Conservative scholar Steven Hayward to teach at UC Berkeley

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Steven Hayward is no stranger to controversy.

While he was the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado in 2014, his statements in the media were called “oppressive and discriminatory” by student leaders, he was the subject of multiple editorials in the Denver Post and the chairman of the faculty assembly said his statements “bordered on hate speech.”

But at the end of his one-year term, he still called the experience overwhelmingly positive. And this fall, he’s coming to UC Berkeley.

Hayward, the conservative columnist and Ronald Reagan Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, begins a three-year term as a visiting scholar at the campus Institute for Governmental Studies, where he will teach classes and hold events in an attempt to expose UC Berkeley to conservative thought.

“I like large challenges,” Hayward said. “I wanted to get out of the conservative ghetto; I spent most of my adult life in conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C.”

Starting in January, Hayward will teach a course on U.S. constitutional law in the political science department. He intends to teach a course at the UC Berkeley School of Law on executive power and administrative lawmaking with professor John Yoo, who is known for his role in the production of a series of memoranda on “war on terror” policies, dubbed the “Torture Memos,” during the George W. Bush administration.

“We don’t apply a litmus test to people who are going to teach classes,” said Eric Schickler, chair of the department of political science. “We want to ensure it’s a high-quality course.”

Schickler said the department doesn’t have any faculty qualified to teach the constitutional law course that Hayward will teach. In the past, the course has been taught by a graduate student.

Susan Gluss, spokesperson for Berkeley Law, said in an email that Hayward’s appointment to the law school is still under review. She added in the email that in the search for instructors, Berkeley Law “(attempts) to generate a pool of candidates with diverse backgrounds and points of view.”

Hayward’s conservative bona fides are not in doubt. In his 2012 book, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Presidents: From Wilson to Obama,” Hayward gave his personal ranking of modern presidents. Calvin Coolidge earned the lone A+ while Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton all received Fs. Barack Obama received a provisional F. Hayward says he hasn’t given Obama a final grade yet.

While he may be publicly vocal in his beliefs, Hayward says that he separates his personal political beliefs from his teaching.

“I try to be scrupulous,” Hayward said. “You try to present the full spectrum of opinions on subjects.”

In the past, Hayward has been criticized for language that some have called insensitive. In Boulder, student leaders took issue with comments he made in a blog post on the conservative blog Power Line, in which he criticized a university gender equity training as a “gender-bending diversity mandate.”

In a post on Power Line announcing his campus appointment, Hayward joked that in the class he plans to teach with John Yoo, they are “thinking of offering the students a choice for course grading: a 25-page research paper, or being waterboarded.

In response, John Birke, a 1989 graduate of Berkeley Law, sent a letter to interim dean of Berkeley Law Melissa Murray opposing Hayward’s proposed appointment, accusing Hayward of bullying environmentalists and having ties to the industrialist billionaires, the Koch brothers.

When asked about his reference to waterboarding, Hayward said those offended “need to get a sense humor.”

Berkeley Law declined to comment on the joke.

Jesse Choper, former dean of Berkeley Law and professor emeritus at the school, supports the appointment of a conservative lecturer in what he believes is a left-leaning field, saying that it’s an advantage to have a wide array of ideological political views expressed.

“It’s a joke,” Choper said. “Maybe it was a bad joke. I think you’re better off avoiding bad jokes.”

Austin Weinstein is the lead academics and administration reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @austwein.

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  • Alastor

    Why is it that the members of the John Bircke society keep trying to ban professors and speakers whose political beliefs do not agree with them ?

  • lspanker

    Schickler said the department doesn’t have any faculty qualified to
    teach the constitutional law course that Hayward will teach.

    That doesn’t say much for Cal’s Poly Sci department, does it?

