Campus Reform | Chico State president will lead university in 'antiracist' journey after reading book by Critical Race Theorist

Chico State president will lead university in 'antiracist' journey after reading book by Critical Race Theorist

After she read Ibram Kendi’s book about “anti-racism,” the president of Chico State University issued a statement promising additional anti-racist policies.

Other university administrators have enacted similar reforms based on their interactions with Kendi’s ideas.

After reading a leading book by a popular proponent of Critical Race Theory, the president of California State University, Chico issued a statement committing the school to "anti-racist" actions.

In a statement titled “A Lasting Commitment to Being Anti-Racist,” Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson detailed her insights acquired from reading "How to Be an Antiracist" by Boston University professor Ibram X. Kendi.

“We have been striving to create a more equitable University for years,” she wrote. “This year we refocused our questions using Ibram X. Kendi’s book 'How to Be an Antiracist.' Now that we are well into the spring semester, I don’t want us to finish this academic year and then retire our Book in Common to a bookshelf with the satisfaction of a good read. I want us to carry the concepts of racial equity and justice with us always as a reminder and impetus for growth as anti-racists and progress for institutional change at Chico State.”

[RELATED: Critical Race Theory moves from campus to Netflix]

Hutchinson found the eighteenth chapter of the book to be particularly thought-provoking. She quoted a segment declaring that “to understand why racism lives is to understand the history of anti-racist failure — why people have failed to create anti-racist societies.”

“For me, Kendi’s points are salient as I consider the equity and diversity work we have done at Chico State over decades,” she commented. “Much of our work has focused on education and awareness with the intent to eliminate racist stereotypes and behaviors, and build cultural awareness and competencies. Our efforts, though well intended, have not gone far enough, mostly because we have stayed focused on changing minds rather than changing campus policies and practices.”

[RELATED: Ibram Kendi launches ANOTHER anti-racism center at BU]

Hutchinson concluded her statement by listing a variety of “anti-racist” commitments, including “striving to increase faculty diversity by 1% per year,” “charging a Presidential Task Force with examining existing campus policing and public safety policies and practices,” and “conducting an equity audit to review the University executive memoranda, identify racist policies, and propose modifications for review and consideration.”

Kendi's book has been a source of controversy in recent years. In it, he contends that becoming an "anti-racist" requires one to “emancipate oneself from the dueling consciousness” and recognize that “there is no such thing as the American body, only American bodies, racialized by power.”

Kendi defines "racist" as a person who supports supposedly racist systems through "actions or inactions."

[RELATED: US colleges are telling students to read this book, so we found out why]


Some students were not enthused by Hutchinson taking the advice of Kendi.

Chico State College Republicans Michael Curry told Campus Reform that he is “deeply concerned that my administration uses a left wing extremist like Kendi to guide their policies.”

“They seem to be following his racist and hate-filled ideology lock-step and have shown that they care more about appearing woke than they do about doing what is best for their students,” Curry added. “The administration continues to throw the University Police Department under the bus any time it appears convenient. I’m saddened to see President Hutchinson prioritize her left-wing agenda over the safety of her students.”

Chico State University Media Relations Coordinator Sean Murphy told Campus Reform that administrators in the Office of the President, Office of the Provost, Office of Student Affairs, Office of Tribal Relations, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and “many others” read How to Be an Antiracist as part of the school’s “community read.”

“Selecting the Book in Common for an academic year is a true community decision — and the process of selecting a book takes months and goes through different phases,” Murphy explained. “The committee considers all suggestions for the upcoming academic year, reading as many as they can to formulate the shortlist.”

Hutchinson is not the first university president to push for anti-racism policies after reading Kendi’s bestselling book.

In the fall of 2020, Central Michigan University President Bob Davies said that he “spent several weeks reading, re-reading, underlining passages and absorbing the advice” of "How to Be an Antiracist."

[RELATED: After reading 'How to Be An Anti-Racist,' Central Michigan U president vows to act accordingly]

He announced that he would work alongside other administrators to enact anti-racism.

Campus Reform reached out to Chico State University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft