The Right Coast

January 22, 2006
UCLA Profs kerfuffle
By Tom Smith

I must say I think Bainbridge and Volokh have staked out about the right position on this little fight. The dust up involves a UCLA alumni group that has offered to pay $100 for tapes of lectures by UCLA professors that demonstrate a left-wing bias. It sounds like I may be able to use this as a Contracts class hypo for offers of unilateral contracts. If 1000 students show up, each with such a tape, does the alumni group have to pay out $100K? Lots of possibilities there.

The bounties are obnoxious; no need to deny that. On the other hand, it is far from clear that classrooms in public institutions should not be open to some sort of public monitoring. Why not have a webcam in every UC and Cal State classroom? I can think of lots of reasons why not, but whether they outweigh the benefits, such as more awake professors who try harder not to make fools of themselves or indulge their various peculiarities too much, I am not so sure.

However shocked we might be by some UC prof saying Jesus was a communist, Reagan a war criminal, Mao a prophet of freedom and Bob Dylan the greatest poet in the history of English, more shocking still would be what we would see if we monitored our public grade school classrooms.