Students Want Democratic Election, Not New Chancellor

Acting Chancellor Ralph Hexter adresses the media on Thursday on the South Stairs of Mrak Hall on the UC Davis Campus
Acting Chancellor Ralph Hexter addresses the media on Thursday on the South Stairs of Mrak Hall on the UC Davis Campus

By Jerika L.H.

While many are still in celebration over Chancellor Katehi’s forced administrative leave due to claims of dishonesty, unethical behavior, nepotism, and mishandling of UC funds, a group of students have come forward to call for a free election of UC leaders, not a new acting chancellor.  There is palpable fear and that Katehi’s replacement Ralph Hexter will be an extension of the same problematic leadership that has scorned UC Davis, making it forever synonymous with the “Pepper Spray University.”  These concerns are not unfounded.

Hexter stepped down from his position as President of Hampshire College in 2010 after two years of fervent student protests. Among students’ claims were that Hexter and his administration took no steps towards their pleas for additional faculty and staff positions in multicultural affairs, as well as mandatory training on issues of race, class, and gender for all employees. Instead, he approved the construction of a new building on the Hampshire College campus amidst tuition increases, a decision that the vast majority of students were not in agreement with – calling it “another building we don’t need” and “a squandering of funds and priorities.”  Hexter was firm that during economic crises, universities must make staff cuts and raise tuition. Yet, while Hexter approved tuition hikes at Hampshire college in 2006, he enjoyed a 30% salary increase of $76,527 from the Hampshire board of trustees, which boosted his salary to $328,139. This familiar narrative ties in all too well with the decades-long trend of administration wanting more and more from students, while the university offers less and less. Students and faculty are told to bear the brunt impact of “economic crisis” while administration is somehow exempt from pay cuts and sacrifice.

The Hampshire Board of Trustees praised Hexter for some of the very same issues that were unpopular with the students. “Ralph has had a tremendous influence on Hampshire. He concluded a capital campaign, completed funding for a major building project with an addition of a new wing to the Jerome Liebling Center for Film, Photography, and Video and promoted sustainability efforts on campus. The Liebling Center addition received LEED gold certification for ‘green’ buildings. Under his leadership Hampshire established a program that provides a new model for world language learning. Numerous prestigious grants have been awarded to Hampshire to support the College’s distinctive programs and initiatives. And, he has worked tirelessly on behalf of diversity both on campus and across higher education.”

This telling statement showcases the glaring gap between administrative standards of successful management and meaningful actions based on students’ needs. Students continue to feel their voices go unheard despite claims that the UC puts students first. In fact, students have voiced concern over Ralph Hexter’s own involvement with the very same unethical behavior that led to Katehi’s professional demise. Davina C. explains: “As Provost, it is nearly impossible to believe that he was none the wiser about Katehi’s missteps. And yet, throughout our calls for her resignation, the administration, which includes Hexter, voiced staunch support for Katehi’s leadership. That is either bad judgment or a disloyalty to transparency and common morals. The whole ideology needs to change. The University is for the students, funded by the students but not of the students. Without us, there’s no UC. And yet, it’s like we have no bargaining power.”

Others are taking issue with the UC’s use of Hexter’s personal orientation as some sort of selling point on his leadership. Yet, as history has shown, students found a false ally in Hexter during his time as President of Hampshire College. Undergraduate Mike Tran elaborates. “It’s funny to me how they keep including Hexter’s sexual orientation as an asterisk under his name every time he is mentioned. Like I am supposed to subconsciously be like ‘oh okay, he is gay so he must share my political standings and be a renegade for equality.’  It just goes to show how the UC not only plays up tokenism, but how they grossly underestimate the deeply nuanced nature of personal identity and representation.  And on top of that, their use of ‘openly gay.’  As if to say ‘he’s gay and not ashamed… there’s some more brownie points, liberal kids.’ It’s not about getting a gay man or a black man in office, it’s about the fundamental principles of equity, of which democratically elected leaders are a cornerstone.  It reminds me of what Bette Midler said about Caitlyn Jenner… she’s not problematic because she’s trans; she’s problematic because of her politics, actions, and beliefs. So stop mentioning the fact that Hexter is gay. It is so irrelevant. It’s a noncritical distraction. Let’s talk about his policies and administrative history, and the bigger need for free elections.”

But not everyone is unhappy with the transition. An on campus surveying of students showed the sentiments of his reception to be mixed bag. Agriculture student Ashley M. notes, “I’m glad Katehi is gone and I think we should give her replacement at least a chance. The pressure is high right now. Hexter could surprise us. People are almost expecting a neo-Katehi because of everything the campus has been through with her. But I just feel it wouldn’t be fair to him. If he starts down the same path, I think it’s time for a reorganization of how who we’re putting in power. But just like with Katehi, time will reveal all. Give him a chance.”

