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May 6, 2015

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Nevada Wonk

Dina Titus responds to UNLV College Republicans’ attacks

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Dina Titus

After months of keeping quiet, Dina Titus hit back this week at UNLV College Republicans who are running a campaign against her.

"I just thought it was time the facts got out there," Titus told the Sun. "I think they have not been telling the truth."

After losing re-election last fall to Republican Rep. Joe Heck, Titus, a Democrat, returned to teaching political science at UNLV. Within weeks, the College Republicans launched a vicious campaign against her, criticizing her course load and campus radio show and accusing her of using university resources to further her political career.

Five months later, the attacks continue.

Matthew Jarzen, former president of the College Republicans, last week wrote an editorial in the UNLV Rebel Yell rehashing the College Republicans' claims that Titus cheated at a debate, receives an unfair salary and has an unusually light workload.

It was the last attack Titus took quietly. She wrote a rebuttal letter to the editor four days later.

In it, she accused the College Republicans of violating university policy by leaving pamphlets disparaging her in the Student Union and said the group has its facts wrong.

"Until now I have chosen to ignore their misguided actions, thinking they would grow tired of attacking me since I am no longer a candidate or an elected official and would instead devote their time and energy to something productive like opposing cuts to higher education," Titus wrote. "But because The Rebel Yell continues to give them unwarranted attention, thereby perpetuating their false charges and untruths, I feel compelled to respond."

Titus said she does not earn $100,000 to teach one class, as her critics allege.

In reality, Titus earns $107,855 annually. This semester she will take home $53,958 for teaching one class, hosting a radio show and collaborating with the Black Mountain Institute.

Titus also disputed the College Republicans' claims that her radio show is a front to promote her next campaign.

"The show is not political; and as the topic changes from week to week, it takes a lot of time and effort to get up to speed on subjects as diverse as human rights, urban planning in 19th century Paris, nuclear policy, the Vietnam War and Shakespeare," Titus wrote.

Titus again stressed that she is not a candidate. But she has said in the past that she is leaving all of her options open, and she is widely believed to be considering another Congressional run.

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  1. Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

  2. Dr. Titus you turned down multiple offers to meet with the college Republicans even pulling a no-show on them when you agreed to meet so you have no reason to complain. If they got the facts wrong it is your fault at this point.

    Ms. Goldberg, did you try and contact the college Republican students before posting this article? It would be nice to hear their side of the story. I hope that comes in the full article tomorrow.

  3. These "College Republicans" are the same ones that agree with Governor BS about SLASHING higher education - they came to UNLV to destroy, not to study, get a degree or render the truth.

    Yes, it is better for the Republicans to remain silent, for their own sake, rather then sounding and appearing like the Fascist Brown Shirts they imitate.

    What enrages Republicans most is to hear speech that does not reflect their political opinions. Why bother to talk with rabid minds that will never respond to logic? Its a complete waste of time.

  4. Let me clarify my earlier post--she should have kept her mouth shut and by doing so would have saved herself the hassles. I thought this whole thing had blown over and then she brings it up.

  5. Look, I supported and voted for Dina Titus and may just do so again...maybe not. I'm willing to give Congressman Dr. Heck a shot, but if he keeps on going the way of the Ryan Budget and morphing Medicare and Social Security into "privatized" programs, well folks, forget that.
    Ms. Titus lost by only 2000 votes. I know many progressives who sat out the election because the Democrats didn't negotiate for a "public option" in the new health care law, which btw is turning out to be a blessing for many people. No more preexisting conditions for an insurance company to deny your claim. You can keep your kids on your insurance now til they are 26 if they can't qualify for any on their own. For many of us who have run up hundreds of thousands of dollars in hospital bills, no more caps on coverage. We ALL know people who have been there...maybe even YOU.
    The Dems failed in the last election because they were running as Republican lite, NOT because the country took a sharp turn to dismantle our way of life. Ms. Angle, anybody?
    Even repealing "don't ask, don't tell", a move supported by an OVERWHELMING majority of Americans couldn't be accomplished by the Dems until AFTER the election in a lame duck session. I know folks who stayed out of the last election because of that, too! Robert and I were staying home last election, til she called on us personally to motivate us to get out and vote.
    Frankly, I could care less if she eats her cheese individually wrapped. Or if she drinks a cheap wine. Maybe Speaker Boehner drinks an even cheaper wine. As long as Congresswoman Titus promoted policy that benefited us and managed her affairs legally, well then,that's fine with me. John Ensign should have taken lessons from Ms. Titus on moral behavior and good policy. And we will look to see if Congressman Heck has the independence to vote to protect the programs that our parents and grandparents promised future generations of Americans which made our country great.
    Stuart & Robert Wyman-Cahall
    Las Vegas, NV 89142

  6. Kettlestone6, need I refer to your 2pm post which violates the Sun's "no personal attack" policy?

    Mr. Becker, the budget cuts are large, but hardly devastating. Once you include the tuition increases and fees the cuts appear less than 5 percent of their overall budget (excluding capital costs and athletics).

