UCLA Stands Behind Decision to Honor Angela Davis in ‘Optimist’ Tribute

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Angela DavisDespite backlash from students, the University of California-Los Angeles is standing behind its decision to honor avowed communist Angela Davis as a part of the school’s “We, the Optimists” campaign.

The campaign, which kicked off back in 2012, is a way for the university to honor alumni who have grown to become inspirational figures. But some students didn’t agree with Davis being included in that list of alumni.

As an active leader of the Community Party USA, Davis’s reputation has been shrouded in controversy for decades.

Back in 1970, Davis was even implicated in a plot to free revolutionary George Jackson who was the brother of another radical whose Marin County courtroom takeover ended in the death of a judge and three others being held hostage.

The shotgun that fired the life-ending bullet belonged to Davis.

Davis was charged with aggravated kidnapping and first-degree murder.

She was eventually acquitted and ran for Vice President of the U.S. on the Community Party ticket.

According to some students, that history is enough to keep Davis out of the university’s campaign.

“Her selection as a UCLA optimist is not inspiring, it is unbalanced and perhaps politically motivated,” Jacob Kohlhepp, a student at UCLA and member of the Bruin Republicans, wrote on The College Fix. “What’s more, the ‘Optimists’ campaign has many powerful stories in its narrative: helping the homeless, innovating in medicine, exploring the next frontier – all of which make me feel proud to be a Bruin. Professor Davis’s actions are not in this category of inspiration.”

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 4.20.14 PMDavis first lectured at the university roughly 45 years ago before returning to teach one more class earlier this year.

University officials didn’t agree with student concerns that Davis didn’t embody the “We, the Optimists” campaign.

A spokesperson for UCLA reminded students that the campaign is all about being a trailblazer and taking risks to pursue what one believes in.

“The ‘We, the Optimists’ campaign highlights a wide variety of students, faculty, alumni and patients who embody UCLA’s relentless drive to excel and the belief that anything is possible,” a UCLA spokesperson said in a statement to FoxNews.com “Angela Davis was recognized for her efforts to stand up for her academic freedom amid calls for dismissal based on her political beliefs.”

Other prominent figures who have been honored by the same campaign include legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson, award-winning actor James Franco and Five-time Oscar winning director and writer Francis Ford Coppola.

Davis’ image is still featured as a part of the university’s campaign along with the caption “#UCLA We Question.”

 

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