Regardless of where your opinion falls about Ralph Hexter, the installment of yet another chancellor deserves a moment of reflection. The issue of unsuitable leadership is not just a Davis problem, it is a UC problem. Given that student tuition is the biggest contributor to UC operations, students have a big stake in claiming the right to speak on how their education is being run, as well as how their money is being spent. As it currently stands, UC Chancellors do not have to answer to students apart from just good PR. While the UC has come to publically adopt all of the buzzwords that symbolize the generic American credo: diversity, freedom, tolerance, innovation; why is ‘democratic’ nowhere in the bunch?

The below statement was released by a collection of Comparative Literature graduate students to call for a democratic UC and an end to installed Chancellors.

Dear Colleagues,

We, the undersigned graduate students in Comparative Literature, write with growing concern over the sudden and unexpected appointment of Ralph Hexter as acting chancellor of UC Davis. Our opposition to this appointment stems from several principled objections.

Firstly, Hexter, in the capacity of provost, not only condoned the violations for which former chancellor Katehi is currently under investigation, but, as her second in command, actively supported and encouraged the implementation of policies privatizing the public university and streamlining public education at the expense of the growing undergraduate student body for the sake of short term profitability, actions which, as we well know, have been the catalyst for numerous recent protests against the deterioration of the public university not only at UC Davis but across the UC system.

Secondly, Hexter, like Katehi before him, has been instrumental in suppressing and criminalizing dissent on this campus in its multiple forms. For one, we object to his role as intermediary between the chancellor and the UCDPD during the infamous events of November 18th, 2011, in which peaceful demonstrators were, in contradiction to UC policy, beaten with batons and doused with weapons-grade pepper spray. Additionally, we recall Hexter’s involvement in the legal prosecution of the so-called Davis Dozen, whose actions in front of the former US Bank branch at the MU were meant to emphasize the very illegitimate relationship between private money and public stewardship for which Katehi’s recent involvement with DeVry has come under scrutiny. As provost, Hexter also served as an accomplice to Katehi in the failure to address numerous incidences of hate crimes, racial and gendered violence on this campus, as well as to redress the university’s troubling proscription and quelling of free speech regarding the repression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and his continued defense of the university’s financial ties to the Israeli state which have come, justifiably, under heavy criticism. Further, we find his vacillations in dealing with the recent Mrak Hall protests to be less than satisfactory. While claiming to respect the rights of the protestors, Hexter belied a condescending and insulting attitude toward them, with explicit dissatisfaction with, for example, “odors emanating from the protesters’ food and the garbage they leave behind.” This itself reeks of the classist language used to demonize and criminalize poverty and homelessness, products of the very structures of financial and social inequality plaguing the privatized model of the university and intensified under Katehi’s leadership.

Thirdly, and most importantly, in utter disregard for the recent Mrak Hall protestors’ demand for an open, inclusive, and democratic process for proposing, evaluating and hiring a new chancellor to replace Katehi, Hexter’s recent appointment was accomplished by fiat, as it were, unbeknown to the campus community and without our active democratic participation in the election process.

We recognize the risks taken by the voices raised at Mrak and elsewhere that faced intimidation and potential retribution. We find it necessary to stand with them unequivocally, to make clear that our ethics will not be held ransom by threats of academic reprisal.

For these reasons, we call for the immediate suspension of Hexter’s appointment as chancellor and demand a free election on the basis of equal undergraduate, graduate, and faculty (both senate and temporary lecturers) participation to determine which figure (or figures) most appropriately represent our public community against the encroachment of private interests whose damage to the university’s reputation and public commitment is already so severe.


Kevin Smith

Patrick Cabell

Amy Riddle

Anna Einarsdottir

Amanda Batarseh

Magnús Þór Snæbjörnsson

James Straub

Deborah Young

Zhen Zhang

D Dayton

Carmine Morrow

Sean Sell

Young Hui

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. zaqzaq

    The concept of a student election for chancellor is funny.  The UC system is a state entity that was designed to educate the citizens of the state to improve the educational level of the citizens of the state of California.  The students are privileged to attend these universities.  The state has an interest in maintaining the quality of these institutions.  Turning over the management of these universities to the whims of students is ludicrous.

    1. David Greenwald

      Of course the founders of this country had a similar feeling about democracy. Federalist 51: “If a majority be united by a common interest, the rights of the minority will be insecure.”

  2. Barack Palin

    Since the UC system is funded with my state tax dollars I think I and every state taxpayer should also get a vote if elections were ever held for a chancellor.