    Turriabla, shhhh you'll give away my trade secrets. :P

  7. These attacks against Professor Titus are orchestrated assaults against her person, violating NSHE student codes of conduct, and they are endorsed by Congressman Heck and the Republican establishment. They keep rehashing the same old ideas, like shouting into a canyon to hear the echo of their own voices.

    But that's the trouble with right-wingers these days: they haven't come up with a new idea in two decades!

  8. "GOP lawmakers face hostility as they tout Medicare changes"

    "FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- In Orlando, a congressional town meeting erupted into near chaos Tuesday as attendees accused a Republican lawmaker of trying to dismantle Medicare while providing tax cuts to corporations and affluent Americans."

    THIS is the platform of the College Republicans - it is no wonder that all they have are complaints: they have no platform, no solution for jobs.

    Instead of banging on Titus, let's hear a plan for JOBS. Where are the bright College Republicans when it comes time to develop ideas for Jobs? Taking commands from the handlers on the outside, no doubt.

  9. College "republicans"..
    Oxymoronic, for the most part.
    Most of em' like to THINK for THEMSELVES, that's why they're there.

    Dina Titus ought to be left alone by these class clowns.

    I'd chalk it up to youthful exuberance, but there's more to it, like a 36 year-old POLITICAL ACTIVIST leading the kiddies at their game...

    "Ciavola, 36, is a seasoned political activist who acknowledges he's "not a 19-year-old trying to juggle schoolwork and this with no political experience."

    Kind of sounds like the UNLV young Reaganite's are being USED...

    And what the heck does Patrick's Ropin', Wranglin', Rustlin'
    rhetoric have to do with it???

  10. "Dr." Unger,

    Your rhetoric is a bit over the top. There is no way this is an assault nor a violation of student code of conduct. Show some dignity and rationality please.

  11. I see someone's got their panties in a bunch...
    and so self-righteous...
    DEFINITELY Republican material...
    You GO, girl!!!

  12. Maybe the sun should reconsider the comments section...perhaps no more anonymous posting should be allowed.

  13. The students who distributed libelous pamphlets personally attacking Dr. Titus engaged in the harassment of a faculty member; they deliberately attempt to interfere with the usual and customary conduct of this good professor's duties. I believe these are violations of NSHE code.

    Also, multiple witnessed accounts describe members of this group engaging in deliberately disruptive behavior at the Board of Regents meeting on 4/8/11 at DRI; as well as on campus, including heckling: I believe these actions are also against the NSHE code, as follows:

    Title II NSHE Code, Chapter 6.2.2

    d. The intentional disruption or unauthorized interruption of functions of the System, including but not limited to classes, convocations, lectures, meetings, recruiting interviews and social events, on or off premises of the System;

    And more to the point of this "Sun" article, in this group's "attack" pamphlets left in the Student Union:

    q. Acts of academic dishonesty (in the false accusations in their pamphlets).

    Also: the "robocall" put out by this group against Dr. Titus (allegedly sponsored by Heck supporters), deliberately attempted to interfere with the daily functions of UNLV Administration.

    I strongly belive one or more of these students should be reprimanded. Still: one benefit is that their actions are so repulsive to most students on campus that every time they advocate for something, this group motivates dozens of new students to register to vote as Democrats.

    All anyone has to do is say: which party just voted to cut your Pell grant? Do you want to register to vote?

    So: keep it up, right-wingers. Your over-kill is killing your own cause!

  14. I've always pictured you as a petty little tyrant Mr. Unger, push this any further and you will confirm my suspicions. UNLV's bogus anti-free speech rules aside, you're really having to stretch the interpretation of these rules to reach this conclusion. But please do try and bully the students I will love watching the political fallout.

  15. For the life of me I can't justify any amount of money being paid to this nutcase liberal. If she practiced what she promoted and preached when she was in office, she would be doing her job for the same pay she forced down many American throats, no more than unemployment compensation or welfare payments. Furthermore, she should not be allowed to teach anyone, she'll force feed her liberal agenda down the throats of young Americans to further their sick immoral liberal agenda. She needs to pack her bags and go back home where she belongs.

  16. Professor Unger:

    I have a couple non-partisan questions (interlude)

    If the College Republicans violated University policy, why haven't they been subject to disciplinary action, either as a group or as students? Or have such actions been started.

    Where does free speech begin and end on this one? This is an extremely touchy issue, because Dina Titus is a public figure. Would the rules be somewhat different if she stated "I am retiring from politics and public life"?

    I am curious about how this whole thing works.

  17. Comment removed by moderator. Name-calling.

  18. Free speech rights do not cover the disruption of usual and customary activities of a college campus, nor justify the harassment of a professor. False allegations against a professor plus these activities may constitute violations of student conduct codes.

    Whether they do or not: Dr. Titus is a Political Science professor, one of the best and most distinguished in our state's history.

