A proposal by the University of Memphis for professors to align teaching programs for their students with controversial ‘woke culture’ doctrines is causing concern among Tennessee professors and state legislators.
The taxpayer money would be used to pay $3,000 to those who redesign and align their curricula with the university’s “Initiative to Eradicate Systemic Racism and Promote Social Justice,” according to The Washington Free Beacon Jan. 3.
Faculty seeking payment must submit a copy of their syllabi to be reworked and a 500-word “narrative” about their “philosophy of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” in addition to explaining how they will supposedly “address disparities” in their area of study.
For his part, Rep. Tim Burchett, (R-Tenn.), expressed that the university’s leadership should be “ashamed” of the way they are using taxpayer money.
“Leadership at the University of Memphis should be ashamed for bribing professors to advance this useless teaching,” Burchett said after learning about the new program.
He added, “Students are better prepared for professional careers if they learn the three R’s—reading, writing, and arithmetic—instead of woke activism.”
Along these lines, one professor, who preferred to remain anonymous, expressed puzzlement, given the limitations of the university’s budget, which could be invested in more effective ways.
“We’ve had a hard time retaining good faculty at our salary levels, so anytime you see money being spent on non-student or non-faculty causes, it makes you scratch your head,” the professor emphasized.
And he questioned, “Could this money be spent on students or retaining quality faculty rather than a progressive agenda that isn’t likely supported by the taxpayers or voters of Tennessee?”
He also raised concerns about the budget being used to turn students into activists and the incompatibility of some subjects with controversial progressive theories.
“I’m not sure how changing an accounting, nursing, or engineering course to align with social justice principles helps students,” he said.
He added: “When faculty are underpaid in the first place, it’s hard to blame them for taking this money. But it creates an incentive for a nonpartisan instructor to turn their students into activists for a few extra dollars.”
On the other hand, the increasing insistence of federal institutions and large corporations on pushing such theories has caused serious concerns in the country.
According to the experience of one Virginia mother, Xi Van Fleet, who survived Mao Zedong’s Cultural Revolution before immigrating to the United States, such theories pitted students against each other and their teachers, just as the critical race theory so championed by leftist sectors in the United States today is doing.
Van Fleet’s speech was posted on Twitter by TVP, a program aimed at exposing anti-American activities such as critical race theory and other types of subversion used against America.
“Watch a brave parent who grew up in Mao’s China point out all of the identical traits b/n the Cultural Revolution and what LCPS, and really every school system, are doing through the use of CRT.”