    1. Sagi-girl

      I fully agree B. Palin. WE pay their salaries. WE pay for the University.  They are under our domain because we fund them and we absolutely deserve to have the right to vote not only for the Chancellors of all of the UC’s but also for members of the Regents.  The UC system is slipping fast, and it’s not because of the outstanding faculty, it has turned into a money making machine for the Administrators.

  3. Tia Will

    Some express their enthusiasm about students voting for development projects in a setting in which the majority will not be living here for more than four years.

    Some express the opinion that the students should have no say in who determines major expenditures of what is, at least in part, their money, or their parents money. The students of course want the right to have some say in how their educational monies are spent.

    It is my opinion that whether or not we want more students to vote, and on what issues, depends on whether or not we believe that they will vote our way.


  4. Felicity

    While some comparisons between protests at UC Davis and Hampshire College hold true, there is actually a difference between the two institutions. Hampshire College is a private college, not a public college.  Hexter cannot be accused of acting to privatize a college that is already private. That seems to be the premise of the author’s points in the second paragraph of the article. In fact, Hexter left Hampshire in order to return to public service at UC Davis.

      1. Felicity

        What are you trying to say, really? She was his boss. Your statement is not well formed. He reported directly to her. If he didn’t carry out executive orders, then he would be fired.

        1. Sagi-girl

          Pugilist statement is very well informed. I understood perfectly what the message was.  “If he didn’t carry out executive orders, then he would be fired”. Please.  An ethical leader doesn’t run around in fear of being fired. They stand up like a man and firmly take a stance against the kind of appalling lack of professionalism Katehi has displayed for years now.  Do you have any idea how humiliating it is, as an Alumnus, to travel to a foreign country and mention where I did my graduate studies, and the first response is, “Oh, the Pepper Spray school!”.  NOT, oh, the top Veterinary School. NOT, oh, the world class Ag school. The Pepper Spray school. I went to UC Davis the day after the pepper spraying and was informed by the students that Katehi had sent out an email, campus wide, stating that she supported the pepper spraying. Only AFTER international protest broke out like nobody’s business did Katehi retract her inane email and change her message. If that’s the kind of boss you think Hexter should display unwavering loyalty towards, you have made a very clear statement that you do not care about the students of UC Davis, nor the taxpayers such as myself who are demanding genuine, authentic change to this nightmarish administration that has forever altered the reputation of my alma mater.

        2. Felicity

          I said: “not well formed”. (I didn’t say “not well informed”.) All employees are required by contract to “do their bosses bidding”. Some find ways to minimize that. Time well tell in this instance.

  5. Jerry Waszczuk

    These undersigned reads too much  Karol Marx  and Principles of  UC Davis  Communists camouflaged  under the title of the Principle of Community

    The Principles of Community are not official University of California, Davis policy; nor do they replace existing policies, procedures or codes of conduct.

    Corruption and white collar criminals activities   needs to be rooted out in  the UC system to solve the problem  not Karl Mark’s communist manifesto .

  6. Sam

    The University is for the students, funded by the students but not of the students. Without us, there’s no UC. And yet, it’s like we have no bargaining power.”

    This should have actually said funded by the taxpayers, not students.

    The students are consumers of a subsidized education. Their “bargaining power” is their choice to purchase the product at a reduced price or make the decision to purchase another education of they feel that whatever UCD is offering is not worth the cost.

    Just because the students have been accepted into UCD does not give them the right to now run the University.

    1. Marina Kalugin

      I agree on many points students have brought up over various years…….I rant about many of the same the dismay of many in my department and college…and up the line… but really, neither students NOR the CA State fund most of the cost of education any more…

      And, the state and FEDS still think they can dictate whatever THEY want…

      Someone can correct on the percentage that the STATE now funds….I thought it was less than 13% the last time I checked?

      When I was admitted back in 69, the “fee” was some miniscule fee…$50 or some such…with nearly 100% of the cost of education paid by the STATE….

      Those days are LONG gone…

      Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

  7. Marina Kalugin

    When I was a UCD student activist starting in 1970, I wanted a LOT Of stuff also…

    I STILL do…and THE above AIN’t  gonna happen folks….

    If you would like some TRUE change, support Katehi against Naplitano….and THAT, is how you could ACTUALLY effect some change at UCD…..   and that is how to play THIS game…

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

        1. Jerry Waszczuk

          Many discussion  participants never have experienced Orwell society of 1984 and they thinks that it is normal what is going . Having 48 millions on food stamps is a good start to have new Stalin in charge of  the USA which could became the new Soviet Union with Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.   

          As you probably noticed the Homeland Security of which Napolitano was in charge is almost exact translation of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti.  Bolshevism never die .