    Furthermore: Professor Titus serves on the Civil Rights Commission of the United States. This position alone would justify a course release, as UNLV is a part of a federal agreement that requires universities everywhere to support faculty assigned federal duties as part of the exchange for federal funds.

    Again: the right-wing agenda is over-kill, and morally wrong to harass a distinguished professor in her workplace. Time for the wing-nuts to find another target, and let learning go on without disruptions!

  19. P.S.: Really, no one wants to file a formal grievance against this extremist fringe of students, least of all Dr. Titus; still, what they did does constitute, I believe, a grievable offense if only based on academic dishonesty.

    I.E.: lying about politicians in public forums and especially in advertisements goes on all the time (and on both sides of the political divide) without libel suits because of the "public figure" immunity from litigation. However, a teacher in a classroom or on a campus may be a different matter: personally, I think Dr. Titus should sue this group for defamation of character.

    Larger issue: for Heck supporters allegedly to sponsor a robocall on behalf of this group in order deliberately to barrage all administration telephones with phone calls is not right; it so interferes with vital university business that it constitutes an intentional effort to harass and disrupt. This is not "free speech". If students want to speak on campus, they can; if they wish to carry signs in front of buildings, they can. But to use lies and innuendoes to interfere with learning and administration is not only against NSHE code, it is indecent, and wrong.

    To close: as a general rule, very few professors I know tell students how to vote or for whom to vote; all we say is: register to vote. Inform yourselves of the issues and the candidates. Vote!

  20. Good Morning Douglas:

    I think we are getting close to the heart of the matter. There appears at least one or so principle at play in this discussion.

    The threshold question is Dina Titus solely a teacher in a classroom? The obvious answer in no.

    The only question that is left is where does the public figure stop and private/university person begin? Is it possible to draw a line here? Having a public figure comes with certain baggage--and that is drawing the line. The radio program is particularly difficult. The fact that she is a public figure, with name recognition, makes her an attractive from a radio show perspective. Indeed the qualities of a political personality are well-aligned with the qualities needed in the media. However, such a program provides her with visibility, however, she cites this a part of her workload. Other defeated candidates were not given a weekly program.

    Similar questions can be raised regarding the College Republicans. The name of the group suggests that it is a political organization and can be expected to exercise the right of free speech. In many respects, the same academic freedom that exists on campus cannot exist and prosper in the absence of free speech. How does academia deal with the public figure on campus?

    If she were to state that she were not a candidate or not interested in public office, the College Republicans could take a hike. But she has chosen not to.

  21. Douglas--why not suggest to Dina that she write something about these questions for this rag?


  22. What I really dislike about this was that this wasn't started by some young college kids looking to get into politics. Mark Ciavola is a former employee of Heck and the Republican National Committee.

  23. Bottom line: when College Republicans interfere with the rights of the majority of tuition-paying students to pursue their educations, for ANY reason, they are in violation of conduct codes. They do not have the right to disrupt the educations of their fellow students. I believe they have crossed the line in recent weeks.

    Free speech is always to be defended. Let them or any student group speak out all they wish; but let them do it within the standards of conduct that allow their fellow students and the administration of UNLV to carry out the larger goals and missions of higher education.

  24. Maybe the College Republicans could also be invited to submit something.

  25. Wow. The Glenn Beck followers on here are laughable.

  26. Mr. Unger,

    First, even I've been offered a seat at the table with the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. As for bright, she certainly is. Distinguished - maybe, being an experienced politician certainly makes her distinguished. As for scholarly, I don't really know.

    Second, what they're saying isn't entirely false. She is earning a pretty penny for teaching 1 class. Yes, she has other duties, like all professors - she could have cleared this up months ago if she wanted to. Instead she ignored them. That said, this doesn't mean the college Republicans are assaulting her. Give me a break.

    I think the College Republicans are entirely within their rights to question why she only has to teach 1 class - half that of a normal highly paid tenured professor who also has other duties.

    As for disrupting, pamphlets and press releases don't disrupt unless you're an overemotional irrational political wingnut looking for an excuse to make a fuss.

  27. Mr. Unger,

    It seems your definition of free speech is "agree with me or else"

  28. @keystone6--actually you asked at least three questions.

  29. Keystone6--you really ought to follow your own advice for a change and know what you are talking about before voicing an opinion.

  30. Sadly, all I'm seeing here is a bunch of nasty, emotional, and illogical attacks on highly-regarded professors commensurate with the "anti-intellectual" spirit promulgated by extremists. Contrary to the views that professors only teach in the classroom, they do a lot more which includes research (generating knowledge), individually training students as advisors (e.g. for the Masters and Ph.D. degrees), performing service to their university (committee service, e.g.), and service to the community. In communities that understand the critical importance of educated folk, professors are considered local leaders - experts to consult when a crisis erupts (such as the recently global-warming-related record-setting tornadoes in the South or the Tsunami-related disaster in Japan). Without professors generating knowledge and expertise via research and training the next generation of scholars by sharing this hard-earned knowledge, our "Superpower" status will rapidly dwindle toward Third World status.