Bruin Alumni Association
Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

Chapter 1 - The Sad Saga of Dori Kozloff

Chapter 2 - GSEIS - A Closer Look

Chapter 3 - Par for the Course(s)

Chapter 4 - Coloring the Definition of Diversity

Chapter 5 - Sandra Harding

Chapter 6 - Peter McLaren

Chapter 7 - Daniel Solorzano

Chapter 8 - Clara Chu

Chapter 9 - Take Action

















Indoctrination, Not Education: Rampant Radicalism in the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies

By Andrew Jones
9/8/06
Chapter 1
The Sad Saga of Dori Kozloff

    Following its January 2006 launch, public reaction to the Bruin Alumni Association’s UCLAProfs.com website broke along predictable partisan lines.  Professor Peter McLaren, named #1 to the UCLAProfs.com “Dirty Thirty” list of the university’s most extremist professors, brayed predictably that the website’s unsympathetic portrait of his life-long Marxist extremism was nothing but “fascism” (1)  and a “reactionary form of McCarthyism.” (2)  Outgoing UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale shed crocodile tears of “anger and frustration” (3) and decried our “reprehensible” methods.  On the internet, hard-left websites like DailyKos.com were set aflame by the affair, and rained abuse and conspiratorial conjecture on the BAA.

     Lost in all the cacophony, unfortunately, was the opportunity for clear-headed analysis of the central question: does UCLA have a problem of extremist professors?  Are UCLA professors guilty of teaching social sciences or humanities students what to think rather than how to think?  In short, was there truth to the UCLAProfs.com charge of professors indoctrinating instead of educating?

     As it turns out, we UCLA observers had all missed incontrovertible proof of professorial malfeasance; in fact, proof of extremism suffusing an entire school at UCLA.  And the story was right under our nose.

     Those inclined to dismiss the charges of the Bruin Alumni Association as mere conservative bellyaching would do well to learn the sad saga of Dori Kozloff and what caused her to eventually file a lawsuit against the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies (GSEIS). (4) 

     Dori is a life-long leftist, politically committed to women’s rights and the cause of universal social justice.  Despite the challenge of being a full-time mother and wife, Dori earned honors as a women’s studies undergraduate at the University of Washington and was inducted into the National Golden Key National Honor Society before entering UCLA’s education  program, eventually earning an invitation to pursue a Ph.D. (5)

     What Dori found at UCLA was not the welcoming, challenging, and open academic environment that had characterized the UW women’s studies department.  While GSEIS defines itself as a place in which critical examination (and self-examination) is practically an institutional requirement, such a goal is rarely met.  Instead, Dori was now trapped in a school filled with invisible minefields.  Classroom discussion was circumscribed by dozens of unchallengeable truths, each fiercely protected by both radical professors and their radical student acolytes.  As someone who actually does approach all presumptions with a critical eye, Dori earned a reputation as a trouble-maker in the classes of professors who wear heavy political blinders.

     In one typical class exercise in former Education Department Chair Daniel Solorzano’s “Minority Education in Cross-Cultural Perspective” course,  students worked in small groups to develop a model of an ideal high school.  The other members of Dori’s work group declared their opposition to enrolling any white students because of their status as societal “oppressors.”  This bigoted view met with not a whisper of challenge from Solorzano, not surprising given that Solorzano himself repeatedly asserted in lecture that only whites can be racist.

     Professor Peter McLaren (he of the foam-flecked “McCarthyism” denunciations) is anything but a political innocent.  Dori recalls quite vividly attending her third (and because of McLaren, last) meeting of the GSEIS “Educators for Peace” group which formed before the American invasion of Iraq.  McLaren declared openly to the group that our President George W. Bush was guilty of war crimes and, whether by democratic means or by violence (specifically assassination), Bush needed to be “removed.” 

     Sympathy for terrorism is in fact a leitmotif of the radical UCLA GSEIS experience.  GSEIS Professor Sandra Harding began the first session of her Fall 2001 class, mere weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on American soil, with the observation that our tragedy was hardly noteworthy given that thousands of people die violently every day across the globe.  Harding expressed her exasperation with what she viewed as excessive media attention paid to the 9/11 attacks, and concluded her rant by asking if any class members took offense to her ideas.  Dori, who grew up on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River just miles outside of Manhattan, and had friends and family close to dozens of the victims, was the only student to voice an objection to Harding’s callous hate-America comments.

     Despite the suffocating politicized atmosphere at GSEIS, Dori managed to persevere, eventually earning the invitation to pursue Ph.D. studies at the school.  As it happens, Sandra Harding was assigned as Dori’s Ph.D. advisor, a position which would give her nearly total control over the topic, direction, and completion of Dori’s progress toward the degree.

     Dori chose to meet her progression requirement by preparing a thesis (her other option was sitting for an examination).  Her paper, on the “limited whiteness of women,” hardly a hard-core conservative idea, was rejected out of hand by Harding, who explained that “white women should not write about white women or black women.”  When Dori asked Harding why she still approved of black women writing about white or black women, Harding explained, “there is a difference, and why would (Dori) wish to write about white women anyway?” 

     Harding then threatened that Dori would be committing “academic suicide” if she disobeyed her order against writing the paper.  Given Harding’s pre-eminent position not only within the GSEIS Education department but in wider feminist academic circles (as the editor of the top women’s studies journal Signs), this was no idle threat.

     Dori attempted to lay low for a while, hoping for a Harding change of heart – to no avail.  Typical of Harding’s twisted view of proper professorial behavior, she literally screamed at Dori in a subsequent October 2003 meeting, cursing her as an “ignorant racist” with a “deep-rooted hatred for black women.”  Dori’s offense?  Offering a mild challenge to some of the views of Harding’s hero, UC Santa Cruz black radical professor Angela Davis.

     What Harding didn’t know, and what makes her slurs that much more obscene, is that Dori is a life-long anti-racist.  Dori, who has won awards for her volunteer work at a Wilene’s Re-Growth Center, one of the largest foster care agencies in Pomona, California, recalls very clearly family trips into the Deep South in the 1950’s.  Her father made Dori and her siblings use bathrooms and water fountains marked ‘Colored’ in direct defiance of jeering crowds of whites offended at their actions. 

     After seeing months of difficult study and work peremptorily rejected by Harding, Dori had no choice but to try qualifying for continued Ph.D. study through the other option, an exam.  Working on three weeks’ notice (versus the nine months of preparation available to those who know they will take this route from the beginning), Dori unsurprisingly failed to pass the exam with a score sufficiently high enough to qualify for continued study toward her Ph.D. 

     From there, the “academic suicide” Harding had threatened began to take shape.  On December 30, 2003, Dori received a letter from Department Chair Daniel Solorzano explaining that she had failed to reach the necessary score.  Worse yet, no professor now wished to serve as her advisor, and as a result, she would be awarded a master’s degree and would not be allowed to continue her progress toward a Ph.D.  Solorzano’s action, as a review of department and UCLA regulations make clear, was in violation of due process requirements.  Moreover, given that Dori’s classmates who had failed to achieve a sufficient score were accorded routine re-test privileges, the decision was in violation of both common sense and fairness.  These affronts notwithstanding, the letter’s message was clear: the relationship between UCLA and Dori was over.

     Only, it wasn’t completely.  UCLA then spent several subsequent months engaged in taxpayer-funded bungling that would put the Keystone Kops to shame.  After receiving Solorzano’s kiss-off letter in late December 2003, Dori received another letter from Solorzano in mid-January 2004 explaining that, whoops, now Dori would be allowed to re-take the Ph.D. progress examination…but not until spring quarter 2004, and then only with the extraordinary proviso that she take an additional eight-units of upper-level education classes during the winter quarter.  Unfortunately, the winter quarter had already begun around ten days before, and Dori was out of town on a much-needed sabbatical, under the rather solid impression (per Solorzano’s December 30, 2003 letter) that she was out of the UCLA program.