        1. Marina Kalugin

          they – Napolitano and Brown… became the ILLEGAL “gang of TWO”  or I think she used the word “committee”….  LOL  Regardless  THAT is illegal for a UC president…but she is also pandering to some of the newer, and arguably, dumber regents….


  8. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   ALSO start by rejuvenating the PRINT version of the AGGIE>>.

    THAT will get WAY more traction with those who are too busy to log in to VANGUARD>

    They WILL pick up the PRINT version of the AGGIE>>>

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

    One of the first hippie activists back in the days, and STILL an activist…

    Getting rid of the PRINT AGGIE was the ONE thing which did the MOST to hide campus issues…and dissent….

  9. Marina Kalugin

    Did I mention I had family who fled the COMMUNISTS in Russia  >>>and guess what, typewriters were CONTRABAND and paper was hard to find…

    Even in 1969 up through at least 1989, one would be sent to prison for having ILLEGAL paper on their person…  LOL

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

    1. Marina Kalugin

      the printing press at the Davis Enterprise is ALSO gone…the Enterprise is now printed in Fairfield.

      However, at some of the community colleges in the area or other places there may be someone who could print something.

      A few weeks ago, I was enjoying a rare day off at the Santa Cruz area and found a TRULY stellar paper by the students of Cabrillo College…..a jc in that area…

      And, that got me thinking how out of the loop we staff and managers are now….and that is ONE of the reasons…

      Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

    2. Alan Miller

      Students a few months ago voted to fund the return of the printed version of the The Aggie.

      I don’t know the logistics, but it will happen.

      Ironically, a few months before, Katehi ran an editorial in the Aggie on line version, about how great an on line newspaper was, and against a printed version.

      Sounds like she knew what was coming, and didn’t want printed campus newspapers with her demise as the headline.

      And I say ironically, because few people knew she wrote it, because it was on the on line version of  The Aggie, which has significantly less exposure than the print version (because you have to seek out the on line version, while the print version is laying around all over campus for students to read).

      I was about to write a piece about Kathi’s anti-print version editorial to help grease the funnel for her departure.  But I’m convinced now she is a gone-er.

      1. Alan Miller

        Thanks for stepping on my punchline, itself based on a reference to a TV show from 20 years ago.

        Regardless, I did read your article, and I probably was aware of it as I was reading.  I don’t think it registered because I couldn’t care less what his sexual orientation is.

  10. Marina Kalugin

    PS>  My current husband was in the printing industry for over 40 years….you don’t NEED one of those presses, but you still need someone knowledgeable…


  11. Marina Kalugin

    Actually, Ralph Hexter is VERY proud to be one of the first openly gay UNIVERSITY presidents at another institution before coming to UCD>
    UCD very proudly accepted many of the LGBQT community WAY before others would give lip service.

    One of the MANY reasons I chose UCD over BERKELEY back in the day is BECAUSE UCD had a much greater ACCEPTANCE level of persons who were otherwise discriminated against.

    Plus,  as a graduate of Lowell HS in SF< we considered BERKELY to be the LOCAL school across the pond…   DAVIS was MUCH more desireable…

    I like RALPH a lot also….don’t be swinging shots at HIM now either…

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)






  12. Marina Kalugin

    That is FUNNY Alan,  as I DIDN’t know THAT.

    But, the deal with THIS forum is that it IS superior because I can post whatever I want and as long as I am nice, I don’t get censured..

    However, most students and most employees do NOT have time….

    It is ALWAYS the same people speaking out…

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

    1. Jerry Waszczuk

      This  is  completely irrelevant whether Ralph Hexter is gay or not  . He was hired because he had  proper qualification and credentials to fill the Provost and Vice Chancellor position in UC Davis.

    2. Marina Kalugin

      Guess what, I take back my comment about NOT being censured… Today I started a NEW THREAD or rather TRIED to start a new thread….  I managed to obtain a juicy document last night….but it is STILL not approved…. I guess I have to eat MY words….I even made a couple of copies to make sure it would not be lost….and I also kept MORE copies as, everyone KNOWS<  I am paranoid now…   LOL



      1. Marina Kalugin

        Mea Culpa yet again…turns out THIS is another non-issue…  I got home quite late and say that my “scoop” which I sent to the Vanguard early in the morning yesterday was a FRONT page article in the Davis Enterprise…   LOL   certainly  not much of a scoop and not even needed at the Vanguard….

        1. Marina Kalugin

          but, yet now I see that another post I just posted IS waiting for moderation…once again, it appears I spoke TOO soon….. Some of you may be happy to hear that I am now moderated….others may not be….but that is the breaks I guess when I start pushing the envelope…   LOL  and not “staying on topic”>…especially if MY views do NOT coincide with the moderators…..

