Tag Archive: UCLA


There is no joy that comes from giving a student a “Falcon,” let alone three “Falcons.”

And yet as a former tenure-track university professor, one learned to always adhere to a carefully written and periodically strengthened (before a given term begins) class syllabus to ensure every student is treated and graded fairly.

If a student believes he or she has been wronged in the submission of the final grade, the first course of action is to appeal directly to the instructor. The second is to take the case to the applicable department chair, who will either sustain or change the decision of the professor. The third is a comparable appeal to the college dean with the same set of options.

And finally, there is the university Board of Academic Appeals. The ruling of this board is final for either party.

Almost DailyBrett was taken before the board in spring 2018 for three failing grades he gave as it turned out … to an African-American student. Even though your author is happily retired, he still has present-day reflections about this process.

Before proceeding with this epistle, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provisions must be upheld. The student in question is not be named and will not be identified. For the purposes of this discussion, the last letter of the Greek alphabet — “Omega” — will be substituted to protect the student’s identity.

Sports Illustrated photo – Kevin in the end zone

Omega submitted a petition to the Board of Academic Appeals including accusing your author on multiple occasions of being a “racist.” My consistent grading reflected the fact the student in question recorded five or more unexcused absences during 20-teaching-days courses, plus not working with classmate teams. The result as prescribed in the syllabi, three failing grades.

These “Falcons” were not instances of “can’t” — Omega was a good writer, solid presenter, a talented graphic artist — but of “won’t.” Someone, who for whatever reason refuses to attend class and team meetings, when they have all the tools to succeed and thrive is particularly sad.

Almost DailyBrett totally rejects this hateful R-label and is proud of his lifelong record of working successfully with the African-American community. Your author always displayed proudly in his offices a 1976 Sports Illustrated photograph of himself with LB Rod Martin (left) and S Dennis Thurman (right) from the USC vs. UCLA game. The same image is on the home wall of history as this post is being composed.

In the end, your author’s grading decisions were affirmed by the Board of Academic Appeals, which is comprised of faculty members and students. The reason in my humble opinion (IMHO) lies with the tight consistent language in the syllabi — the language was identical — for all three classes. The same set of rules applied to all students, ensuring a level playing field.

What About Today’s Cancel Culture?

Another professor faced with Omega’s non-performance in his class, did not give the student a “Falcon.” Regardless of the strict language in his syllabus, the student was given an “incomplete.” That professor was not taken to the Board of Academic Appeals. Was he smarter? Is discretion the better part of valor?

Considering today’s permissive, fearful and intolerant political atmosphere, would Almost DailyBrett be facing suspension for giving three falcons to an African-American student? Would the Board of Academic Appeals be disbanded for sustaining a tenure-track assistant professor’s grading? Would your author be shown the door upon being accused of racism?

The likely answers to all three of these questions are … ‘yes,’ ‘yes,’ and ‘yes.’

Almost DailyBrett is ready to believe virtually anything in our new Cultural Revolution when the statue of Winston Churchill, who beat racist fascist Nazi Germany, is defaced, and arguably the greatest epic movie of all time, “Gone With The Wind,” is dropped by HBO.

When will the books be burned?

An effective Democracy must be a nation of laws and agreed-upon procedures. If these laws and procedures are inadequate for today’s civilization, they can be and should be amended.

But what happens to those who enforce the laws and the rules? What about those who go by the book or the syllabus? What about those who are merely accused of the stupidity of singling out individuals just because the hue of their skin? Do they deserve to suspended, terminated and put out to pasture just for doing their jobs?

As a retired professor and active blogger contemplates the specter of facing the music just two years ago, one must wonder what would have happened if spring 2018 was actually spring 2020?

Would the student in question be the focus of the university review or would your author be shown the door after being accused and doing his job?

