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NEWSFLASH: I DIDN’T KILL DENICE DENTON

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 6, 2006 02:01 PM

The blog of the libertarian magazine “Reason” is titled “Hit and Run.”

They can run, but they cannot hide. And I’m not going to let them get away with their latest hit.

Last night, Glenn Reynolds linked to this Hit and Run post by David Weigel, who crassly attempts to connect my criticism of UC Santa Cruz’s anti-military thugs with the recent suicide of the school’s deeply troubled president, Denice Denton.

Weigel accuses me of “smearing” Denton because I simply asked people to take a stand and quoted from a San Francisco Chronicle article reporting that the capitulationist administration knew about the anti-military activists’ plans weeks in advance and had hoped that they would be rained out.

Weigel accuses me of throwing around charges of “treason” and “traitors,” neither of which I used in any of my blog posts on the anti-recruiting brigade at Santa Cruz. “Seditious,” yes. Treasonous, no. Not that it seems to make a difference to Weigel in his quest to label me a reckless labeler. Treason. Sedition. Whatever. Right, Weigel?

And take a look at that shameless last paragraph:

“While no one is suggesting that her readers pushed Denton over the edge…”

Of course, that is exactly what is being suggested:

“…Malkin has said nothing about the chancellor since her suicide. It might become her to apologize for smearing an academic, and directing people to direct their outrage to her office, in what were the final troubled months of her life.”

Weigel attacks me for not saying anything about Denton’s suicide. Crikey. If I had said anything, his ilk would have jumped all over me for not having the compassion to keep quiet about her various scandals and corruptocrat ways and let her loved ones mourn in peace.

Finally, Weigel wants me to “apologize” for supplying readers with the public office phone number and contact info of a prominent and outspoken public official.

So much for free markets, free minds, and free speech. Are we to withhold criticism now of all public figures because they might be going through “troubled” times and any call for accountability might send them over the edge?

What’s so libertarian about that?

***

Here’s a passage from the Mercury News’ spotlight of Denton’s troubled tenure:

As a stunned university community attempted to come to terms Sunday with the apparent suicide of University of California-Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton, the reasons why she plunged to her death from the roof of a San Francisco skyscraper remained a mystery.

But friends and colleagues said one thing was clear: Denton, a somewhat shy engineer who moved from Seattle to take the top UC-Santa Cruz job 16 months ago, had a difficult time adjusting to the high public profile and political pressures of her new assignment.

Although an accomplished scientist, Denton seemed to take personally many of the criticisms that are inherent with the job.

“When you are a chancellor, particularly in a relatively small community like Santa Cruz, you are the show in town,” said Karl Pister, UC-Santa Cruz chancellor from 1991 to 1996. “Everything that happens makes the news. You lose your private life….”

Liz Irwin, the campus spokeswoman, said Denton’s legacy is the group of women and people of color she encouraged to pursue science.

But almost from the moment she took the $275,000-a-year job as UC-Santa Cruz’s ninth leader, she faced turmoil.

The UC system did not initially reveal it had also hired Kalonji to a newly created position in the UC Office of the President that paid $192,000 annually, which drew calls of nepotism from employee unions. Kalonji, an engineering professor, was Denton’s romantic partner for nine years.

More recently, Denton’s name surfaced in a UC executive compensation scandal because she received benefits that weren’t disclosed when she was hired. She also came under fire for adding a $30,000 dog run as part of $600,000 in renovations to the chancellor’s campus home.

At the same time, Santa Cruz residents organized to try to fight the university’s planned expansion to 21,000 students, student groups protested tuition increases, and conservative commentators criticized her vehemently after student protesters forced military recruiters to leave the campus during a job fair.

“In my personal opinion, there was a lot of unfair treatment,” campus spokeswoman Irwin said. She noted that Denton made it a point to meet with students at all 10 of UC-Santa Cruz’s colleges, and regularly met with high school students.

I won’t link to Weigel’s e-mail address, because if I do and he gets even one mildly upsetting message, “Reason” libertarians will hold me responsible for any headaches, stomach upset, halitosis, or incurable rashes incurred.

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