  • JohnBirke

    Wow, this is atrocious reporting. I wrote the letter to Boalt Hall’s interim dean Melissa Murray, who gave me a prompt, thoughtful response, for which I thanked her. She advised me that Hayward has not yet been offered the position at Boalt Hall. I invite the Daily Californian to publish my letter to allow readers to decide for themselves whether my criticisms of Hayward revolved around “a joke,” or if his general, misogynist boorishness is the full extent of what disqualifies him from any position at U.C. Berkeley. As I did Dean Murray, I asked Mr. Weinstein to look at Hayward’s published articles on the far-right, Koch Brothers-funded mouthpiece website “Powerline,” as well as the responses to his and the other authors’ posts by loyal Powerline readers identified by the blog as “Top Commenters.” Mysteriously, though, on checking Powerline on August 30, 2016, I saw that every response to every post had been scrubbed. Vanished. Disappeared. I told Mr. Weinstein this, but he didn’t see fit to include it in his article. Mr. Weinstein’s lazy, hackneyed use of the term notwithstanding, Steven Hayward is not a “conservative”; he is in every sense a reactionary. But that’s not the reason his employment by Boalt disgraces the reputation of one of the most prestigious law schools in the country. It is the fraudulent self-billing as a “scholar” by a man who is the antithesis of scholarship, a man whose body of work has literally — and I use this word correctly — been bought and paid for by corporate, climate science denialists, those seeking to privatize every vestige of the public sphere, including education (while seeking perpetually to benefit from his ensconcement in it), and the Republican Party.

    • lspanker

      Nice to see you’re remaining objective.

      • JohnBirke

        What does that even mean?

        • lspanker

          Hmm, perhaps posting here is a bit above your pay grade…

    • Eddie Principal

      Looks like somebody got your panties in a twist. Why don’t you go spray some smokers with your water bottle. If you don’t get beaten to a pulp you will probably feel better

  • ShadrachSmith

    Best of luck Steven. Universities are an away game for rational thought :-)

    • lspanker

      Well, it looks like the usual suspects are back to flagging posts that step on their cherished beliefs…

      • ShadrachSmith

        That’s why I eventually learned to phrase my comments politely. Consider them an unfriendly editor, you have the skills to work around bigger problems than that. Remember, the purpose of posting is to make your side look good.

        • lspanker

          I was quite civil in my response. I merely dared suggest that gender is not the arbitrary construct that a certain person who is confused about such matter suggests it to be.

  • Arafat

    I didn’t know Berkeley’s by-laws allowed the administration to hire anyone who was not way left of center. I think it’s terrible that a university that “embraces diversity” should hire someone who has views that do not conform. {Sarc/off}

  • Pixilicious

    First the University shelters John Yoo, now this guy and his hate speech … what’s next, hiring Donald Trump and David Duke for the new major in White Nationalism?

    Perhaps this will be the straw that broke the Radical Right’s back on campus. Students need to give this clown a warm welcome.

    • Steven Richards

      “Perhaps this will be the straw that broke the Radical Right’s back on campus.”

    • Eddie Principal

      Sure [email protected], this university is a hotbed of the radical right.

      Have you been tested because you might be retarded.

  • Brian Carter

    Good, we welcome opposing opinions here. But don’t be surprised when some of your core beliefs are controverted by astute students who cite peer-reviewed articles, non-partisan policy reports, and hard facts. The beauty of Berkeley is how well it teaches students to evaluate and use evidence. You’ll learn as much from the students as they’ll learn from you.

    • JohnBirke

      It’s not a matter of Steve”s having a “differing opinion.” It’s a matter of his never having produced a published work that could be considered scholarly by any objective academic criterion (unless you consider mawkishly whitewashed panegyrics to Ronald Reagan scholarly). It’s a matter of using your Koch Brothers and Republican donor blog to regurgitate Koch Brothers attacks on climate scientists and environmentalists (whom Steve, in his inimitable drunken frat boy parlance, calls “green weenies”). It’s a matter of giving credence to universally discredited climate science deniers, such as the author of “Watt’s Up with That?” It’s a matter of his blog’s stock in trade being unbridled contempt and hatred for public universities and their students — particularly female students — even as he demands to be given a sinecure at those universities. If I were paying $40,000 in tuition per year, I would sure be outraged that my university is forcing me, in order to attain my degree, to be subjected to the propaganda spewed by a living, breathing lickspittle of the anti-intellectual, anti-science, misogynistic right. I suspect students will be voting with their feet when it comes to Steve’s class.

      • lspanker

        “Reagan, SQUAWK! Koch Brothers, SQUAWK! propaganda SQUAWK! SQUAWK! SQUAWK!”

        Liberal want a cracker?

