by Lloyd Billingsley
Yet another progressive purge against a free-speech champion.
The University of California at Los Angeles boasts a winning tradition and student Keith Fink was something of an academic Johnny Wooden. Fink won three consecutive National Collegiate Debate championships, went on to complete law school, then returned to UCLA to teach in the same department as his college debate coach Thomas Miller.
Professor Fink, also a practicing attorney, began teaching at UCLA in 2008 and proved popular with students, particularly on the subject of free speech. The courses, on the other hand, did not earn respect from politically correct campus bosses who have restricted access to his classes and now, he says, seek to have him fired. As professor Fink told Frontpage:
“They are all afraid of a vocal, rational intelligent conservative who can provide a check on the progressive narrative they seek to indoctrinate the students with and empowers the students with knowledge of their rights on how to fight against the UC when their rights are being violated.”
The campaign against professor Fink is relatively recent and duly turned up in the student newspaper. In January, Evolet Chiu wrote in the Daily Bruin, “Dozens of UCLA students are frustrated with their inability to enroll in a communication studies class this quarter, despite receiving a permission-to-enroll number from their instructor.” The PTE numbers were not honored for Communication Studies 167: “Sex, Politics and Race: Free Speech on Campus.”
Professor Fink handed out 41 PTE numbers but the next day “received several emails from students who were unenrolled from the course by the UCLA Registrar’s Office.” It was the first time such a thing had happened “in a decade of teaching at UCLA.”
One of those unenrolled was fourth-year student Taryn Jacobson, who told the Daily Bruin “This class is of utmost importance to me, being that I want to go to law school and (Fink) has so much knowledge to offer.”
As Chiu noted, new department chair Kerri Johnson also restricted professor Fink’s class size for Communication Studies M172: “Free Speech in the Workplace.” Johnson construed it as an issue of class size to ensure a “productive learning environment.” For professor Fink, “This is a violation of academic freedom, a violation of (UCLA’s) own rules and students’ rights. Students are not being treated with equity here.”
Associate professor and new department chair Kerri Johnson is not an attorney. As she explains, her research includes: “How/why does the way that we move our bodies communicate whether we are a man or woman, gay/lesbian or heterosexual, angry or sad?” Johnson is also co-author of “Swagger, sway and sexuality: Judging sexual orientation from body motion and morphology.” Kerri Johnson is also listed in UCLA’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Studies department, not known for commitment to objective truth, intellectual diversity, freedom of speech and due process.
According to an administrative officer, shortly after joining the Communication Studies department, Johnson read a newspaper story about Keith Fink’s work and told colleagues “we cannot have someone like this in our department.” When she became department chair last fall, Johnson began attacking Fink and his courses before she had even met him.
According to Fink’s teaching aide Andrew Litt, Fink exposed the flawed methodology behind phony campus sexual assault statistics, the due process rights of students in sexual assault tribunals, and conservative students’ rights to speak out freely against transgender bathroom legislation. Litt believes it “quite likely” that Johnson deployed the procedural measures against Fink to avoid a direct confrontation with the conservative on those issues. As Litt notes, the procedural measures had problems of their own.
They denied professor Fink due process, gave him no opportunity to present his case or answer questions, and indulged secret voting. The classroom evaluation was conducted by sources identified as biased against Fink at the outset and “riddled with demonstrably false statements.”
The department also “fished for phony student evaluation letters” accusing Fink of being a racist and sexist. One letter was from a student who wrote “I don’t know professor Fink.”
Jewish students Negeen Arasteh and Shahab Naimi sought out Fink’s classes because he “one of the best teachers at UCLA,” according to Naimi, a pre-med student. Both took Fink’s popular “Sex, Politics and Race: Free Speech on Campus,” but Kerri Johnson denied them credit for the course. So the anti-Semitism now mounting a surge on UC campuses may be in the mix here as well. Meanwhile, UCLA’s popular professor and three-time national debate champion finds himself short on official support.
“I have received NONE from any administrator at UCLA,” Fink told Frontpage. “Not a single administrator has reached out to me to discuss my issues either regarding the rigged and biased review conducted of me or the trampling of the rights of my students. And I know every administrator is aware of what is going with me.”
Progressive UCLA is attempting to purge a rational, intelligent conservative who fights progressive indoctrination and empowers students to know their rights. “Keep Professor Fink At UCLA!” an open letter now circulating, notes the possible consequences:
“Professor Fink is by all outward measures one of UCLA’s greatest, most popular, and influential professors. If the school ignores our plea and continues to endorse the corrupt dealings in the Department of Communication Studies, they will not only lose one of their most valuable and influential professors but also repel thousands of donors (current and future alike) from supporting this institution.”
Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Barack ‘em Up: A Literary Investigation, and Bill of Writes: Dispatches from the Political Correctness Battlefield.
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