'Critical Race Theory' course taught at University of Iowa one year after governor's ban

The course is titled 'Identity and Social Issues: Critical Race Theory.'

Campus Reform obtained a copy of the syllabus.

A course at the University of Iowa (UI) appears to teach Critical Race Theory despite a state law banning its teaching in classrooms. 

The course, “Identity and Social Issues: Critical Race Theory,” is being taught this semester by Professor Kathy Lavezzo.

According to the syllabus, students in the course will “acquire a solid understanding of pieces by major theorists and thinkers such as Stuart Hall, Hortense Spillers, and W. E. B. Du Bois.’’ 

[RELATED: Should CRT be a graduation requirement? These student leaders say yes.]

House File 802 was signed into law by Governor Kim Reynolds on June 8, 2021. 

“Critical Race Theory is about labels and stereotypes, not education. It teaches kids that we should judge others based on race, gender or sexual identity, rather than the content of someone’s character,” Fox News reported Reynolds saying at the time. 

After the House File was signed into law, UI released a statement announcing its plan to continue teaching diversity in the classroom.

According to the syllabus, the course will teach students to comprehend different terms pertaining to race relations such as “color line, intersectionality, and double consciousness.”

Students will also read the works of prominent Critical Race Theory theorists such as Patricia Williams, who is credited with being one of the framework’s earliest proponents, and Kimberle Crenshaw

Readings include Race and Relations and Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color, according to the syllabus. 

Another required reading is Richard Dryer’s “The Matter of Whiteness,” which argues that White people are systematically privileged and that being White secures a position of power.

In a statement to Campus Reform, the University of Iowa said that the content of the course is protected under the law due to Section 4c of House File 802, which states that the section cannot be construed to “prohibit discussing specific defined concepts as part of a larger course of academic instruction.”

UI student Leah Wegmann, who is currently enrolled in the course, told Campus Reform that the class is about Critical Race Theory and how “racism against all types of people isn’t a new thing at all and that it happens everywhere.”

[RELATED: Activist prof tweets ‘Be very afraid!’ before teaching CRT class]

Lavezzo warns students in the syllabus that some of the content may trigger potential trauma from course material concerning  “racism, antisemitism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues that arise from structural privilege and oppression.”

Students were advised to “arrive early and sit near the door for an easy exit” should the course material be emotionally challenging.

Lavezzo declined to provide comment on the course to Campus Reform, stating she was ”ill with a virus (a cold not Covid).”