      • Eddie Principal

        At least he has never been evicted from his apartment…….unlike you

        • JohnBirke

          Zounds! Zing! Boom! Pow! Someone didn’t sleep through Oppo Research 101. Is that you, Mr. Dini of Dini Computing Services in La Jolla, CA? And do you know for a fact Hayward’s never been evicted from an apartment? Maybe for sexually harassing women tenants? Or being drunk and disorderly?

  • BerkPed

    If no one signs up for his course, will the university fire him?

    • Oliver Vincent Cabana

      Don’t worry about that! He’s teaching a political science class, I didn’t get to pick the classes I wanted until I had my senior standing lol.

  • Paul Anderson

    Don’t come here, fool.

    “Based on Laffer curve arguments, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback greatly reduced state tax rates in 2012.[22][23] The state, which had previously had a budget surplus, experienced a budget deficit of about $200 million in 2012. Drastic cuts to state funding for education and infrastructure have been implemented because of the budget deficits.[24]”

    If your Pacific “Research” Institute money dried up, get a job. We don’t owe you a paid podium.

    • Mark Talmont

      Compare the poverty rates and bond ratings for California and Kansas. Even after the recent downgrade Kansas has better creditworthiness than California, which brings up the rear for all 50 states along with Hellinois.

      • Pixilicious

        California has the 5th largest economy in the world and has a $20 billion surplus while the Los Angeles Times (hardly a bastion of liberal thought) describes Kansas as a “smoking ruin”. Revenues are declining, unemployment — at record lows in CA and the nation — are skyrocketing, roads are going unrepaired, schools budgets are declining and there’s a projected $600 million budget deficit in 2017 … except that KS has a law *prohibiting* deficits. That means even more massive cuts.

        You are, at best, an idiot and at worst a deceitful liar. So, which is it?

        http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-kansas-a-smoking-ruin-20140709-column.html

        • lspanker

          Los Angeles Times (hardly a bastion of liberal thought)

          Looks like you just shot down your own credibility right there, Princess.

    • lspanker

      BTW, there is a U.S. Supreme Court appointment that needs approving, but conservative constitutional law “experts” have decided not to show up for work

      So now the Republicans are doing the same thing to Democrat-nominated appointees that the Dems have been doing for years? Good for them finally realizing that two can play that game – and thanks for that example of how liberals get outraged when the same tactics they have been pulling for years are finally thrown back in their faces.

      • Steven Richards

        “Your good is no money here.” What a knee-slapper!
        That Paula chirps like an even more unfunny Samantha B.

    • Eddie Principal

      No tikee no laundry.

  • lspanker

    When he was the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado in 2014, his statements in the media were called “oppressive and discriminatory” by students leaders, he was the subject of multiple editorials in the Denver Post and the chairman of the faculty assembly said his statements “bordered on hate speech.”

    Those comments are more of an indictment of a generation of wussified special snowflakes who can’t handle criticism than of this professor. The self-centered, immature, perennial crybabies who throw a tantrum any time a viewpoint different from theirs is presented on a college campus are going to have a tough time making it in the real world outside of academia…

    • pnemeth

      Don’t worry. They’ll stay in academia forever and indoctrinate a new generation of snowflakes.

    • Pixilicious

      Well, let’s see … This outstanding citizen’s take on “gender identification”?? In his words, transsexuals are “against human nature” and (in a contorted definition of “community”) the LGBTQ community cannot actually exist.

      He goes further to suggest that, for him, sexual equipment is the final determinant of gender identification and that discussion to the contrary is simply “nonsense”.

      Yeah, let’s pay THIS guy to teach because, apparently, willful ignorance is something the University of California wants to encourage.

      http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2013/10/off-on-a-gender-bender.php

      • lspanker

        This outstanding citizen’s take on “gender identification”?? In his words, transsexuals are “against human nature” and (in a contorted definition of “community”) the LGBTQ community cannot actually exist… He goes further to suggest that, for him, sexual equipment is the final determinant of gender identification

        You mean people in Kansas have enough common sense to know that someone with male genitalia due to having XY chromosomes doesn’t automatically become female because he “feels like a woman”, or dresses in women’s clothes, or undergoes disfiguring cosmetic surgery to play along with his particular fantasy. Congratulations for the people of Kansas who apparently have more common sense than Californians, and who can see that the gender-confused Emperor has no clothes.

      • lspanker

        Hmm, I see my reply to you got flagged. I guess it’s easier to do that than come up with a reasoned argument as to why what I posted was wrong…