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NU's student governments call on regents to reject critical race theory proposal
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NU's student governments call on regents to reject critical race theory proposal

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Take a look at the key points in the debate surrounding critical race theory.

The University of Nebraska's student governments passed legislation last week that "strongly opposes" Regent Jim Pillen's resolution to curb the teaching of critical race theory.

In a statement, student Regents Batool Ibrahim of UNL, Maeve Hemmer of UNO, Taylor Kratochvil of UNMC and Noah Limbach of UNK said they co-authored the legislation to send "a unified dissent against the infringement on academic freedom that Regent Pillen's resolution represents."

The two-term Columbus regent and candidate for governor sponsored a resolution asking the board to "oppose any imposition of critical race theory in curriculum at NU," a move that has drawn support from Gov. Pete Ricketts and other conservative politicians.

But it drew criticism and opposition from NU's administration, faculty, student-athletes and others before the elected leaders representing all 52,000 students across the university system added their concerns.

"This resolution undermines the mission and values of the University of Nebraska by attempting to influence curriculum and decrease opportunities for critical thinking and exchange of knowledge," the student regents said in a statement.

"There is no doubt in our minds that the chilling message sent by this resolution would make it harder for Nebraska to recruit and retain young people," they continued.

Regents will consider Pillen's resolution Friday. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in the Varner Hall board room at 3835 Holdrege St.

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Last week, in a statement, Pillen said "Nebraskans want the confidence of knowing their tax and tuition dollars cannot be used to force critical race theory on anyone at the University of Nebraska.

"Students should be educated, not indoctrinated," he said.

In their resolution, the student government leaders said NU's "world-class faculty are best positioned to determine curriculum and establish space for critical, independent thinking."

Critical race theory is a framework to examine systemic inequities stemming from racial discrimination and has typically been taught at law schools and at the graduate level.

Emails overwhelmingly call on Nebraska regents to reject Pillen's critical race theory resolution

While student regents participate in board discussion and cast votes signaling their approval or non-approval of issues, their votes are not considered for whether a measure passes or fails.

Still, regents often solicit opinions from the student regents, and consider their voice when making decisions on various matters.

The student regents urged the eight constitutionally elected regents "to keep the student perspective at the forefront of their decisions and vote no" on Pillen's resolution.

Pillen says it's time to balance Nebraska's tax system, focus on Nebraska values

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS

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