The PoliBlog

The Collective
Saturday, September 15, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I promise to stop blogging on this UCI law school dean business soon. However, I find the situation fascinating for a variety of reasons. Partially because I have a degree from UCI, but I also have professional and intellectual interests in the issue of the role of ideology in academia.

At any rate, if there is any doubt remaining about the political pressures being put on UCI’s Chancellor Drake, here’s more evidence via the AP: GOP politician sent email asking how to stop naming of dean

A conservative Los Angeles County politician asked about two dozen people in an e-mail last month how to prevent the University of California, Irvine from hiring renowned liberal scholar Erwin Chemerinsky as its founding law school dean, a spokesman for the politician said Friday.

Making Chemerinsky the head of the law school “would be like appointing al-Qaida in charge of homeland security,” Michael Antonovich, a longtime Republican member of the county Board of Supervisors, said in a voicemail left with The Associated Press.

First off, what is with such a ridiculous analogy? Of the things that hiring Chemerinsky would be like, none of them would be like hiring al-Qaida to run homeland security.

Second, why should a County Commissioner be involved in trying to influence an academic hire? And for that matter, UCI is in Orange County, not Los Angeles County.

Of course, Antonovich crossed swords with Chemerinsky over the LA County seal, which would explain his basic interest, even if it doesn’t give him any particular standing regarding personnel decisions at UCI.

Meanwhile, Drake has unleashed a firestorm on his campus:

“What’s happened here is so outrageous, it’s beyond anything that anybody could have imagined happening,” said Mark P. Petracca, chair of the political science department.

Petracca said professors were angry that Drake hasn’t given a full explanation for his decision, except to say at a faculty meeting Thursday that he spoke with 12 people about Chemerinsky before withdrawing the offer. He wouldn’t say who those people were, Petracca said.

“What information did the chancellor get? We don’t know that and the chancellor’s silence on that leaves the door open for people to speculate on Erwin’s character,” he said. “Politically, it would be the best thing for all parties involved … if (Drake) were to resign.”


An academic assembly meeting was expected next week, Petracca said, where professors might consider a vote of no-confidence against Drake and pass a resolution calling for his decision to be rescinded.

And for trivia’s sake, I took one of Petracca’s classes as a freshman.

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Filed under: Academia | |


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  • pt
    1. So, the spat is all over the County seal. Now it makes sense.

      It seems that Drake may be “reconsidering” his revocation of the offer because his own head may be about to roll. Another LAT article suggested he was a leading candidate to become President of the UC system. Not anymore.

      Oh, and I was a TA in one of Petracca’s classes that met in one of those then-new theaters across the street from the campus.

      Comment by MSS — Sunday, September 16, 2024 @ 2:18 pm

    2. I may have been in that class. Pol 6b or 6c, I forget which, but it met in the theater. Kathleen was my TA in there, I do believe.

      Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Sunday, September 16, 2024 @ 2:32 pm

    3. I think he had a small army of TAs.

      Comment by MSS — Sunday, September 16, 2024 @ 5:57 pm

    4. […] Politics and Chemerinsky […]

      Pingback by PoliBlog ™: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » The End of the UCI-Chemerinsky Saga — Tuesday, September 18, 2024 @ 10:56 am

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