Sociology professor says ‘attacks’ on DEI in higher ed ‘threaten democracy,’ blames Campus Reform, others

The professor, Abby Ferber, said that the idea of left-leaning propaganda being taught in higher education is a ‘myth.’

Ferber also seemed to compare opposition to DEI initiatives to prohibitions stopping slaves from learning how to read and write.

A professor at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs recently wrote that “attacks” on diversity in colleges and universities “threaten democracy,” blaming Campus Reform–among others–for encouraging such “harassment.”

“The harassment usually begins with an article in one of a handful of student ‘news’ websites like Campus Reform, a program of The Leadership Institute,” Abby Ferber, a sociology and women’s and ethnic studies professor at the University of Colorado Springs, wrote in a March 26 article for Scientific American.

Campus Reform describes its mission as exposing “liberal bias and abuse on the nation’s college campuses.” Ferber claims that the idea that “liberal indoctrination [exists] on campus” is a “myth.” 

Ferber appears to blame opponents of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives of racism: “Eliminating the ‘DEI bureaucracy’ is about silencing the voices of those only recently allowed to enter the dialogue and censoring any discussion of inequality. The reality that racism and other forms of inequality even exist is being challenged.”

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Ferber, who claims in the article that she “has studied white supremacy for decades,” states that the “racial reckoning” following the death of George Floyd in 2020 “threatened the billionaires, politicians and activists intent on protecting extreme free market capitalism and their own economic and political dominance.”

She continues, appearing to defend the three Ivy League university presidents who, in a Congressional hearing last year, seemed to indicate that “calling for the genocide of Jews” did not go against their respective institutions’ rules. Ferber writes: “Three university presidents, all women including Harvard University’s Claudine Gay, a woman of color, were viciously grilled by Republican lawmakers about antisemitism on campus in response to the current war in Gaza.”

Ferber concludes by seeming to compare opposition to DEI initiatives in colleges and universities to persecution of slaves in American history: “We also need to recognize that these attacks are not new. This is one moment in the long history of politically motivated injustice in education. The majority of Southern states once had laws against teaching enslaved people to read or write, and free Blacks were denied public education in northern and western ones.”

Ferber’s research focuses, among other things, on racial issues. Books she has worked on include “White Man Falling: Race, Gender, and White Supremacy,” “The Matrix Reader: Examining the Dynamics of Oppression and Privilege,” and “The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality and Inequality,” as seen from her faculty page. 

[RELATED: Stanford prof blames ‘white supremacy,’ ‘long backlash to the civil rights movement’ for possible overturning of affirmative action]

Ferber is also the co-founding director of “The Matrix Center for the Advancement of Social Equity and Inclusion” at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, her faculty page shows. 

In April 2018, Campus Reform reported on Ferber’s teaching of an “Intersections of Privilege” class that gave students academic credit for going to a “White Privilege Conference” that was co-organized by Ferber. 

In July 2018, Campus Reform also reported on the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs’s decision to stop offering a “Witnessing Whiteness” course that listed “individualism, consumerism, meritocracy as an ideal, superficiality, competition, ambition, [and] productivity” as negative characteristics of “white culture.” Ferber was supposed to teach the course before its cancellation. 

Campus Reform has reached out to Ferber and the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.