Professor rebukes social justice theory in scathing video. Despite student pressure, he refuses to resign.
A University of Vermont professor criticized the notion of “whiteness” in a YouTube video.
Administrators denounced his comments and students asked for his resignation. The professor refused.
After a University of Vermont professor criticized the notion of “whiteness,” administrators denounced his comments and students called for his resignation. The professor refuses to resign.
In a YouTube video entitled “Racism and the Secular Religion at the University of Vermont,” education professor Aaron Kindsvatter said that “whiteness falls under the umbrella… of critical social justice, and the thinking that informs it is so crude and so lacking in falsifiability.”
He also commented that because the notion of whiteness “speaks so eloquently to our tribal impulses,” the same logic “can easily find its way to desperate persons who need a group to hate and who will adopt the suppositions that inform whiteness towards their own ends.”
Kindsvatter said that he first heard of the term whiteness when “a faculty member offered to help me with it like it was some kind of disease” — an experience that he described as “dehumanizing.”
“Would you please stop reducing my personhood to a racial category in your teachings?” asked Kindsvatter at the end of the video, mentioning that feeling pressure to find wisdom in Ibram X. Kendi and other authors produced a “spiritual sickness” within him.
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In response to the video, University of Vermont Provost Patricia Prelock said in an email to student newspaper The Vermont Cynic that “we will continue to lean into our [diversity equity and inclusion] efforts, and in so doing, create further opportunities to strengthen our community.” She added that “this event has given us further clarity and resolve about the importance of our commitment to our Common Ground values and DEI work.”
“We know there is anger, pain, and sadness when the lived experiences of individuals committed to DEI are denied or diminished,” the email stated. “We hear you, and we value the voice you are giving to the concerns many of us share about these messages.”
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A petition calling for the resignation of Kindsvatter has earned over 3,400 signatures as of. The authors state that Kindsvatter’s statements are “harmful to our campus’ community of color.”
“Claims of being ‘suppressed’ for his ‘moderate views’ are unsavory and asinine — the first step towards any kind of progress on campus is through accountability and having honest discussions,” continued the petition. “Furthermore, the fact that you go so far as to claim notable, respected literature on anti-racist work as to cause you a sort of ‘spiritual sickness’ is beyond comprehensible.”
A rival petition — which has garnered over 4,400 signatures — asks that Kindsvatter assume control of all diversity measures at the University of Vermont.
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In another video posted on March 16, Kindsvatter refused to resign.
“Nope, not a chance, never going to happen, no way,” he said. “Haven’t even thought about it.”
Campus Reform reached out to Kindsvatter and the University of Vermont for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft