As fall terms get underway on campuses, so too do state legislative campaigns seeking to restrict teaching about the history of race and racism in the United States. Three states have already pre-filed bills for the 2022 legislative season, and several more have active legislation that will carry over from the 2021 session.
The bills are a naked attempt to manipulate curricula to advance partisan or ideological aims. Many attack the scholarly field of critical race theory, but their purpose is much broader: to suppress teaching and learning about racism.
We’d like to know if and how these bills, or related attempts to chill the free exchange of facts and ideas about American history, have affected you. Please let us know by taking this brief survey.
The AAUP is working to protect faculty’s ability to teach the truth about American history, and to further racial justice in higher education and in our own organization. Here are some resources and initiatives we’d like members to know about:
- The African American Policy Forum has issued a call to action for faculty to push back against these attacks on teaching by introducing faculty senate resolutions at the institutions. You can see a model resolution here and register for an October 14 kickoff event here.
- This month, we filed an amicus brief condemning political attacks on teaching about race in Texas.
- Also this month, we welcomed to the staff a new government relations specialist who will work with chapters and state conferences, focusing this year on legislation that seeks to restrict teaching about race and racism
- We have launched a special committee that will report on a pattern of egregious violations of principles of academic governance and persistent structural racism in the University of North Carolina System.
- We issued this Statement on Legislation Restricting Teaching about Race.
- AAUP members discuss Critical Race Theory and the Assault on Antiracist Thinking and Holding the Line against Attacks on Critical Race Theory in Nebraska in the fall issue of Academe magazine.
- Finally, over the past year, AAUP staff and leaders have been planning and participating in an intensive process to learn about systemic racism in the United States and re-evaluate our practices in light of what we learn. Because the work we are undertaking is substantial and deep, it will take time, and results will not be immediate. But we expect that it will be deep and lasting.
More information about the wave of legislation seeking to suppress teaching about race is here. Other resources about racial justice are here.
Chair, AAUP Racial Justice Committee