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Professor who teaches anti-white course belatedly added to ‘Professor Watchlist’


The University of Wisconsin-Madison may be facing a funding threat because it refuses to cancel a course titled “The Problem of Whiteness.”

But until The College Fix asked about it Wednesday, the professor who teaches the course had not been added to a new website that has drawn condemnation for naming professors “who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The Washington Post noted Wednesday that Damon Sajnani was conspicuously absent from the Professor Watchlist, a project of conservative student group Turning Point USA.

MORE: Wisconsin lawmakers target UW-Madison ‘Problem of Whiteness’ class

Though the course doesn’t start until the pending spring semester, the course reading list is public. One of the readings is titled White Lies Matter: Race, Crime, and the Politics of Fear in America.

The course does not appear to be outrageous enough to draw enough political opposition to tank it.

Gov. Scott Walker told the Wisconsin State Journal last week that he doesn’t support the crusade by two state lawmakers to defund the university unless it cancels the course or fires Sajnani:

“I could certainly as a citizen or as a father who pays part of my kids’ tuition roll my eyes and raise concerns about some of the classes,” Walker said. “But our focus in the budget should be on overall performance and not individual classes.”

Following an inquiry from The Fix, the watchlist’s overseer said Turning Point had been “double checking information about [Prof. Sajnani] before uploading the entry.”

The group wanted to make sure “there was enough of a radical background to warrant inclusion,” and it found that evidence in Sajnani’s tweets, Matt Lamb, a former College Fix student reporter, said in a text message.

The professor’s new entry on the watchlist says he is “far more controversial” than the whiteness class might indicate, having “retweeted a tweet about assassinating Donald Trump” and tweeting “in support” of the sniper who killed Dallas police this summer. The entry cites an Independent Journal Review report.

The tweets combined with the whiteness course “bring into question [Sajnani’s] ability to address racial issues fairly and openly,” Lamb said.

Lamb has previously defended the propriety of warning students and parents about certain professors by aggregating public reporting about their curriculum and behavior.

This isn’t the first class titled “The Problem of Whiteness” to draw controversy.

Arizona State University Prof. Lee Bebout taught a course by that name nearly two years ago, drawing a spirited defense from non-ASU sociologists. ASU President Michael Crow conceded that “the title could have been better” because many people reacted negatively “before they really looked at it.”

MORE: ASU’s ‘Problem of Whiteness’ course promotes ‘good critical thinking’

Oddly, Bebout’s list of courses going back nearly five years does not identify his controversial Spring 2015 course – the first time he taught “ENG 401” – by its original name. It is titled “Topics in Critical Theory,” and the particular topic for that semester was, simply, “Whiteness.”

It appears to be the same topic every spring, with Bebout teaching it again next month. All 38 seats are filled.

Bebout remains absent from the Professor Watchlist.


Read the Post and State Journal stories.

UPDATE: The watchlist’s overseer, Turning Point’s Matt Lamb, told The Fix why Prof. Sajnani wasn’t named on the list until after this report was published. The headline and body have been amended to reflect this information and Sajnani’s new listing.

MORE: Stop freaking out about our ‘watchlist,’ creators say

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