          1. David Greenwald

            Anything that has a link is automatically put into moderation as a protection for the site. Normally it’s not a big deal because either Don (the moderator) or myself will push a legitimate post through during the day. However, when you post in the middle of the night, it may be a few hours before someone gets to it.

  13. Frankly

    I think the university needs a survey system that the students run to survey the generally attitudes of the entire student body.  My guess is that what we are reading about in student protest is a tyranny of the easily upset minority.   I’m not saying that there isn’t any justified grievances, I just think the material things are being lost in the cries of a few prone to crying.

  14. ContextMatters

    The graduate students of comp lit are like, what 10 students? Why is this getting coverage at all? These are privileged students who are with a personal grudge. If they really want this – they should be doing what the Berkeley students are doing and working at the president’s level. These Davis students are small in number and have personal vendettas.

    The Berkeley students are fighting for a much more important cause:

    BREAKING: Students are currently sitting in for full fossil fuel divestment at the UC investments office in Oakland, CA. 

    For students, we believe it is unconscionable for our university to invest in the very companies that are recklessly endangering our future. Regent Sherman has the choice to stand with students or to stand with fossil fuel companies and the destruction of our planet.

  15. Tia Will


    There have been many instances in which a single raised voice was enough to point out an inequitable or immoral situation. I do not see that the number of students speaking has relevance, nor do I believe that you know that each of these students holds a grudge or is on a personal vendetta.  If you disagree, is it not enough to say so without casting aspersions about motivation ?

    1. ContextMatters

      Lol, you’re kidding right?

      1. if the students are really arguing for the principle of voting for chancellors, then they would be arguing the point at the Regents meeting. That’s who controls this issue.

      2. What exactly is the general immoral principle here that the vote will resolve? That a committee charged by the Regents, and which includes student representatives as members, vets and recommends Chancellors? Nothing immoral or unethical there.

      3. In the absence of any material facts for 1 and 2, then the issue must be personal.

      By the way Tia, someone pointed me to a place in the blog comments where you claim that you have taught in both the STEM and humanities disciplines at UC Davis. No one seems to be able to verify this, could you tell me what you taught?

      1. Tia Will


        By the way Tia, someone pointed me to a place in the blog comments where you claim that you have taught in both the STEM and humanities disciplines at UC Davis. No one seems to be able to verify this, could you tell me what you taught?”

        I made no such claim. I have taught both anatomy and as a gynecologist I have taught both medical students and residents every year since 1991. I made no claim to any instruction in the humanities. Prior to entering medical school I did serve as a TA in sessions for adult ESLA classes but  that was in Washington state and I made no mention of that. If you believe that I have claimed something that is not true, please post the quote and I will clarify.


  16. Frankly

    From the opinion section of the WJS today:

    ‘Progressives rule higher education,” write political scientists Jon Shields and Joshua Dunn Sr. in “Passing on the Right,” a new book on the dearth of conservative professors. “Their rule is not absolute. But conservatives are scarcer in academia than in just about any other major profession.”

    Profs. Shields and Dunn aren’t exaggerating. In the humanities and social sciences, they note, surveys show that the percentage of self-described Marxist professors is around 18%, or nearly double that of self-described Republicans.

    Nor is it merely classroom instruction that leftists tend to control. Liberal faculty and college administrators also closely monitor outside speakers invited to campus. The message conveyed to students is that people who challenge liberal dogma are not very welcome. A 2010 report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities found that only 40% of college freshman “strongly agreed that it is safe to hold unpopular positions on campus” and that by senior year it’s down to 30%.

    What is a bit humorous about this is that the soft and fluffy liberal arts professors and students have suddenly become the big bullies on campus.  Reminds me of the movie “The Gremlins”.

    Makes an American opine for a bit of McCarthyism to put it all back in the box.

    1. wdf1

      I think their used to be more conservatives in the sciences until Republicans began to embrace openly a Christian fundamentalism that questioned the scientific foundation of Darwinian evolution and the scientifically determined age of Earth being 4.55 billion years, and then later when the Republicans began to embrace doubts about global warming.  Whether you “believe” it or not is a personal matter.  But if you want to cast credible doubt it as part of  a larger community discussion, you have to offer a plausible alternative explanation for the large body of evidence that is out there.  When Republicans as a whole begin to respect what it means to have a scientific conclusion, then I think many science faculty who might otherwise have conservative leanings will begin to migrate back to the Republican Party.

      1. Frankly

        You have it backwards, conservative students started to reject science as a career as they saw it more and more taken over by government and a left-leaning orthodoxy which was demonized by the business class.   Just like today we see student reject banking as a career because it is demonized by the government class.

