CSU professor tangles with John and Ken on Prop. 30


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It is not clear whether Cal State Fresno professor Marn Cha knew what he was getting into when he agreed to be a guest on the conservative John and Ken Show on KFI-AM radio Wednesday. But within minutes on air he would find himself getting yelled at.

John and Ken had a copy of exam questions for the professor’s class that antitax activists have been emailing around this week. One question, in particular, drew the ire of the talk show hosts:


“Argue for virtues of Proposition 30 by referring to relevant parts of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s political philosophy (Note: You will not earn any credit at all just by saying what Prop 30 is all about. Your goal is to demonstrate that you can use J.J. Rousseau’s ideas and concepts to explain the rationale for Prop. 30.)”

Proposition 30, of course, is the ballot measure Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing to temporarily raise billions of dollars in taxes on sales and the incomes of high earners. The Cal State system, which would lose hundreds of millions of dollars in funding if the measure fails, has been accused of illegally using state resources to pressure students and applicants to vote for the measure. University officials recently warned professors to cool it with the campaigning in classroom.

John and Ken accused the professor of breaking the law, manipulating his students, abusing taxpayer trust.

Professor Cha made a spirited defense.

“No, no,” he said. The exam question was “not to advocate. It is really to use current affairs as a vehicle through which to advance their learning.”

The hosts quickly drowned out their guest with a lecture on propaganda. They then asked him if students who oppose the measure get a lower grade. The professor said that is not the case, but also chided, “the grade is my business. Not yours.”

Things got uglier from there. Have a listen.


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-- Evan Halper in Sacramento