Republican gubernatorial candidate and University of Nebraska Regent Jim Pillen is asking the Board of Regents to adopt a resolution opposing “any imposition of critical race theory” as part of university curriculum.
“I believe critical race theory is factually and morally wrong,” he said Thursday.
“I do not believe in teaching children to judge each other on the basis of their skin color. There is no place in our classrooms for this ideology.”
Critical race theory is loosely defined as a critical examination of social, cultural and legal issues related to race and racism in the U.S.
Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts has vocally opposed critical race theory, calling it “un-American.”
Pillen’s resolution, which will be presented at the regents meeting next month, says that “we oppose discrimination in any form” while arguing that critical race theory proponents “seek to silence opposing views and disparage important American ideals.”
“America is the best country in the world and anyone can achieve the American Dream here,” the resolution says.
Last month, Pillen signed a pledge to promote “patriotic civics education while opposing curriculum and school policies that politicize education and pit students against each other on the basis of race or sex.”
Two conservative groups had called on Pillen before last month’s regents meeting to sponsor a resolution denouncing the teaching of critical race theory at the University of Nebraska.
Pillen had said he opposes the teaching of critical race theory in Nebraska, preferring instead that teachers and professors focus on “facts and commonsense Nebraska values.”
But Pillen also made it clear that he was speaking as a candidate for governor.
Patrick Peterson, executive director of the Nebraska Freedom Coalition, criticized Pillen for taking an “easy out.”
While regents stay away from directing policy — a bylaw governing the board “reaffirms belief in, pledges support of, and directs all segments of the university community to sustain and follow” principles of academic freedom — Peterson said regents have the final say in what NU funds and how.