Kansas universities asked to evaluate courses teaching Critical Race Theory

Jordan Meier
Morning Sun

PITTSBURG, Kan. — In the wake of a year marked by calls for racial justice across the country, calls for the evaluation of the teaching of race in schools have become louder and louder.  

On Thursday, freelance journalist David Perry posted to Twitter an email appearing to be between two members of Pittsburg State University’s faculty. The names in the email exchange were redacted.  

The email reads, “Good evening, I have received an email this evening from Dr. Pomatto inquiring for the provost's office if Critical Race Theory is being taught in any PSU classes.”  

The email goes on to ask the faculty to ask around their programs, identify any classes that teach CRT and report back to the sender.  

While not made clear in the email, Twitter users, including Perry, quickly jumped on the request as an attempt to end the teaching of the theory in classes and a form of censorship.  

“The incoherence of the purge makes it no less a purge,” Perry tweeted.  

Critical Race Theory (CRT) has been a controversial practice for many years with many people both for the teaching of it and against it. In 2020, then-President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the use of CRT in federal trainings.  

While CRT experts acknowledge it is a complex, nuanced issue, the American Bar Association describes CRT as “a practice of interrogating the role of race and racism in society that emerged in the legal academy and spread to other fields of scholarship. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition.” 

The organization also describes it as a practice that “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others.”  

In response to a request for comment, a PSU spokesperson said that to their knowledge the request did not originate from PSU officials, but rather was made by a Kansas legislator, and then passed to all six Kansas state universities via the Kansas Board of Regents, the governing body over higher education in Kansas.  

The Board of Regents could not be reached by press time. This is a developing story and will be updated in the coming days.  

Jordan Meier is a staff writer for the Morning Sun. She can be reached at jmeier@morningsun.net