Campus Reform | Smith College staffer who spoke out against Critical Race Theory resigns, citing 'racially hostile' environment, 'culture war'

Smith College staffer who spoke out against Critical Race Theory resigns, citing 'racially hostile' environment, 'culture war'

A staff member at Smith College resigned out of frustration over its “antiracist” culture.

She then began a GoFundMe page, which has been placed "under review," according to the page's description.

A staff member at Smith College resigned out of frustration over its “antiracist” culture. 

Jodi Shaw, a former student support coordinator at Smith College who earned less than $45,000 per year, penned a letter to the administration explaining the “hostile environment” that arose from obsession over race. 

Former New York Times editor Bari Weiss — who resigned after her colleagues reacted strongly to an op-ed written by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) — posted a copy of the letter to her website. 

“As a divorced mother of two, the economic uncertainty brought about by this resignation will impact my children as well,” wrote Shaw. “But I have no choice. The racially hostile environment that the college has subjected me to for the past two and a half years has left me physically and mentally debilitated. I can no longer work in this environment, nor can I remain silent about a matter so central to basic human dignity and freedom.”

[RELATED: LEGAL? Feds prioritize 'underrepresented groups' in awarding federal research grants]

She explained that the school’s climate shifted in July 2018, when an African-American student “accused a white staff member of calling campus security on her because of racial bias.” Shaw expressed her frustration about the hasty discipline brought against the security guard, as well as an endless litany of “initiatives, committees, workshops, trainings, and policies aimed at combating ‘systemic racism’ on campus.”

When Shaw moved to her role as student support coordinator in August 2018, she “was told on multiple occasions that discussing my personal thoughts and feelings about my skin color is a requirement of my job.” She also “endured racially hostile comments, and was expected to participate in racially prejudicial behavior as a continued condition of my employment” and received “supplemental literature in which the world’s population was reduced to two categories — ‘dominant group members’ and ‘subordinated group members’ — based solely on characteristics like race.”

Shaw explained that the “last straw” came in January 2020, when she attended a mandatory staff retreat focused on racial issues. After she abstained from talking about racial identity, her “genuine discomfort was framed as an act of aggression” by retreat facilitators. She filed an internal complaint, which fell on deaf ears because of her race.

[RELATED: Law prof says he was forced to undergo lengthy mental examination & drug test after exam question caused students ‘distress’]

“Under the guise of racial progress, Smith College has created a racially hostile environment in which individual acts of discrimination and hostility flourish,” Shaw wrote. “In this environment, people’s worth as human beings, and the degree to which they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, is determined by the color of their skin. It is an environment in which dissenting from the new critical race orthodoxy — or even failing to swear fealty to it like some kind of McCarthy-era loyalty oath — is grounds for public humiliation and professional retaliation.”

“My children’s future, and indeed, our collective future as a free nation, depends on people having the courage to stand up to this dangerous and divisive ideology, no matter the cost,” she concluded.

Following her resignation, Shaw launched a GoFundMe page to help support herself. However, Shaw later added a note to the online fundraiser, stating, "***ATTENTION***  GoFundMe has placed a hold on all funds and this fundraiser 'under review.' I fear this is for ideological reasons." 

"***FOR THE TIME BEING PLEASE USE ALTERNATIVE SUPPORT METHODS FOUND HERE ***" Shaw added, providing a link to her personal website

GoFundMe spokeswoman Monica Corbett told Campus Reform after the initial publication of this article, "Our Trust & Safety Team has been in communication with the campaign organizer. This fundraiser is no longer under review and funds will be released to the organizer."

Smith College called Shaw's allegation of creating a "racially hostile" environment "a baseless claim that the college flatly denies." 

"At Smith College, our commitment to, and strategies for, advancing equity and inclusion are grounded in evidence...While it might be uncomfortable to accept that each of us, regardless of color or background, may have absorbed unconscious biases or at times acted in ways that are harmful to members of our community, such self-reflection is a prerequisite for making meaningful progress," Smith College President Kathleen McCartney said

"The aim of our equity and inclusion training is never to shame or ostracize. Rather, the goal is to facilitate authentic conversations that help to overcome the barriers between us, and the college welcomes constructive criticism of our workshops and trainings," she added.

Campus Reform reached out to Shaw; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft