Campus Reform | George Mason University offers '#BlackLivesMatter' library guide

George Mason University offers '#BlackLivesMatter' library guide

A public university in Virginia is offering students a resource guide on “anti-racism,” which includes information promoting critical race theory, the abolition of prisons, and directs students to bail funds through its library website.

George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia has on its library resource website a page titled “Anti-Racism, #BlackLivesMatter, and Civic Action,” which seeks to provide students with books and resources on a multitude of issues in an effort to educate students about “anti-racism” and civic action in the United States.

“This guide is being developed by librarians and staff, with input from members of the Mason community,” the university website explains. “We offer this guide as a starting point, not an exhaustive set of resources.”

The guide’s “Anti-Racism” section features the book How to be an Anti-Racist by Boston University Center for Anti-Racist Research Director Ibram X. Kendi, which “ takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas--from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilities--that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.”

As Campus Reform previously reported, Kendi attacked then-Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who he called a "White colonizer," and her two adopted Black Haitan children, suggesting that she was “using them as props.”

[RELATED: Sacramento State asks profs to cancel class for for antiracism-themed convocation featuring Ibram Kendi]

The library's anti-racist guide also promotes the book Me and White Supremacy, authored by Layla F. Saad which "takes readers on a 28-day journey of how to dismantle the privilege within themselves so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too."

The guide’s “Prisons, Police, and Abolition” section offers Angela Davis’ book Abolition Democracy, which discusses her experience of being on the FBI’s most-wanted list.

“An important goal for the libraries is to offer students a range of materials from many viewpoints to challenge them and encourage critical thinking,” GMU Associate Vice President of Communications Michael Sandler told Campus Reform.

Sandler also pointed to President Gregory Washington’s July 23 announcement of the creation of an “anti-racism and inclusive excellence task force” to consider anti-racism and social justice, and its impact on campus.

Sandler further stated that the materials listed in the guide were “in support of the libraries’ mission to encourage critical thinking and Dr. Washington’s initiative.”

“Drs. Davis and Kendi are noted experts in their fields and their books are among the many resources available from leading scholars in our catalog,” Sandler stated, stating that readers are “empowered to make their own judgments” of the readings.

He stated that while the administration does not review the guides, the faculty does have “academic freedom in developing educational materials as instructional faculty do in developing course content.” 

[RELATED: Anti-racism book club popularity soars across US]

In addition to its choice of readings and resources for students, the guide links to the Black Lives Matter Syllabus, which offers a makeshift syllabus, run by NYU Professor Frank Leon Roberts.

In addition to offering syllabi for teachers to use, Roberts posted an article on May 31, titled “43 Bail Funds You Can Support Right Now,” that encourages readers to donate to bail funds of protesters arrested during BLM demonstrations over the summer.

Roberts told Campus Reform that he was unaware that GMU was using the site for the guide, but did not provide any additional comment.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @JesseStiller3