KU encouraging profs to become 'Social Justice Fellows'

The University of Kansas is recruiting professors for a semester-long program dedicated to “social justice issues” and “cultural competency.”

The Social Justice Fellows program, organized by the school’s Multicultural Affairs Office (OMA), will train roughly 35 professors and administrators in the spring of 2018, according to a recent announcement for the program.

“This intensive experience will focus on critical examination of oneself and their role in the system with the goal of developing skills to advocate and create systemic change,” the application says, adding that, “In social justice work, it is crucial to do your own self-work.”

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About 60 people have completed the program to date, according to the school’s announcement, which notes that the program was first offered in 2015, after the school held a town hall on “race, respect, responsibility, and free speech.”

The extensive reading assignments, which trainees will be required to complete outside of class time, will help “create a baseline of social justice knowledge” that professors can use to “conduct a critical examination of themselves and their role in systems of oppression.”

While it is unclear what exactly the professors will be learning, the program defines social justice as “not a single act, but a way of life,” adding that “it is the conscious decision to challenge oneself and others to refrain from participating in systems of oppression.”

“We are working to educate faculty and staff on campus, and social justice fellows allow us to build an army of informed allies who are also committed to creating a more inclusive campus,” said OMA Director Precious Porras.

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This year’s participants are being asked to pay $50 to cover the cost of the program, but the school vows that “no applicants will be turned away because of inability to pay.”

The Social Justice Fellows program is one of many programs that the OMA offers. It boasts of a rigorous line-up of events for students, including an upcoming “Feminist Parenting” workshop, held by the school’s “intersectional feminist parenting group,” and a dance performance titled “Becoming a Man in 127 Easy Steps.”

Campus Reform reached out to the University of Kansas  for comment, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

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