University of Nebraska Regents reject anti-critical race theory proposal

Opposition from students, faculty and administrators among others led to the measure’s demise

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has rejected an anti-critical race theory resolution.

The 5-3 vote on Friday followed about three hours of public comment from students, faculty and others, the Lincoln Journal-Star reports.

Regent Jim Pillen, a Republican candidate for governor, introduced the resolution objecting to “any imposition of critical race theory” in academic curriculum in July. The move came as another candidate for governor — Charles Herbster — criticized him for not taking action on the issue.

With the campus as the background, flags fly on a sunny Friday afternoon from the Hausmann Construction crane being used to build Lied Place Residences, November 20, 2020. (Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communication.)

Critical race theory, a framework for examining the effects race and racism have on institutions, both historically and today, has become a flashpoint in the culture wars. Several state legislatures have enacted bills preventing the theory from being taught.

Pillen said most Nebraskans believe critical race theory to be “discriminatory, divisive” and antithetical to the values held by many in the state.

But the proposal ran into a buzz saw of opposition from students, faculty, administrators and others, who said it abridged academic freedom and would hurt recruiting and retention, particularly of students and faculty of color.

The ACLU of Nebraska, Anti-Defamation League and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People bused students from Omaha to Lincoln, and handed out bright-red T-shirts emblazoned with “Protect Academic Freedom.”

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