U Nebraska athletes petition against regent's CRT ban resolution

Jim Pillen, a university regent and NE gubernatorial candidate, has advanced a resolution against CRT that university leaders and students are pushing back against.

Nebraska's United College Athlete Advocates group created a petition requesting that the university make Critical Race Theory part of the school curriculum.

Update: The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted down the anti-Critical Race Theory resolution on Friday, Aug. 13, by a 5-3 margin. The vote followed more than three hours of debate and public comment, including from students, faculty, and community members, regarding the Critical Race Theory resolution and university COVID protocols.

Students at the University of Nebraska are petitioning their college’s Board of Regents to include Critical Race Theory in the school’s curriculum.

The petition, created by United College Athlete Advocates, is a response to a resolution that is now under consideration by the Board of Regents. The proposed resolution says that “Critical Race Theory does not promote inclusive and honest dialogue, and that its ”proponents seek to silence opposing views and disparage important American ideals.” 

University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen, who is vying for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, authored the resolution the petition aims to block. He expects it to come up for a vote before the Board of Regents next month, per the Daily Nebraskan

Pillen’s resolution reads, in part, “Whereas the campus and facilities of a university are places for open reflection, discussion, study, research, and learning...and Whereas Critical Race Theory proponents seek to silence opposing views and disparage important American ideals. Be it resolved that the Regents of the University of Nebraska oppose any imposition of Critical Race Theory in curriculum.”

In a statement to Campus Reform, Pillen said, “As an elected member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, I am responsible to the citizens of the state. Our citizens expect that their values will be upheld by the university.”

”The imposition of Critical Race Theory on our students runs counter to those ideals by attempting to indoctrinate students and silencing their dissenting opinions,” the statement continued. “This resolution affirms a fair and balanced dialogue on all issues.”

In contrast, the petition argues that critical race theory is a preferable way for students to “explore issues of division within our communities and global society while also reflecting on the impacts of systemic racism that has hindered unity and growth within the United States.”

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The petition slams the “cowardly cultural practice” of “evading conversations around race and equity.” It positions Critical Race Theory as the antidote to this problem. 

It continues, ”It is imperative that we demand the University of Nebraska Board of Regents vote against this change and integrate the study of Critical Race Theory into the university’s curriculum.”

Though Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has tweeted his support for the resolution, university leaders have come out against it. The University’s president and chancellors issued a joint statement opposing Pillen’s resolution.

The university leadership wrote, “The University of Nebraska is strongly committed to academic freedom. We support and defend the liberties our teachers and learners have to freely discuss ideas in and outside of the classroom.” 

Pillen’s resolution would not restrict what students and faculty may discuss.  

[RELATED: VIDEO: Students reject Critical Race Theory after learning what it’s really about]

Daniel Pearson, co-founder of UCAA, says the petition now has more than 1,700 signatures. He told Campus Reform, “Our diverse Nebraska family must be willing to have difficult conversations that expand our perspective, deepen our sense of empathy, and help our family grow stronger together. Critical Race Theory should not be viewed politically but as a chance to stand for what is just, what is right, and a chance to stand for the good of humanity.” Pearson says his ultimate goal for the petition is for “the Board of Regents [to] recognize the benefits of Critical Race Theory and keep it as an essential part of University curriculum.”

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AngelaLMorabito