Campus Reform | LSU names new president who has long history of Critical Race Theory publications

LSU names new president who has long history of Critical Race Theory publications

Louisiana State University named a new president on Thursday.

The new president has written extensively in favor of Critical Race Theory.

Louisiana State University chose Dr. William F. Tate IV to serve as the new university president. Like those lauding LSU for their choice, Tate has a long history of focusing on race as evidenced by his Critical Race Theory publications.

Tate previously served as provost of the University of South Carolina where his focus was to “support and to advance the access and affordability agenda.”

After an open interview process, Tate was chosen over fellow finalists President Donald Trump’s science advisor Kelvin Droegemeier and the president of the University of Louisiana System’s nine public colleges Jim Henderson.

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

In Tate’s 1995 article titled "Toward a Critical Race Theory of Education," he argues that “savage inequalities” exist in the United States due to its “racialized society in which discussions of race and racism continue to be muted and marginalized.”

Throughout the article, Tate and his co-author make the case that African American students are academically, economically and socially disadvantaged in the United States education system.

“Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that even when we hold constant for class, middle-class African-American students do not achieve at the same level as their white counterparts,” Tate and fellow CRT theorist Gloria Ladson-Billings write.

The pair attribute this alleged disproportion to “institutional and structural racism.”

“While some might argue that poor children, regardless of race, do worse in school, and that the high proportion of African-American poor contributes to their dismal school performance, we argue that the cause of their poverty in conjunction with the condition of their schools and schooling is institutional and structural racism,” Tate and his co-author state.

Not only are racial minority students disadvantaged, but also are gender minority students according to the article.

“Issues of gender bias also figure in inequitable schooling. Females receive less attention from teachers, are counseled away from or out of advanced mathematics and science courses, and although they receive better grades than their male counterparts, their grades do not translate into advantages in college admission and/or the work place,” the article states.

Explaining his definition of “racism,” Tate and his co-author refers to the author of Portraits of White Racism, David Wellman’s working definition which states that racism is “culturally sanctioned beliefs which, regardless of the intentions involved, defend the advantages Whites have because of the subordinated positions of racial minorities.”

Tate and his co-author believe that “today, students of color are more segregated than ever before.”

“Although African Americans represent 12 percent of the national population, they are the majority in twenty-one of the twenty-two largest (urban) school districts. Instead of providing more and better educational opportunities, school desegregation has meant increased white flight along with a loss of African-American teaching and administrative positions,” they conjecture.

[RELATED: Pepperdine student gov hands out free copies of Critical Race Theory handbook 'White Fragility']

Offering an explanation of Critical Race Theory, Tate and the co-author points to the features of the “critical race movement” written by professor of Critical Race Theory at University of Alabama School of Law Richard Delgado.

Delgado insists that racism is “endemic” in America and “deeply ingrained legally, culturally, and even psychologically” in the nation. Because of this, he calls for a “reinterpretation of civil-rights law” due to its current “ineffectuality.”

A goal of the movement is to “challenge” the “‘traditional claims of legal neutrality, objectivity, color-blindness, and meritocracy as camouflages for the self-interest of dominant groups in American society.’”

As one of his three key points in the publication, Tate and his co-author argue that since the United States’ founding, its society has been “based on property rights rather than human rights.” He cites the “seizure” of Native American land and slavery as examples of his claim.

Tate and the co-author also support the notion that “whiteness” can function as property.

“But, more pernicious and long lasting then the victimization of people of color is the construction of whiteness as the ultimate property,” Tate and his co-author alleges.

“Legally, whites can use and enjoy the privileges of whiteness,” the article continues.

Tate and his co-author contend that in today’s society, “to call a white person ‘black’ is to defame him or her.”

“In the case of schooling, to identify a school or program as nonwhite in any way is to diminish its reputation or status,” he continues.

The article also affirms that “whiteness is constructed in this society as the absence of the ‘contaminating’ influence of blackness.”

[RELATED: Biden administration signals intent to push critical race theory as American history and civics education]

Tate focused on the teaching of mathematics in the United States in a book chapter he co-wrote, titled "Still separate, still unequal." A central claim of the chapter is that the education system “does not yet provide equal access to the resources that could support a more powerful mathematics education for all students.”

To accomplish this, Tate and his co-author suggest math teachers of African American students to “take into consideration students’ participation in the larger communities or cultural groups of which they are a part” because “‘participation in out-of-school practices can influence their activity in the classroom.’”

In another publication called Race, Retrenchment, and the Reform of School Mathematics, Tate calls for a “new beginning for mathematics education.” He says that it depends on teachers “build[ing] and expanding[ing] on the thinking and experiences of African American students.”

Because math is regarded as a “colorblind” subject, there has been “very little consideration” to the “cultural appropriateness of mathematics pedagogy” according to Tate.

He also notes that African American students are not “centered” in school curriculums as “almost all the experiences discussed in American classrooms are approached from the standpoint of white perspectives and history.”

Tate argues that attention to the “lived realities of African American students” would “creat[e] equitable conditions in mathematics education.” 

This would be accomplished by mathematics teachers paying attention to “how students’ linguistic, ethnic, racial, gender, and socioeconomic backgrounds influence their learning of mathematics.”

[RELATED: California draws from Critical Race Theory profs for K-12 'ethnic studies' curriculum]

LSU senior David Walters told Campus Reform that “it's refreshing to see a new face in the position.”

Former student body president and current student member on the Board of Supervisors, Stone Cox used a similar tone when he told Campus Reform that he is “very excited” that Tate will be the new president. 

“As the student member on the Board of Supervisors I was able to interview and ask questions to all 3 candidates that came before the Board for consideration. While they were all talented I believe Dr. Tate will ultimately be able to take our University to another level,” Cox continued.

When asked if he thinks Critical Race Theory should be implemented at LSU, Cox said it is “merely a tool for academics to study and examine the world in which we live in.”

“While some shared concerns for Dr. Tate’s past research, I ultimately believe that critical theory and by extension critical race theory is merely a tool for academics to study and examine the world in which we live in, and should not disqualify Dr. Tate from the position of LSU President. In the same way, conservative views should not disqualify anyone from a place in higher education either,” Cox said.

Walters did not share this outlook as he told Campus Reform that he “absolutely do[es] not think critical race theory belongs in the curriculum, especially at LSU.”

“Implementing something so contentious would be thoughtless, irresponsible, and a mistake considering the ongoing and expanding investigations. It's irrelevant and focus should be on current problems,” he continued.

Walters told Campus Reform that he hopes Tate will “focus on cleaning up the University's act, clearing the corruption, and gaining the student body's trust back.”

When asked if the university was aware of Tate’s previous publications, media relations director Ernie Ballard III told Campus Reform. “Based on the response since Dr. Tate was announced, campus, Louisiana and the region are excited to welcome him to LSU as the next president.”

Tate did not respond to Campus Reform’s request for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @redwave1776