Students paid to spy on profs at UCLA

Published on Thursday, January 19, 2006 by the Guardian / UK
Rightwing Group Offers Students $100 to Spy on Professors
Republican graduate’s site prompts witch-hunt fears
31 academics listed as ‘worthy of scrutiny’

by Dan Glaister

It is the sort of invitation any poverty-stricken student would find hard to resist. “Do you have a professor who just can’t stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? If you help … expose the professor, we’ll pay you for your work.”

For full notes, a tape recording and a copy of all teaching materials, students at the University of California Los Angeles are being offered $100 (£57) – the tape recorder is provided free of charge – by an alumni group.

Lecture notes without a tape recording net $50, and even non-attendance at the class while providing copies of the teaching materials is worth $10.

But the initiative has prompted concerns that the group, the brainchild of a former leader of the college’s Republicans, is a witch-hunt. Several targeted professors have complained, figures associated with the group have distanced themselves from the project and the college is studying whether the sale of notes infringes copyright and contravenes regulations.

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