     Returning to town in mid-January and finding Solorzano’s whiplash letter waiting for her, Dori contacted Carolyn Clark, the Director of the UCLA Office of Student Services, in attempt to clarify the situation.  Dori first asked to meet with Clark and Dean Dorr, a request which Clark refused.  Several months later, Clark informed Dori that she had looked over the situation and, hold on to your seats, she was again out of the program because Dori hadn’t enrolled in spring quarter classes. 

     Finally, on April 28, 2004, GSEIS Dean Aimee Dorr became involved, sending Dori a final letter which claimed she “was never terminated from the Ph.D. program.”  Even if Dorr’s claim was technically true, and much evidence suggests this was an outright lie, Dorr’s assertion was a  hair-splitting attempt at semantic stubbornness that rivals former President Bill Clinton’s ‘definition of is, is’ dissembling for sheer audacity.

     At this point, exhausted by UCLA’s bureaucratic slapstick routine and disillusioned with the entire process, Dori took the more than understandable step of filing a bias lawsuit against UCLA.  The complaint alleges 1st Amendment violations, civil rights violations and charges UCLA and its professors with infliction of emotional distress and negligence, characterized in particular by the anti-white environment created by both Harding and Solorzano.  

     The lawsuit was an unfortunate but all-too-necessary act.  As an institution virtually unparalleled in its ability to stonewall its (often merely perceived) enemies and critics, the sad truth is that UCLA understands only one thing – power – and by the end of UCLA’s shabby treatment, a lawsuit was the only remaining means by which Dori could receive justice. 

     This should not, however, be taken to mean that fighting UCLA has been at any point an easy process.  Already the lawsuit has withstood voluminous challenges from UCLA’s well-paid legal eagles, who launched groundless salvos seeking dismissal of the lawsuit on any number of specious grounds. 

     Having withstood all those motions, the action is now currently stalled in mediation, and worse yet, faces dangerous challenges from recent Supreme Court decisions which suggest that the “academic freedom” rights of professors are virtually unlimited; that professors may do or say whatever they wish without limit. 

     This is the very issue raised by the BAA’s UCLAProfs.com project: whether professors must respect and uphold their students' rights to an education, not an indoctrination, or whether academic freedom is the ability to say or do literally anything the professor desires, without any possibility of correction or punishment. 

     UCLA’s refusal to address the blatant abuses exposed in Dori’s lawsuit is symptomatic of an increasing institutional hubris in the university administration and faculty.  To paraphrase President Theodore Roosevelt,

     “To announce that there must be no criticism of UCLA, or that we are to stand by UCLA, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable.”

     As one of UCLA’s preeminent financial supporters, you have the university’s ear and attention like few others.  We ask you to take just fifteen minutes today to write a short letter, to make a call, or to send an email or fax to any or all of the UCLA decision-makers listed on the inside back cover of this booklet.  You must speak up to tell the university that that we are firmly opposed to any attempts at legal justifications for the outrageous behavior of these GSEIS professors.  And you must urge UCLA to do right thing by settling Dori Kozloff’s lawsuit and by implementing many desperately needed reforms within the department. 

     We alumni, donors and friends must let UCLA know that we are watching, that we are concerned, and that we will no longer donate our hard-earned money out of blind alumni allegiance.  Only by speaking up can we ensure UCLA’s continued greatness. 


1) UCLA Alumni Group Is Tracking 'Radical' Faculty, Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2006
2) Silence in class, The Guardian (UK), April 4, 2006
3) http://www.advocacy.ucla.edu/news/carnesale_stmnt.html
4) Kozloff vs. University of California Board of Regents, Et Al.
5) http://www.dailybruin.ucla.edu/news/articles.asp?id=31354