        It is a leftist myth that conservatives have grown more Christian fundamentalist.  It is a leftist myth that religious beliefs are any more that a de minimis contributor to the lack of acceptance of the politicized “science” of man-made global warming.

        1. wdf1

          Science is the means for studying the world objectively.  You’re suggesting that those who would identify as politically conservative were never disposed to look at the world objectively.  Science is neither conservative nor left-leaning.  In a scientific context, you make your claim and then prepare to get shredded by everyone else (professional scientists) who is prepared to disprove you, if they can.

        2. hpierce

           conservative students started to reject science as a career as they saw it more and more taken over by government and a left-leaning orthodoxy

          Quite possibly the most ill-informed and undocumented statement you have EVER posted…

        3. Frankly

          Quite possibly the most ill-informed and undocumented statement you have EVER posted…

          You know what they say about opinions hpierce…

          That is my story and I am sticking to it.

          Science used to be more ideologically balanced.  Now it is hard left… in fact the population of scientists is more liberal than the general population by an order of magnitude.

          If you are a conservative going to school and starting to hang with those other science brains, you would soon realize the lack of compatibility and would consider another career choice.

          It is similar to my son thinking he wanted to be a teacher until he started taking classes on that track and realized that he really could not hang with the other students and the professors that kept spewing their politics.

        4. Frankly

          Science is the means for studying the world objectively.

          Science has become politically connected to the party that feeds it.  And the percentage of Democrats and liberals that are scientists means it will be biased toward the ideas of the Democrats and liberals.  It is BS to say that science is perfectly objective.

          1. David Greenwald

            Have you ever considered the possibility that you have the direction of causation reversed here? That influence is not from ideology to science but rather from science to ideology. In other words science is not move ideologically but rather ideology is following science.

          2. Don Shor

            “Science” is a really big thing. Your generalizations might apply to some fields, especially the social sciences, but probably not to others. Moreover, in most cases it wouldn’t really make any difference.

        5. Frankly

          I think this is a convenient position from two people having political-ideological leanings in the pocket of where the average scientist leans

          If there is one thing I have learned over all the years of debating my liberal friends on the VG, is that Jonathan Haidt is correct… none of us are truly objective, we just want to win our arguments… or moral arguments.

          You have scientists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, who argue that religion is an unfortunate adaption of the stupid people and it should be eradicated.

          You have Stephen Hawking saying that God does not exist, and then says that he hopes to peer into another dimension before he dies.

          As Haidt’s research uncovered (and yes, he is a liberal scientist) liberals generally lack the capacity to consider the moral foundations of loyalty, authority and sanctity…. three that social conservatives embrace.

          If science would only publish facts void of recommendations I might be able to ignore this imbalance.  But like journalism (if it even exists anymore) everyone has an efing opinion and they have no problem sharing it.

          So, no… science is not objective.  It is politicized because scientists are generally liberal… more so than the general population.

          But I still love science.  I just filter the crap out of it.

          1. Don Shor

            If science would only publish facts void of recommendations

            “Science” does just that. In journals. Peer-reviewed stuff. Every day, all over the place. It’s the most amazing thing. Are you familiar with how scientists function, do their jobs, do stuff? You don’t seem to be.

          2. Don Shor

            Let’s take Richard Dawkins as an example. Here’s his list of scientific papers:
            He’s also written books, both in his field and for the public ( Most scientists don’t do that. Those books reflect his political and social views. But they don’t make him a better or worse scientist. It’s really up to his peers reviewing those dozens and dozens of papers in the field of evolutionary biology to assess that aspect of his career.

        6. wdf1

          Frankly:  You have scientists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Sam Harris, who argue that religion is an unfortunate adaption of the stupid people and it should be eradicated.

          Scientists can have subjective opinions about whatever they want.  I don’t think you’ll find those opinions offered in their peer-reviewed publications.  Whether God exists or not is outside of what science can prove or disprove.  You will find other scientists who disagree with Dawkins about religion.  But I think with Dawkins in particular (bur probably the others, too), he argues that about a particular approach to religion.

          I am trained as a scientist by profession and I have all kinds of subjective opinions.  My wife is the most wonderful woman in the world.  My kids are the most wonderful kids in the world.  Are you going to insist that I scientifically prove those assertions or else discredit my credentials as a scientist?

          1. Don Shor

            As I said earlier:

            “Science” is a really big thing. Your generalizations might apply to some fields, especially the social sciences, but probably not to others. Moreover, in most cases it wouldn’t really make any difference.

