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Carter, Chancellors Express “Significant Concerns” About Planned Regents Resolution

Lincoln, NE (July 21, 2021)  Support, opposition for, or even the freedom to discuss Critical Race Theory may be the next intellectual battle ground at the University of Nebraska.

NU Regent and Candidate for Governor Jim Pillen has let it be known that he plans to place a resolution on the Regents agenda for its August 13 meeting regarding Critical Race Theory.  Although a draft of the resolution has not yet been provided, Pillen’s campaign website says he will oppose attempts to inject anti-American ideology, like the “1619 project” and “critical race theory,” into Nebraska classrooms.

Today, University of Nebraska President Ted Carter and the Chancellors of the four University Campuses issued a joint statement expressing what they termed “significant concerns” about the resolution.  It has also drawn opposition already from a group of current and former NU athletes.  According to today’s statement by Carter and the Chancellors, there has been a great deal of conversation across our campuses about academic freedom and its importance to our university. 

The joint statement, by Carter and the Chancellors of the Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney Campuses, says they are concerned about the way Pillen’s resolution will be interpreted by faculty, staff and students they hope to hire and retain. The five administrators said they will “work together, and with the Board, to protect and defend academic freedom at the University.”

The statement went on to say the following:

“The free and open pursuit of ideas is a cherished principle in higher education, and its preservation is vital for any great university. As our policies and practices make clear, the University of Nebraska is strongly committed to academic freedom. We support and defend the liberties our teachers and learners have to freely discuss ideas in and outside of the classroom.
Our central mission is to educate Nebraska’s future leaders, and in preparing students to be thoughtful and engaged citizens, our instructors expose them to any number of concepts and ideas. Issues around race, equity and the fight against racism are an important part of our country’s story and they have an appropriate place in our classrooms. Our policies guard against the introduction of matters that are irrelevant to the subject at hand. We further expect and believe that in discussing ideas, our instructors make their classrooms places of robust and open debate, where all viewpoints are considered and all may express their opinions freely. That commitment to free expression is at the heart of our work as an institution of higher learning.”

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