Nebraska Republican pushes anti-CRT resolution at state university

·3 min read

The University of Nebraska (NU) is set to consider a proposal opposing critical race theory (CRT), arguing that it "does not promote inclusive and honest dialogue and education on campus."

Introduced on Wednesday, the resolution comes from NU regent and Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen.

His resolution is one of the latest Republican attempts to quell the controversial ideology's influence on American education.

Across the country, school boards and legislatures have considered similar statements or bans opposing CRT and related materials. Many of these have focused on K-12 education, although similar racial teachings have been reported in higher education.

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"As a father of four, a University of Nebraska regent, and a candidate for governor, I cannot be more clear: I believe critical race theory is factually and morally wrong," Pillen said in a press release. "I do not believe in teaching children to judge each other on the basis of their skin color. There is no place in our classrooms for this ideology."

According to Pillen's campaign, the Board of Regents will address the resolution at August's meeting.

It reads in part: "Whereas we oppose discrimination in any form and whereas critical race theory does not promote inclusive and honest dialogue and education on campus and whereas critical race theory proponents seek to silence opposing views and disparage important American ideals, be it resolved that the regents of the University of Nebraska oppose any imposition of critical race theory in curriculum."

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While it's difficult to track resolutions like these, Pillen's campaign claims he's the first public university regent in the country to introduce such a resolution.

Bill Richardson, a Cornell Law School professor and founder of criticalrace.org, which tracks CRT training in higher education, told Fox News that Pillen's resolution gave an honest account of CRT's downsides.

"Numerous universities and colleges have issued public statements supporting, and in some cases mandating, a critical race theory approach to the curriculum, usually using code words such as 'antiracism' or ‘equity,’" he told Fox News via email.

"The proposed U. Nebraska Regents Resolution stands apart in that it gives an honest account of the downside of CRT in practice, which too often results in a narrowing of campus viewpoints. The resolution does not ‘ban’ CRT from the curriculum, to the contrary, it opposes ‘imposition’ of CRT, and in so doing seeks to foster an open campus intellectual environment."

Other regents have encountered requests surrounding CRT in higher education. For example, South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently asked the state's Board of Regents, which oversees six public universities, to consider whether public funds were utilized to support certain racial materials.

"This could include the advancement or promotion of ‘action civics,’ the 1619 Project, critical race theory, or similar theory that misleads students into believing the country is evil or was founded upon evil," she wrote. Kansas' public universities received a similar request from a state legislator.

Both Noem and Pillen have signed onto 1776 Action's anti-CRT pledge, which has also gained traction in Kansas' and Virginia's gubernatorial races.

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NU did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

Defenders generally argue that CRT-type materials help enhance dominant groups' understanding and empathy of what the oppressed experience on a regular basis. Trainings have also been promoted as ways to "dismantle" or weaken alleged structures imposing burdens through bias and discrimination.

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Angela Onwuachi-Willig, an expert on critical race theory at Boston University School of Law, told the Boston Globe that critical race theory helped people understand the complexity of race – beyond "simple" narratives that they may have been taught.

"Racism is not extraordinary," she continued. "Race and racism are basically baked into everything we do in our society. It’s embedded in our institutions. It’s embedded in our minds and hearts."

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