
This report concerns the corruption of the University of California by activist politics, a condition which, as it shall show, sharply lowers the quality of academic teaching, analysis, and research, resulting in the troubling deficiencies found in the studies to which the authors have referred. This report shall show that this is an inevitable consequence of any substantial influence of radical politics in academia, because its characteristic interests and modes of thought are the very antithesis of those that should prevail in academic life. This report proceeds as follows: (1) Rationale: It sets out and explains the reasons why the university must never be used for political purposes, or as an instrument of social change or social justice as defined by particular social and political philosophies. These reasons are of two kinds. The first are akin to moral objections, an example being that the very idea of a democracy is injured when public funds are used for partisan political purposes. The second set of considerations concern the quality of teaching and research. Political purposes are so radically different from academic ones that the former will always corrupt the latter; (2) Rules: It reviews and explains the rationale of the many rules, regulations, and policy statements of the University of California and of the State of California which prohibit the use of the University for political purposes; (3) Rebuttal: It sets out and rebuts some common defenses of the current politicized state of the university. In particular, it deals with the mistaken notion that academic freedom is injured if it is objected to politicized education, and the equally mistaken notion (which both contradicts and is contradicted by the first) that if most teachers are not abusing their classroom, the problem cannot be serious; (4) Evidence: It sets out evidence of many different kinds from the campuses which shows both that politicization is a serious problem that now compromises the quality of education and research, and that university regulations which ought to prevent this abuse are no longer being enforced by campus administrations; (5) Consequences: It discusses the many serious consequences of the University's failure to maintain itself free of politicization. These include, for example: a college-educated generation poorly prepared for citizenship with respect to writing and reasoning skills, and to knowledge of the history and institutions of its own society; a sharp decline in the quality of high school teaching; and seriously compromised upward mobility for minorities; and (6) Responsibility: It discusses the origin of the problem, and the responsibility of the Regents to take corrective action. It also makes some practical suggestions for Regental action. (Contains 1 figure and 89 footnotes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the Arthur N. Rupe Foundation and the Barnes Family Foundation.]
National Association of Scholars. 221 Witherspoon Street 2nd Floor, Princeton, NJ 08542-3215. Tel: 609-683-7878; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Association of Scholars (NAS)
Identifiers - Location: California