I have just read Mr. Klein’s latest post. I was not an active party to any events a year ago, I am not now, and I do not speak for UCLA. I can only give my own opinion on the matter.
The UCLA Anderson Dean (and my friend), Professor Antonio Bernardo, is not allowed to comment on personnel-related matters and on pending litigation. UCLA legal rules prohibit this. It does not give outsiders the appropriate perspective when only Mr. Klein goes on the attack on national Fox News and beyond. I also resent that Professor Bernardo has no choice but to be his Piñata.
In his latest post, I find it offensive that Mr. Klein publicly insinuates motives into Professor Bernardo’s actions. He could not possibly know them. I could not name anyone with more personal integrity than Professor Bernardo.
As to Mr. Klein’s general views voiced on academic freedom and tolerance (which he now more appropriately discusses outside an accounting course), I not only respect them, I also share many if not most of them. Universities should encourage the voicing of more unpopular and uncomfortable opinions. Some universities and departments seem more like 1984 than Voltaire. The Heterodox Academy advocates for the ability to voice offensive views — nobody else needs to agree. Provocative, controversial, and offensive views are often good. The silent majority of intellectuals probably supports free speech, too.
However, my problem here is not academic freedom but academic context. Mr. Klein is a lecturer hired and paid only to teach our students the specific subject of accounting as good as he can — just as it is my job as a professor to research and teach finance as good as I can. (When I have opinions about causes, I can post them here and do not email them to berate my students. I discuss them in class when they are relevant to my subject of teaching, even if they are unpopular.)
I wish Mr. Klein would have focused on his job. A simple “no” to a student inquiry would have been quite sufficient. I also wish the students had never publicly posted Mr. Gordon’s response. In my mind, both Mr. Klein and the students’ actions were gratuitous, but neither were serious offenses. I do resent that both have caused unnecessary distractions from Anderson’s educational mission and that these distractions are now extending even further.
It seems that Mr. Klein has been enjoying the publicity that his victimhood, case, and public appearances have bestowed on him. We can only hope that his new-found national publicity will not further harm his consulting practice.
Clarification: Mr. Klein is not a professor. He is merely a continuing lecturer. The fact that he still is so after decades speaks volumes.