Almost DailyBrett Editor’s Note: The term “Falcon” was first heard by your author during his USC undergraduate days, shortly after The Wheel was invented. It’s use in this blog in no way minimizes the seriousness of giving a failing grade to any student.

https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/faq/what-ferpa

https://www.cwu.edu/academic-appeals/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/06/11/leaving-on-your-own-terms/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2020/05/15/never-answer-hypotheticals/

“I would like to get my reputation restored, and I will engage in all lawful means from our legal system to ensure that occurs. It is the height of ludicrosity for anyone to suggest that a single bone in my body is racist.” — UCLA Accounting and Law Professor Gordon Klein

“There is no way in hell that black lives matter to you. You are one of, if not, THE most racist human that I have ever encountered in a professional setting.” — Former student Whitney Woods tweet about incoming ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication dean Sonya Forte Duhe.

Not incoming anymore. Duhe was accused of racism and microagressions.

“Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech. Cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination are antithetical of academia.” — First Daughter Ivanka Trump upon the cancellation of her Wichita State University commencement address.

Ivanka was just the latest woman to follow in the university speaker cancellation footsteps of European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and Stanford Provost Condoleezza Rice.

After 39 years of teaching at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and School of Law, Professor Gordon Klein and his family are receiving threats of violence and are protected round-the-clock. His career at UCLA is over.

Instead of earning praise for a job well done, Klein is being ridiculed because he insisted that his students take their finals (the entire grade for his class) in Principles of Taxation on time.

If there is a day set aside for finals in the course syllabus, that is the prescribed day for each-and-every student. The purpose of a syllabus is to prescribe a level playing field and a reasonable set of expectations for all students.

As a USC graduate, Almost DailyBrett is not always predisposed to the other school in Los Angeles. One also suspects that Baby Boomer Klein was very close to retirement; he was an easy lamb to sacrifice by the junior campus of the University of California.

Who Runs Our Universities?

“In seeking truth, you have to get both sides of a story.” — Legendary CBS anchor Walter Cronkite (1916-2009)

“Academic politics are so vicious precisely because the stakes are so small.” — Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

Do you think Dr. Kissinger would be allowed to speak on a college campus? Forget about it.

Six years ago, your author was faced with an intriguing choice: Pursue a Ph.D with a fellowship at the aforementioned ASU Cronkite School or accept an offer as a tenure track Assistant Professor in Public Relations at Central Washington University. Big town/hot summers vs. small town/cold winters. Almost DailyBrett chose the latter.

The dream of teaching public relations, corporate communications and investor relations as a professor came true. The first inclination was to teach until the 70th birthday arrived. Whether tenure was achieved or not was secondary.

Three years ago, Almost DailyBrett decided the fourth academic year on campus would be the last. With F-U money invested and owning a nice comfortable house free and clear with wife Jeanne in Eugene, the decision to come home was made. Looking back, there are absolutely no regrets.

Your author left professional life at a time and place of his own choosing.

Would that have been the case, if your author was completing his tenure year — this past academic year — in his 65th year on the planet? Otherwise was there a rainy pasture in his future?

Even though CWU is located in relatively conservative Ellensburg, the seat of the State of Washington’s Kittitas County, Almost DailyBrett must personally question his own survival prospects on campus … any campus.

Before every COM 476 Corporate Communications and Investor Relations, students chanted: “Buy Low Sell High!”

Is “Buy Low Sell High” a microaggression comprised by the adjective “micro” and the noun it modifies, “aggression?” If a term of speech is micro, is it an aggression? Does it matter on today’s campuses? Does anything matter other than being affixed with the “racist” label?

Almost DailyBrett suspects his career as a Republican gubernatorial press secretary, corporate public relations director, international public relations agency senior VP and a director for a technology trade association … every position … each would serve as a potential strike against him.

Ivanka was denied an opportunity to speak.

Professor Sonya Duhe was denied an opportunity to serve.

Professor Gordon Klein was denied the opportunity to cap a great career and leave on his own terms.

Almost DailyBrett departed at a time and place of his own choosing. There is a satisfaction that comes from making the right choice.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/ucla-professor-no-racism-in-refusing-to-cancel-final/2020/06/10/f5e6410e-ab82-11ea-a43b-be9f6494a87d_story.html

https://www.foxnews.com/us/ucla-professor-suspended-under-police-protection-after-threats

https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/accounting/faculty/klein

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-education/2020/06/06/cronkite-faculty-letter-incoming-dean-sonya-duhe-accused-racism-harm-schools-reputation/3166596001/

https://www.foxnews.com/us/asu-journalism-dean-out-microaggressions-police-good-tweet

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/11/24/coming-home/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/the-other-american-dream-f-u-money/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/07/24/is-the-word-racist-becoming-cliche/

https://www.kansas.com/news/politics-government/article243436826.html

 

“There was no keyboard player on the planet more appropriate to support Jim Morrison’s words.” — Doors’ drummer John Densmore on Ray Manzarek

Having trouble negotiating the Pere Lachaise cemetery maze in Paris?

