Several South Carolina members of Congress are calling on the state’s two most prominent universities to stop teaching a field of study called Critical Race Theory.
Critical Race Theory, founded in the ‘70s, is a field of study that examines how social institutions, such as law enforcement, banking, school funding, zoning and more, have created or exacerbated racial inequality.
The letter was signed Monday by Reps. Ralph Norman, William Timmons, Nancy Mace, Joe Wilson, Tom Rice and Jeff Duncan, all of whom are members of the Republican Party.
“We are extremely disappointed by both universities’ decision to permit a neo-racist ideology on campus, especially considering their receipt of millions of state and federal taxpayer dollars per year,” according to the letter, which was addressed to USC President Harris Pastides and Clemson President James Clements.
Critical Race Theory, often abbreviated CRT, has been a punching bag for conservative commentators and media outlets since former President Donald Trump mentioned it in 2020. Critics of CRT argue it blames all white people for the actions of a few racists. Proponents of CRT, who argue conservatives are twisting their words, say the field of study focuses on the systems which allow racism to thrive, even if that racism is unintentional or unconscious.
The letter called for USC and Clemson to “eradicate any related classes or learning initiatives immediately,” which are related to Critical Race Theory. The letter cites a recent, multi-day event at USC that taught Critical Race Theory. The attendants of the event were mostly doctoral students, a professor said in a previous interview.
The statement seems to put the Congressional delegation at odds with S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster, who said earlier this month that he doesn’t believe K-12 students should be taught critical race theory, but that college students should be allowed to take courses on the field of study if they would like.
The State has reached out to USC and Clemson.