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Suit charges UCLA funding hate campaign

Title: Suit charges UCLA funding hate campaign
Date: Sunday, 14 June 1992
Publisher: The Ethnic NewsWatch
Main source:

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The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) has been sued for supporting and funding a campaign of bigotry and prejudice against minority religions, spearheaded by one of its own faculty members, psychiatrist Dr. Louis Jolyn West.

UCLA's Board of Regents, UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young and West are named in the suit as information in documents obtained from the University through the Freedom of Information Act showed West has been using UCLA's authority and funding to help run a hate campaign against minority religions, violating state and federal laws.

Mario Magorski and John Van Dyke, UCLA Extension students and members of the Church of Scientology, charge that West has abused his California State employee status by using his position and state funds to lend credit to and participate in anti-religious activities of the Cult Awareness Network (CAN) and its sister organization, the American Family Foundation (AFF). Both groups target minority religions and serve as referral agencies for deprogrammers. West's membership in AFF, according to the suit, is funded by UCLA.

"It is illegal and immoral for the University to provide tens of thousands of dollars of aid to West to try to destroy any religion," stated Magorski. "We intend to see that this is stopped." The suit seeks both preliminary and permanent injunction against all parties to prevent further support of any anti-religious activities.

The students charged that West used his credentials as a professor at the school to help organize conferences and seminars against CAN's targeted list of religions and attacked these groups in speeches, while getting UCLA to pay his expenses. These included conversations in 1985, 1988, 1989, 1991 and 1992.

West, according to the suit, has also been involved in soliciting donations for CAN.

The suit also delineates West's role — while on the UCLA payroll — as a deprogrammer of an adherent of Sufism (a form of Islam) who in late 1991 was held captive in a remote cabin in Scotland. West's partner, CAN deprogrammer Joseph Szimhart, has since been arrested in the U.S. and is awaiting trial for a kidnapping he participated in just after returning from working with West in Scotland.

Magorski noted that this is not the first time that West's activities have been the subject of controversy. In 1973 West came under heavy fire for his plans to establish a "Violence Center" at UCLA which would use chemical castration, psychosurgery and early childhood testing against African-Americans for social control. West's plans generated national protests, triggered by student demonstrations on the UCLA campus.

In 1989 West was replaced as the head of the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, a position he held for 20 years.

The suit was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California.