State demands professors teach government-approved wokeness

By Bob Unruh


(Photo by Andrey Zvyagintsev on Unsplash)
(Photo by Andrey Zvyagintsev on Unsplash)

The state of California is demanding professors at community colleges teach the state-adopted ideology of “diversity, equity and inclusion” and is getting sued for that reason.

The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression is taking the action on behalf of six California community college professors to fight “new, systemwide regulations forcing professors to espouse and teach” those “politicized” ideas.

The professors teach at one of several Fresno-area community colleges within the State Center Community College District.

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FIRE reported, “Under the new regulations, all of the more-than-54,000 professors who teach in the California Community Colleges system must incorporate ‘anti-racist’ viewpoints into classroom teaching.”

But that, the case charges, violates the First Amendment.

FIRE explained, “The regulations explicitly require professors to pledge allegiance to contested ideological viewpoints. Professors must ‘acknowledge’ that ‘cultural and social identities are diverse, fluid, and intersectional,’ and they must develop ‘knowledge of the intersectionality of social identities and the multiple axes of oppression that people from different racial, ethnic, and other minoritized groups face.'”

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Their job performance evaluations will depend on their political advocacy, the report said.

“I’m a professor of chemistry. How am I supposed to incorporate DEI into my classroom instruction?” asked Reedley College professor Bill Blanken. “What’s the ‘anti-racist’ perspective on the atomic mass of boron?”

Daniel Ortner, a lawyer for FIRE, said, “These regulations are a totalitarian triple-whammy. The government is forcing professors to teach and preach a politicized viewpoint they do not share, imposing incomprehensible guidelines, and threatening to punish professors when they cross an arbitrary, indiscernible line.”

DEI is a new social agenda that has developed for several years, but has surged under the leadership of Joe Biden’s advocacy.

FIRE said it has found that half of professors say such mandatory diversity statements violate academic freedom.

“Hearing uncomfortable ideas is not ‘curricular trauma,’ and teaching all sides of an issue is not ‘weaponizing’ academic freedom,'” charged Loren Palsgaard, a professor of English at Madera Community College.

“That’s just called ‘education.'”

The state has gone to extremes in its demands, insisting that “persons that say they are ‘not a racist’ are in denial” and treating all people without recognition of their skin color “is itself a problem.”

Everyone, the state demands, must adopt the ideology that there is “systematic racism.”

Even a professor explaining he or she grades “on merit” now is offensive to the state, because, the state claims, “Merit is embedded in the ideology of Whiteness and upholds race-based structural inequality.”

FIRE had warned the state when the concepts were brought up in 2022 that such rules likely were unconstitutional.

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