            There are something like 8 million scientists. For the overwhelming majority, none of this matters. It doesn’t make much difference, if any, what the political or social views of some entomologist or plant scientist are. It seems to really bother you that a small number of scientists take public positions on political issues.
            You way, way, way overemphasize this supposed issue. There has long been a strain of anti-intellectualism and hostility to academics in American politics. It’s become increasingly virulent among conservatives in recent years. I think that is distinctly harmful. It is unfortunate when intelligent people like yourself engage in it.

        7. Frankly

          wdf1 – I am saying that individually our bias will influence our work.  If you are a scientist it will influence what you chose to work on and what you don’t like to work on.  It will color your theories, your hypotheses.  There is rarely just one path in consideration of solving some new complex problem.  Your bias will cause you to select one path over another.

          Add this up for all the scientists and it is a material thing.


        8. wdf1

          Frankly:  I am saying that individually our bias will influence our work.

          Scientists don’t work individually.  Well, maybe they do, but the work isn’t complete until it is peer-reviewed or tested by other scientists.  You need other scientists to conduct the peer review. In the peer review process, other scientists may point out flaws, weaknesses, and/or biases in the work. The original scientist has to address it.

          Frankly:  There is rarely just one path in consideration of solving some new complex problem.

          If there is objective merit to an alternative path for solving some new complex problem, then you subject it to the scientific method and assess it.

        9. hpierce

          Well, as a product of the “applied” sciences, and many of the ‘pure’ sciences (chemistry, physics, biochemistry), I’ve never seen any evidence of liberalism nor conservatism.  Math, fact based… not philosophical…

      2. hpierce

        Nah… that well got poisoned years ago… as I grew more ‘financially’, otherwise “conservative”, with a strong science background, I went from being a Democrat to being a “no party”… I reject both for affiliation, but  given a specific candidate, or a particular issue, I use my scientific and moral compasses to decide how to vote…

        1. Marina Kalugin

          Back in the VERY old days there was a saying that if one is NOT a democrat when they are young, they have NO heart…and if one is not a republican when they get older they have no brain……or some such…

          I DON’t really subscribe to THIS as a truism, however, it appears that the young are generally more idealistic…  and the older more set in their ways…

          As one who ALWAYS prides myself as being ALL over the place on ALL topics and have been affiliated with VARIOUS parties for various reasons, but MOST usually the fringe candidates….. I also reject party affiliations and vote MY heart for the person who I truly FEEL cares and is NOT beholden to special interests….those people rarely make it in the PRES elections, but have a fighting chance in the local and state…..

          Have a good evening….   🙂





  17. Marina Kalugin

    As many here are pointing out….the myths abound and the truths are somewhere in between…

    It is NEVER all black and white and even the color WHITE is not really all white, right?

    As someone who has been following and participating in MANY causes over the many decades,  in this and other countries, and some political – mostly local and so forth.

    As someone who was SO sure there was NO place for capital punishment and then went back and forth as the times and the evidence seemed to merit……and now DNA evidence PROVES that some who were killed were actually innocent and so forth…

    There have always been setups and frameups and so forth….and corrupt police and payoffs…

    And the ONLY thing truly permanent which we all share is DEATH and taxes….

    I use THIS example of capital punishment both literally and FIGURATIVELY…as some good people get HUNG in the fray sometimes also.

    All I can say is one shouldn’t cast stones when we all live in glass houses….or some such…

    In the meantime, VOTE and vote often…vote with your HEART and VOTE for the BEST person who one thinks MAY be  trustworthy…  Almost ALL will disappoint…

    And, as we all, hopefully, learn and grow, then perhaps one will end up with a truly kinder and gentler view of things….

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)

    1. hpierce

       VOTE and vote often…

      Spend time in Chicago?  Famous tag line for a joke about voting corruption…

      I grew up in a County in CA where in the late 1800’s, dead people voted… they called it voting the graveyards… one of the reasons Redwood City is the County seat of San Mateo county, rather than San Mateo…

      1. Marina Kalugin

        you mean more than in Colma?….  I lost my uncle last year  – he ALWAYS told me to stay out of politics…did I listen?…   LOL   last year he was SO upset with Obama he said he was going to vote for KILLARY>…he was not registered for many decades…  He got his new ID card for his birthday in November and died just a few days later…   HIS ID card showed up in the mail after HIS death,,,and HIS absentee ballot may also arrive at some point…..  of course I will NOT be helping with his voting – I was working REALLY hard on him that Killary is NOT the one….but, he passed prior to even seeing what was going to happen…

        1. hpierce

          Ahhh… you must have spent some time on the SF Peninsula…  Colma is exactly correct… highest permanent population on the Peninsula!  Only around 1,500 folk who draw breath, though…  there’s also the GG National Cemetery in San Bruno.. 145,000 residents, but they are not accepting any new residents… (about 10% of Colma’s permanent residents)…

