Politics Undermining Learning, Scholars Warn University of California

SOQUEL, CA (March 30, 2012)—Radical faculty members and politicized courses have compromised the quality of education in the University of California.  That’s the principal finding in a report released today by the California Association of Scholars, a division of the National Association of Scholars. 

The 81-page report, A Crisis of Competence: The Corrupting Effect of Political Activism in the University of California, urges the Regents of the University of California to end “the corruption of the University of California by activist politics.” 

The California Association of Scholars conducted a two-year study.  Its report finds: 

  • A sharp increase in faculty members who self-identify as radicals.  This has led to ‘one-party’ academic departments, such as at Berkeley, where left-of-center faculty members outnumber their right-of-center colleagues in Political Science by a ratio of 28:2, in English 29:1 and in History 31:1. 
  • Curricula that promote political activism, in violation of UC regulations. Critical Race Studies at UCLA’s School of Law, for example, aims to be a “training ground” for “advocates committed to racial justice theory and practice.”  
  • Departments that erase the study of Western tradition. History majors are not required to take a survey course in Western civilization on any of the nine University of California undergraduate campuses. 
  • Suppression of free speech.  Speakers at UC Berkeley who have been shouted down by protesters include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. 

John Ellis, president of the California Association of Scholars, said, “The quality of education at the University of California has been jeopardized by political activism. Dogmatism is rapidly displacing open-minded inquiry, especially in the social sciences and humanities, to the severe disadvantage of students.”  Ellis added, “Public confidence in the University is also eroding.”  

Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, added: “In the past, the Regents took seriously their responsibility to keep the university free from politics. We call on the Regents today to take up that responsibility again.”

The study is available for download at /images/documents/A_Crisis_of_Competence.pdf


John Ellis, President, CAS                       831-476-1144; [email protected]

Charles Geshekter, Chairman, CAS      530-343-7097; [email protected]

Peter Wood, President, NAS                    609-683-7878; [email protected]

Stephen Balch, Chairman, NAS              609-683-7878; [email protected]


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