Ashley Carnahan, Campus Reform
- The University of Chicago is considering the creation of a new critical race studies department.
- The provost awarded funding to a group that will present a formal proposal.
The University of Chicago is considering the creation of a critical race studies department and is funding an effort to look into creating the new academic unit. The move came just weeks after President Donald Trump had signed an executive order banning federal contractors and grant recipients from teaching Critical Race Theory, which the Trump administration deemed “divisive” and “anti-American propaganda.”
President Joe Biden reversed the order in a flurry of executive orders of his own.
As Campus Reform reported in October, a group of faculty members initiated a diversity strike, during which faculty members pledged not to participate or collaborate in university-sponsored diversity initiatives until their demands were met.
Among the group’s demands was a call for the university to form an “External Advisory Council” to “provide advice” to faculty members as they develop a proposal for a new critical race studies department.
“Alongside an adequately funded and autonomous Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, effective teaching and research on race at the University of Chicago requires a Department of Critical Race Studies. It is, in fact, extraordinary that we should have to articulate this as a demand in 2020,” the letter stated.
The Chicago Maroon reported in December that the demand was met, and that Provost Ka Yee Lee had given funding to the “#MoreThanDiversity campaign” to create a proposal for the new department. The campaign says the funding proposal for the new department will be announced by the end of the 2021-21 school year.
Evita Duffy, a student at UChicago and the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, told Campus Reform that a critical race studies department is “the last thing UChicago needs.”
“It will just pour more tuition money into indoctrination instead of education. Professors and students with dissenting points of view already walk on eggshells, afraid that they will be the next victim of cancel culture on campus. Empowering a new Department with this divisive, Marxist ideology will decrease intellectual diversity, increase self-censorship and destroy honest debate on campus,” Duffy said.
Duffy is no stranger to cancel culture.
As Campus Reform reported, Duffy faced significant backlash, including threats after she stated, “coronavirus won’t destroy America, but socialism will.”
Campus Reform sat down with Duffy to speak about her experience.
Watch the full interview above.
Assistant Director for Public Affairs Gerald McSwiggan told Campus Reform that the provost has committed funding for the proposal to create a new academic department.
“While the provost cannot create or fund a new university department unilaterally, Provost Lee is committed to ensuring that University processes are clearly-defined, open, and available to review the final proposal. The Office of the Provost has committed funding to conduct research on existing academic units in the field, learn about best practices, and develop a proposal for review through University processes,” McSwiggan said.
McSwiggan went on to say that if the proposal makes it through university processes, Lee will work with the relevant division to ensure that resources are provided for its support.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @ashleyecarnahan
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