Florida university takes down 'anti-racism' statements

Following Florida’s July 1 adoption of a bill restricting the teaching of divisive racial concepts in state-funded schools, the University of Central Florida has removed anti-racism statements from departments' websites.

Departments that now have broken links to URLs that once had antiracism statements include the anthropology, physics, philosophy, and English departments.

Following Florida’s July 1 adoption of a bill restricting the teaching of divisive racial concepts in state-funded schools, the University of Central Florida (UCF) has been removing anti-racism statements from departments' websites.

House Bill 7, also known as the Stop Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E) Act, prohibits schools from teaching students that members of some races are superior to others, that members of a race are inherently “oppressive” simply due to their skin color, that racial groups should be held responsible for the crimes of their ancestors, and related concepts typically associated with Critical Race Theory (CRT).

Such concepts are often grouped together under the catch-all term anti-racism in academic contexts. 

UCF departments that now have broken links to URLs that once had such anti-racism statements include the anthropologyphysicsphilosophy, and English departments.

[RELATED: CAMPUS PROFILE: University of Central Florida]

UCF has a FAQ section on its website regarding the law.

FAQ questions include “Can I teach or train about advantages enjoyed by some members of our society?, “I have experienced racism or sexism. Is it okay for me to talk about this in the classroom?”, and “How can I present material ‘in an objective manner without endorsement’ if it is my own scholarly research?”

In response to these concerns, the UCF website clarifies that the bill permits open discussion about CRT-related concepts, it just does not permit these to be taught in such a way as to make anyone feel guilty for their race, or to attempt to compel belief in the concepts.

[RELATED: 'Anti-Racism' series will lecture students on 'necro-being,' the 'worst form of racism' according to this professor]

Stating that state-funded schools can and should discuss the history of discrimination and oppression of African Americans in the United States, HB7 also clarifies that “classroom instruction and curriculum may not be used to indoctrinate or persuade students to a particular point of view inconsistent with the principles enumerated in subsection (3) or the state academic standards.”

In spite of this clarification, associate professor of history at UCF, Dr. Robert Cassanello, has been a part of an ongoing legal battle against the state claiming HB7 violates First Amendment rights.

Campus Reform reached out to UCF’s Office of the President and Dr. Cassanello. This article will be updated accordingly.