No problem. Just join the steady stream of rock n’ roll pilgrims traipsing the footpaths to pay their respects to Jim Morrison.

As one of those recent pilgrims (last August), Almost DailyBrett will go out on a limb:

Never has a rock n’ roll front man cast such a long shadow over his fellow band mates than James Douglas Morrison, and that includes Mick Jagger.

Jagger and Keith Richards are forever joined at the hip as The Glimmer Twins of the Rolling Stones. The combo of Jagger-Richards wrote the songs that will stand the test of time. The public not only expects, but demands that Mick and Keith stay together.

The magnetism, stage presence and voice of the so-called “Lizard King,” Jim Morrison, easily eclipsed the combined impact of guitarist, Robby Krieger, drummer, John Densmore and Doors co-founder (with Morrison) keyboards-bassist, Ray Manzarek.

Morrison died, way too young in Paris at 27 in 1971. The French never performed an autopsy, but what we always suspected … was most likely the culprit. One other member of the Doors, keyboard and bass player, Ray Manzarek, also passed away, just six years ago courageously fighting rare cholangiocarcinoma —  bile duct cancer — in Rosenheim, Germany.

Morrison was the legend of The Doors.

His presence and his lasting power are uncontested. Each-and-every day, people from around the world come to Pere Lachaise to take a glimpse at his relatively mundane tombstone, shoved into a tight space against the backdrop of larger memorials for unknown people. Doesn’t the memory of Morrison deserve better? Maybe not the Lenin Mausoleum … but better?

Manzarek was the sound of The Doors.

His keyboards ignited “Light My Fire,” amped up “Back Door Man,” propelled “Back Door Man” and powered “LA Woman.”  Manzarek’s keyboard solo on “Riders On The Storm”was arguably his best work. He happily described the writing and recording the haunting, yet beautiful song, in a recent YouTube video (see below).

The Doors Philosopher

“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is: infinite.” — Poet William Blake’s quote that reportedly inspired philosopher Aldous Huxley’s book “The Doors of Perception,” and thus the name of the band.

“You don’t make music for immortality; you make music for the moment, capturing the sheer joy of being alive on Planet Earth.” — Ray Manzarek

If you were seeking out a perfect commentator to interpret the Doors’ phenomenon (100 million records sold globally from eight albums during eight years, 1965-1973), you couldn’t do better than Manzarek. Time-and-time again he nailed it, when it came to describing the Weltanschauung of the band.

Manzarek was outspoken without coming across as outspoken. His quote above brings a smile to your author, who has neither time nor patience for Oliver Stone’s 1960s fantasies and fairy tales.

Some immediately dismiss all psychedelic era rock n’ rollers as little more than drugged-out skeletons. Manzarek with his glasses and era sideburns contributed to this image. Yet there was more, much more with Manzarek.

Almost DailyBrett is not suggesting the Doors were angels (e.g., Morrison’s well-chronicled drinking habit), but the complexity of Manzarek should be admired and appreciated. Besides his undergraduate degree in economics from DePaul, Manzarek earned a M.F.A from UCLA. He married Dorothy Aiko Fujikama in 1967, the couple raised one son Pablo, and had three grandchildren.

The couple left Los Angeles behind, buying and renovating a wine country farm house in Vichy Springs (e.g., Napa Valley) in 2004. Manzarek’s incredible talent spanned music, writing and maybe a little architectural design as well.

Manzarek will never be a household name, let alone a legend. There are almost zero pilgrimages to pay final respects (reportedly, Manzarek was creamated). No one should doubt his contribution to the band he co-founded, his incredible talent and his thoughtfulness.

Manzarek was indeed … the sound of the Doors.

