The University of Nebraska Board of Regents has voted down a proposal that sought to restrict required critical race theory education in the state’s public higher education system.
Regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen had introduced a resolution opposing critical race theory, but it failed to pass in a 5 to 3 vote on Friday.
Pillen, in a tweet, said he is disappointed in the result but “the fight is not over.”
— Jim Pillen (@jim_pillen) August 13, 2021
The failed resolution had stated in part: “Critical Race Theory does not promote inclusive and honest dialogue and education on campus and … proponents seek to silence opposing views and disparage important American ideals. … Regents of the University of Nebraska oppose any imposition of Critical Race Theory in curriculum.”
Pillen had said he only sought to ensure critical race theory was not required to graduate, but students were free to study it. But opponents argued it would hinder academic freedom.
The resolution’s failure is being billed as a win for academic freedom. The vote took place after hours of discussion during which students, faculty, deans, regents and many others weighed in, reports Inside Higher Ed.
“All but a handful of their comments were against the resolution, echoing sentiments of numerous student and faculty groups who opposed it prior to the vote,” IHE reports:
The discussion was not without tension. Multiple student commenters accused Pillen of crafting a proposal about something he didn’t really understand to forward his political campaign, not the university mission.
Some students and graduates of color also said they felt hurt or disappointed by the board’s serious consideration of a proposal seeking to limit discussions of how race impacts life in this country.
But Pillen has previously said critical race theory is “morally wrong.”
“It is morally wrong to paint entire groups of people as inherently racist or oppressive based solely on their skin color. It is morally wrong to ascribe guilt or responsibility for wrongs committed decades or centuries ago to people solely because of their skin color, especially people who had no part in those acts,” Pillen said.
“It is morally wrong to silence people or invalidate their viewpoints because of their skin color. These should not be divisive or political statements. We’re all created equal in the eyes of God, and we should be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.”
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