This Guy Is Not An Academic

Sorry, UC Irvine, as long as Navarro is on the faculty, no donations from this graduate.

I should have done this a while ago, but I finally got around to writing the alumni association for my alma mater to explain to them how the university’s actions are making it impossible for me to donate to them. Specifically, Peter Navarro, faux academic and White House Renfield, should not be a professor at University of California at Irvine. Yeah, I know, he’s emeritus, not full time, but he still should not be on the faculty. Here’s what I wrote them, a couple of personal details removed from the original text (I wanted them to know I was a real alum):

I am a UC Irvine graduate. I am writing you to inform you that I will not donate to UC Irvine as long as Peter Navarro is on the faculty.

This is not a freedom of speech issue, but one of scholarly integrity. He already called into question his fitness for his academic post by inventing quotes from a fictional source for five of his books. (I will leave it to others to judge the quality of his work overall.) When I was a graduate student at UC Irvine, I would have reported a student for disciplinary action who invented sources.

But that is only the beginning of Navarro’s unfitness for his position in the Paul Merage School of Business. In his role as White House adviser, he has made pronouncements on medical and scientific matters, even though he has no expertise, credentials or even minimal training in these areas. He has been supportive of efforts to politicize the work of government scientists. He has evaded his own words on climate change, contributing further to the anti-science policies of the Trump Administration. 

He has embraced power over truth. He has joined the ranks of people throwing stones at scholars and experts. His words and actions are in opposition to the ethos and mission of the university, including the free exchange of ideas. My argument for his unfitness for an academic post, therefore, is not a censuring of his words. I am merely pointing out his support for the silencing and punishment of others for their free speech, and his apparent belief that political loyalty should trump science.

By continuing to employ Navarro on the faculty, UC Irvine is responsible for supporting everything I just described. Therefore, my decision not to donate to the university should not be difficult to understand.
Thank you for listening.

If any of you are graduates of UC Berkeley, you might consider a similar message about John Yoo.

FILED UNDER: Climate Change, US Politics, , , ,
About Kingdaddy
Kingdaddy is returning to political blogging after a long hiatus. For several years, he wrote about national security affairs at his blog, Arms and Influence, under the same pseudonym. He currently lives in Colorado, where he is still awestruck at all the natural beauty here. He has a Ph.D in political science that is oddly useful in his day job.


  1. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Quick FYI: I believe that your tagline needs an edit.

    Feel free to delete this comment once you’ve seen it.

  2. Kingdaddy says:

    Fixed, thanks.

  3. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    At $2.3 billion, I’m not sure how much pressure by alumni can pressure the Berkley foundation. At $234 million, alumni may be able to exert pressure on Irvine, though.

  4. JohnMcC says:

    Cancel culture! (sacrasm alert)

  5. CSK says:

    I hadn’t known about Navarro inventing quotes from fictional sources, specifically one Ron Vara, who doesn’t exist outside of Navarro’s fevered imagination. His response to a New York Times reporter who queried him about this was: “Lighten up.”

    “Ron Vara” is an anagram of “Navarro.”

    No wonder Cult45 loves this guy.

  6. ImProPer says:

    Kingdaddy, I finished a book a while ago, called “the death of expertise” by Tom Nichols, a worthwhile jeremiad on the subject. It addresses the rise in willful ignorance that is threatening our democratic institutions. In it he named a breakdown in the modern division of labor. Actual experts on a given subject being a critical segment of this division, for the success of our complex society. Faux experts, with impressive academic credentials, are more to blame for the rise in willful ignorance, than even Trump and his right wing spin apparatus. Indeed it gives an undeserved air of credulance to even their most outlandish fringe thinking. This is an obstacle to enlightened debate on critical social issues from the left of the political spectrum as well. Our politics today are a very tangled web, the fools are easy to call out, but the encouragement that they receive from acedemic charlatans, emboldens their ignorance. It is brave of you to publicly call out the institution where you earned your credentials, hopefully it will catch on with other academics and reverse the trend.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:

    Be sure to let us know if they even bother to reply

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @CSK: Wow, not just an anagram, but a ridiculously obvious one. Definitely the kind of guy who got off on seeing what he could get away with in the peer review process. No wonder he’s so shameless at this point.

  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I can more or less see how you might consider quoting Ron Vara to be a joke, and expect readers to understand that it’s a joke.

    And, I can also see how Navarro might hope that many who read the piece to not understand that it’s a joke and take it very, very seriously. I think this is what’s called a “motte-and-bailey” argument.

  10. As a fellow Anteater (yes, that’s the mascot) I say bravo (or, indeed, zot!).

  11. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I don’t wish to sound pedantic, but, quite apart from the inherent dishonesty and sloth inherent in the act, you’re not supposed to invent sources for books and articles you write in order to gain tenure at an academic institution.

  12. An Interested Party says:

    I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want your alma mater to be associated with this disingenuous dissembler

  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    (or, indeed, zot!).

    Is “zot!” a UC Irvine thing or is that the only B.C. reference I’ve seen in decades. If the latter, I’m good with it.

  14. Kingdaddy says:

    The UCI mascot is the BC anteater.

  15. Mister Bluster says:


  16. Mister Bluster says:
  17. reid says:

    @Kingdaddy: I grew up on BC. What a cool choice for a mascot.

    And, kudos for taking the time to write the letter. Our society has become way too forgiving of liars, BSers, and charlatans.

  18. keef says:

    Strong words. I wonder if they will miss the sawbuck.