          The town motto is, “It’s great to be alive in Colma”…

  18. Marina Kalugin

    PS>   some are too young OR too old to appreciate Seinfeld….and the jokes sometimes fall flat or sometimes it is an opportunity to kinda rag on some or something……and truly, I doubt that anyone HERE cares about anyone’s sexual orientation…but I am glad that some see the humor in things…..and have a joke at the ready…   LOL

  19. Marina Kalugin

    Since this topic was brought up earlier in the day,….I am sharing this recent crime alert from the UCD Chief of Police

    The original alert came earlier in the evening…

    So unfortunate that the one or a small group of likely NON-UCD students are such vandals….  MOST hate crimes on campus are by those too stupid to know better and only do such things to continue to stir up trouble between students, the police AND the media…  NOT to mention lash out at UCD Administrators…inappropriately…

    The victim’s vehicle in this case was tagged with hate directed at our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual community.

    Anyone with information about this crime is encouraged to contact the UC Davis Police Department at 530-754-COPS.

    Matthew Carmichael
    Police Chief
    UC Davis Police Department
    Serving the Davis and Sacramento Campuses

  20. Marina Kalugin

    Dear Don,  Have YOU published any papers?  In theory what you say is correct, but in REALITY>>..that is far from FACT.

    Anyone whose research drifts from the NORMAL agreed upon ideas, has the PEERS attacking and soon the papers don’t get published or worse the funding dries up…I have now seen that in action with the MOST highly acclaimed Faculty at our UC…..NAS members who go on a limb and the limb is then cut by THEIR friends, whose research is now being disproved….  tsk tsk…

    Back not that many decades ago, those who dared to say the world was round were summarily executed since EVERYONE KNEW the earth was flat…

    It is NOT much different THESE days… me….go to pubmed and follow what happens to people who are proving that it is NOT the saturated fat and rather the HIGH CARBS and GMOS and FAKE fats….

    Those who can read OTHER languages should follow the REAL research which is NOT by the NIH nor the American Societies…like the Cancer, the Diabetes…and other vested interests…

    MDs,  who are whistleblowers end up DEAD…..see my other posts recently…

    or become the butt of  “mainstream ” websites like quackwatch….

    If you don’t want to be sick, DON’t ever follow the AMA guidelines… what Putin supports instead….

  21. Jerry Waszczuk

    I think that  undersigned Kevin Smith;Patrick Cabell;Amy Riddle;Anna Einarsdottir;Amanda Batarseh;Magnús Þór Snæbjörnsson;James Straub;Deborah Young;Zhen Zhang;D Dayton;Carmine Morrow;Sean Sell;Young Hui  have no clue that their letter has no any meaning and not should be published on Vanguard.

    If this petition  would be backed up by 500 or 1000 signatures and  would provide some undisputed facts than should be considered by Vanguard as legitimate  students concerns.  Otherwise this letter is a joke and  and on top of  this what  Palestine has to do with Ralph Hexter. ? They should address Palestine issue with Assistant Vice Chancellor Rahim Reed . He is the guy who is  enforcing  the UC Davis Manifesto “” Principles of Community ”  or in other words “Principles of UC  Davis  Communists”  “

  22. Jerry Waszczuk

    David Greenwald
    “Have you ever considered the possibility that you have the direction of causation reversed here? That influence is not from ideology to science but rather from science to ideology. In other words science is not move ideologically but rather ideology is following science.”
    David is right . Ideology is always following science and philosophy with exception to pseudo-science and pseudo -philosophy created by ideologist  to  control others.
    Richard Dawkins is more  a philosopher than scientist . He is  a  mixture of Niche , Darwin  and  Karl Marx . He we very useful for Stalin and for Hitler to use his thoughts and science it ethology and  his  evolutionary biology .

    1. quielo

      I would like to compliment Jerika on this article. I have been negative about the quality of her earlier posts but this is much more informative.

  23. Jerry Waszczuk

    “As provost, Hexter also served as an accomplice to Katehi in the failure to address numerous incidences of hate crimes, racial and gendered violence on this campus, as well as to redress the university’s troubling proscription and quelling of free speech regarding the repression of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and his continued defense of the university’s financial ties to the Israeli state which have come, justifiably, under heavy criticism. “

    I am curious whether Vanguard knows if author of this letter are Palestinians and Hamas members or  they have any affiliations with anti -Israel organisation in UC  Davis . Looks like this letter is the agenda  to attack State of Israel and Jews under umbrella of  the attack aimed at Ralph Hexter . Are these people were occupiers of the Mrak Hall ?  I will ask Melinda Guzman to check this out.

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