Home

https://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/article/Rock-n-roll-retreat-The-Doors-Ray-Manzarek-2798037.php

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Manzarek

collegegrad

“…We welcome applications from women and members of historically underrepresented minority groups, persons with disabilities, and others who would bring additional dimensions of experience to our community.” – De rigueur boilerplate at the bottom of a typical job description

Looking around a crowded classroom during the last three Saturdays of students taking a Graduate Records Examination (GRE) preparation course, I repeatedly thought to myself:

Where are the guys?

Can I count them on one hand, including me?

Do women have a better approach toward learning?

Is the pink brain superior to the blue brain?

I don’t want Almost DailyBrett to come across as a whine or to imply that I do not celebrate the shattering of one class ceiling after another, but to question the absence of men…particularly pale males…from one classroom after another.

Is it just a matter that I am looking in all the wrong places? Sure, I know that men can be found in engineering schools, (particularly Asian men) sales conferences, and football practices, but is something more complex happening here?

Is it a case of: Pale + Male + (Assumed Privilege) = No “Additional Dimension of Experience?”

Almost DailyBrett offers zero empirical data to support this uneasy sense, but nonetheless one has to question why aren’t more males competing for advanced degrees or even undergraduate degrees? There is a growing amount of literature questioning why aren’t males doing better academically. Do they (men) believe it is not worth making the effort?

Is this a recent development or part of a multi-decade trend?

Pursuing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern California way back when Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter occupied the White House, the ratio of men-to-women students was approximately three-to-one. This was not good news for men (including me) looking for coed attention. Many times we were compelled to outsource to UCLA to find females that were willing to give us (SC guys) the time of day.

In my fraternity house, you became a “Row God” and signed autographs, if a Pi Phi merely breathed on you, let alone permitted any other physical activity. It was all a function of the preponderance of males on university campuses at the time. If women were to be found on campus, it was usually in education or nursing, not the journalism school.

Times have clearly changed and I have absolutely no desire to go back to the days when the scales were so unevenly balanced on behalf of males. I am just wondering whether the pendulum has swung to the point of no return?

Checking out the U.S. News & World Report gender stats for the campuses of the Pac-12 Conference, seven have female majorities (e.g., Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington and WSU); four have male majorities (e.g., Colorado, OSU, Stanford and Utah); one is locked in a 50-50 percent statistical tie (e.g., ASU).

Looking deeper, the ratios are relatively close with Utah having the largest percentage of males, 55 percent, and UCLA having the highest percentage of females, 55 percent. Liberal arts schools and those located near the coast trend toward female majorities, while engineering, scientific, agriculture and mountain schools tend to have more males.

Could my feelings of unease simply revolve around my teaching at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, amplified by the fact that I have served as an instructor of public relations? Women absolutely dominate public relations as they do real estate and local government. If you don’t believe me, just check out virtually any metropolitan public relations agency.

Coming back to my Saturday GRE class, I didn’t recognize any of the perspective graduate students as hailing from our journalism school. They were coming from other disciplines on campus. The ratio in my GRE class is about seven-to-one, female.

Is this the experience at other public research universities? And if it is, what does it mean for the future? Sounds like a great research project.

Technology has produced a paradigm shift in how work gets done in this country and other developed nations around the world.

The days in which we relied on brute strength, ignorance and testosterone for the majority of the heavy lifting in the workplace are in the rear-view mirror. Today, we are focused on productivity. Today, we rely on a service-oriented economy. The “services” provided by knuckle-draggers in the form of brute strength, ignorance and testosterone are no longer desired. Can they (e.g., males en masse) shift to providing services with a smile? I have my doubts.

Can I prove the reasoning behind my trepidation about the future of men? Not yet. Can I deny that I have these concerns? No.

Are all men doomed to being academic second-class citizens? There are going to be men that will do well, very well. As a gender, I suspect that blue brains are taking a back seat to pink brains.

Some may inclined to think: How come it took you so long to come to this obvious conclusion?

http://www.usnews.com/rankings

http://www.askmen.com/entertainment/better_look/7b_why-schools-arent-built-for-boys.html

http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/01/04/1555229/why-girls-do-better-at-school

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/05/01/pr%E2%80%99s-endangered-species/

%d bloggers like this: