June 9 – TOPEKA – University leaders told the Kansas Board of Regents that few courses offer explicit instructions on Critical Race Theory (CRT), but some professors include elements of it in discussions about race and justice, emails posted on Wednesday from The Star Show.
Board of Regents chairman Blake Flanders last week called on the state’s six public universities – including the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and Wichita State University – to provide the information in response to a question about Senator’s critical racial theory Brenda Dietrich, a Topeka., Provide Republicans.
Critical Race Theory is a decade-old academic concept that scholars say should provide a look at studying the effects of race and inequality on the criminal justice, law, health care, housing, and other major American institutions.
Dietrch’s question came as Republicans across the country took up critical racial theory as a threat to traditional understandings of American history. Some education groups and professors condemned the request, saying it could affect academic freedom.
Legislators across the country have tabled bills to restrict CRT teaching in public education. While the Kansas Legislature did not address the issue this year, Missouri lawmakers pushed for legislation aimed at banning curricula that Republicans see as CRT. Dietrich said she had no problem with CRT in schools in Kansas but wanted to provide more information to voters.
Email responses to the Board of Regents indicate that most schools have narrowly interpreted the request. They reported little or no courses with descriptions, including critical race theory, or gave comprehensive answers with few details.
“I don’t think we have any specific courses on critical racial theory,” wrote Charles Taber, provost and vice president of Kansas State University.
Jean Redeker, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas just passed the name of one course, Contemporary Japanese Film. Redeker, in her response, pointed out that the course examines how critical racial theory affects filmmaking and film criticism, rather than teaching the theory with a US focus.
Wichita State University Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Shirley Lefever said students can take courses “that introduce them to a variety of concepts related to race and discrimination, including critical race theory, to help them learn more about that World around us to learn “.
Pittsburg State University went further than other schools, handing unassigned quotes from professors describing how elements of critical racial theory are incorporated into the classroom.
“We teach diversity in all of our classes. It’s built into the curriculum,” one response said before listing examples such as discussions of redlining, discrimination, and medical experimentation on black Americans.
“I do not officially teach the concept of Critical Race Theory; however, I am discussing the role that social structures, class and race play in maintaining social hierarchy,” it said in another answer.
Pittsburg, which forwarded the request directly to faculty members, identified 11 courses that contained “some elements of Critical Racial Theory”.
Antonio Byrd, an English teacher at the University of Missouri-Kansas City who focuses on black literature, said it was difficult to get a complete picture of where and how CRT is taught in a college.
“How exactly do you define the doctrine of Critical Racial Theory?” said Byrd. “Is it a whole class for 16 weeks or is it a unit in which a professor, for example in sociology, teaches about race and racism for three weeks?”
Byrd said CRT can manifest itself in a number of ways, from full law school courses to less formal instruction and discussions about the effects of race in specific areas.
How much these conversations should penetrate the classroom, Byrd said, remains controversial at universities.
“Even within higher education, conversations about race and racism can be difficult,” he said. “There’s a bit of a disagreement, if there is any recognition that we have to teach races in different disciplines.”
When the motion was released last week, Board of Regents spokesman Matt Keith said the board frequently receives requests for information from lawmakers on a wide range of subjects.
Emails show that Flanders asked Daniel Archer, Vice President for Academic Affairs on the Board of Regents, on June 1st to “consult the Provosts” and “ask what offers are exposing students to this theory”.
When Archer emailed the Probste 30 minutes later, he put the request in the context of legislative action on Critical Racial Theory, noting that several states have passed or introduced laws that allow the teaching of Critical Racial Theory in public schools and colleges to forbid.
“Although there was no law on the matter in Kansas this year, we received a legal request to see if this was taught in public universities,” Archer wrote. “Can you please tell me if this is taught on your campus?”
Some proponents of professors say the question is inappropriate.
“We are seeing widespread movement this year to suppress the teaching on oppression and race,” Gwendolyn Bradley, a spokeswoman for the American Association for University Presidents, said in an email Friday.
Chase Billingham, an associate professor of sociology at Wichita State University, posted a letter on Facebook that he allegedly wrote to the university administration. It described the request as an “egregious violation of the fundamental principles of academic freedom”.