As he seeks the Republican nomination to be the next governor of Nebraska, University of Nebraska regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen has introduced a resolution opposing the imposition of a critical theory of race in the UN system.
The resolution, first reported by Fox News Thursday drew mixed reactions from the university and the surrounding community as well as prominent local figures. It will be presented to the Board of Regents at its next meeting on August 13. Although the proposal is to oppose critical race theory at NU, Melissa Lee, NU’s communications director, said in an email that it was not a mandatory part of NAKED. study programme.
The policy of the Board of Regents allows any regent or the president of the UN to submit a resolution to the board for a vote.
Governor Pete Ricketts tweeted his support for the proposal also Thursday and thanked Pillen for “leading the fight against this divisive and anti-American philosophy.”
Ricketts, who was first elected governor in 2014, is unable to run for a third term due to term limits. He did not publicly support a candidate in the 2022 election.
The University of Nebraska board of trustees will vote on a resolution opposing critical breed theory in the coming weeks. Thanks to NU Regent Jim Pillen for leading the fight against this divisive and anti-American philosophy! pic.twitter.com/UaNvzsD2aX
– Governor Pete Ricketts (@GovRicketts) July 8, 2021
“While a university campus and facilities are places of open reflection, discussion, study, research and learning, and… while proponents of critical race theory seek to silence the opposing views and denigrating important American ideals, ”the resolution states,“ Be it resolved that the regents of the University of Nebraska oppose any imposition of critical race theory on the curriculum.
A spokesperson for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln declined to comment further.
Kara Viesca, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher training at UNL, said the theory is complex and nuanced. It was developed by a group of critical jurists in the late 1970s and early 1980s because they believed there was no sufficient analytical tool to understand why the progress of the civil rights movement in the years 1960 were at a standstill, according to Viesca.
She said Critical Race Theory is a way to examine systems, policies, laws and practices to try to understand how some might contribute to ongoing racial inequalities.
“It’s an analytical tool for trying to understand racial inequality and the sources of racial inequality, so it really stems from a definition of racism, which extends beyond personal acts of prejudice and discrimination. “said Viesca.
Critical race theory has recently become a controversial subject and the center of national debate with many divergent opinions and viewpoints. Many prominent political figures, such as Ricketts and Pillen, have publicly expressed their opposition to critical race theory.
In June, Ricketts announced a series of town halls and took the opportunity to Express that critical race theory is a “philosophy of history which is fundamentally anti-capitalist and aims to destroy the institutions of our country”. Ricketts said the “ugly parts of American history” and racism must be rooted out, but it can and should be done without theory.
Pillen was requested by the Nebraska Freedom Coalition to address the theory at the June Board of Regents meeting, but the Meet came and went without such a mention. Now he’s come out forcefully against the theory ahead of the August meeting.
“I think critical race theory is factually and morally wrong,” Pillen said Thursday, according to the Omaha World-Herald. “I don’t believe in teaching children to judge themselves on the basis of their skin color. There is no room in our classrooms for this ideology.
While there is support for the proposal, there are critics in the community and at UNL, like Viesca. She said she believed the proposal was based on misconceptions and inaccuracies of critical race theory and said she believed it was also a blatant disregard for the principles of academic freedom to which the UNL and the NU system as a whole are committed.
In April, the Council of Regents unanimously adopted sweeping amendments supporting academic freedom for faculty and staff, something UN President Ted Carter promised to do when he was chosen as president. Pillen led the research team that led to Carter’s presidency.
Viesca said misconceptions include that any talk about race is a critical theory of race, and the theory is often tied to hatred and the promotion of division.
Instead, Critical Race Theory seeks to address issues of division among people by having open discussions about racial inequality, especially when there are opposing views and perspectives, according to Viesca. She said she believed any misconceptions around critical race theory stemmed from a cultural practice of avoiding conversations about race.
“I grew up in a community where I was told that racism was dealt with with the civil rights movement, that we no longer have racism and that I shouldn’t talk about race, I shouldn’t notice the breed, this breed is not something that no longer matters in the United States, ”said Viesca.
While many people feel uncomfortable talking about race and racism and avoid having these discussions, Viesca said they still need to be held.
“I have felt that unease myself, but ignoring issues of racial inequality and suggesting that we can’t talk about race and that we can’t talk about these things to resolve them just doesn’t make sense to anyone. me, “Viesca said. “We need to fully understand the things that have happened historically as they are happening now in order to truly achieve racial justice.”
It is unclear whether the resolution will gain support and to what extent from fellow Regents when the resolution is formally presented to the rest of the board on Friday, August 13.