University Scrubs ‘Anti-Racism’ Pledge From Website After Professor Complaint

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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A Texas university removed an anti-racism pledge from its website as of Monday after a professor vocalized his opposition in an opinion article published earlier this year.

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) English Department anti-racism statement opened with a land acknowledgement and embraced the concepts of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), according to a screenshot published by Adam Ellwanger, a UHD english professor, in a Campus Reform op-ed. The statement, however, appears to have been removed from the website, according to the inaccessible link. (RELATED: Arizona Medical School Pushes ‘Anti-Racism’ Coalition)

“We, the English Department, acknowledge that systemic racism harms Black and African-descendant, Indigenous, Latin American, Latinx and Latin, Asian, Asian-American, American Arab, Middle Eastern, North African, and multi-racial persons, and we are all the worse because of it,” the statement read. “We are aware that we are complicit in systems of oppression through our individual and collective actions. We reject white supremacy and its ideologies of racism, xenophobia, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, and ableism. We uphold social justice in our lives and work as teachers and scholars. We embrace diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Ellwanger suspects that the statement was removed in response to “the public attention that the antiracism statement received,” but cannot say for certain as he was not notified by the department of its removal, he told the Daily Caller News Foundation. He previously took issue with the statement’s language and wrote in his op-ed that it equated to “compelled speech.”

“As a member of the faculty, this ‘we’ speaks for me. But not only do I not ’embrace’ these concepts (in the sense they are used on campus), I have voiced a good deal of explicit opposition to them, both as a private person and in my capacity as an academic,” Ellwanger wrote. “Given that the department has now stated openly that the promotion of these values should be manifested in ‘our work as teachers and scholars,’ how might this effect my annual evaluation scores in the categories of teaching and scholarship?”

Anti-racism is “shorthand” for a “radical leftist agenda,” according to Ellwanger. It maintains that society should be viewed through a critical lens and its policies “are full of racial favoritism and demonization,” he wrote.

“The ideas that it expressed play very well within the confines of academia, but those ideas to not reflect the values of the wider public,” he told the DCNF. “Therefore, a statement of that sort seems out of place for a public university in the state of Texas.”

Multiple Texas universities rushed to scrap DEI initiatives from their departments after Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s Chief of Staff Garner Pate sent a memo to university leaders on Feb. 6 warning that using DEI as a hiring standard is illegal. Universities also cannot use taxpayer money to fund DEI programs, Pate wrote.

UHD did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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