Resolution Opposing Critical Race Theory Fails 5-3 at University Regents Meeting

Aug. 13, 2021, 6:41 p.m. ·

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The University of Nebraska Board of Regents (Photo by William Padmore, Nebraska Public Media News)

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted 5-3 Friday against a resolution that would have prevented critical race theory from being “imposed in curriculum training and programming.”

The resolution, brought by Regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen, had become a source of controversy in recent weeks.

Supporters of Pillen’s resolution, like Governor Pete Ricketts, claim critical race theory encourages discrimination based on skin color. 

Critics, including the ACLU of Nebraska and some University faculty and students said the resolution would affect the university’s recruitment efforts and limit students’ academic freedoms.

During the meeting, Pillen argued his resolution was being mischaracterized.

"It's about the safety of our students and faculty without having to worry about something being imposed on them," Pillen said. "This resolution plainly states that the University of Nebraska should play no role in forcing critical race theory on anyone, students, faculty, and staff.”

Despite Pillen’s opinions, the majority of the regents concluded that the resolution, whatever its intention or actual application, now had the perception of being harmful to the university. Regent Tim Clare voted against the resolution.

"Proposals like the one before us today it seems only seeks to further divide an already fractured society," Clare said. "Instead, I believe we need to be doubling down on teaching our students how to disagree with one another with civility yet finding common ground and purpose. "

After the vote, governor Pete Ricketts released a statement doubling down on his opposition to critical race theory and vowed that the fight over it would continue.