University Removes Slave-Owning Benefactor’s Name, His Family Demands Their $51 Million Back

If your name isn’t good enough for a college, is your money? Such a question has been raised over a now-deleted donator in Virginia.

The situation dates back to 1846, when a man named Thomas C. Williams attended Richmond College. In the 1880s, he served as a trustee.

More from the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

After his death, his family made a gift to [the college] that helped establish the law school. When Richmond College became the University of Richmond in 1920, it began referring to the law school as the T.C. Williams School of Law.

That was then, this is now. In September of 2022, the University of Richmond board voted unanimously to change the name to the University of Richmond School of Law.

At the time, President Kevin Hallock and the board issued a letter:

We recognize that some may be disappointed or disagree with this decision. We also recognize the role the Williams family has played here and respect the full and complete history of the institution.

He may have played an important part, but according to tax records, T.C.’s successful tobacco business owned 25 to 40 slaves.

Six months before T.C.’s booting, half a dozen campus buildings were re-labeled. Gone were references to those who’d possessed slaves — including Robert Ryland, the school’s first president in 1840.

On March 26th, a new policy was instated:

No building, program, professorship, or other entity at the University should be named for a person who directly engaged in the trafficking and/or enslavement of others or openly advocated for the enslavement of people.

Out with the old, in with the new. But T.C.’s family wants their man’s old money back: If he’s unworthy of recognition for his efforts, they figure, his cash should be no good as well.

T.C.’s great-great-grandson explained in a letter to the president.

If suddenly his name is not good enough for the University, then isn’t the proper ethical and, indeed, virtuous action to return the benefactor’s money with interest? … [I]s it not a form of fraud to induce money from a benefactor, and then discredit the benefactor after he is long dead? Surely the Williams family would not have given a penny to the University knowing that the University would later dishonor the family.

It was a might more than a penny; Rob has done the math:

At a six-percent compounded interest over 132 years, [T.C.’s] gift to the law school alone is now valued at over $51 million, and this does not include many other substantial gifts from my family to the University.

Bottom line:

The ethical and virtuous decision is clear. Return the money.

Rob told The College Fix his family has sent President Kevin “20 (unreturned) emails asking for the evidence” regarding their ancestor’s slavery connection.

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White people need to ‘work’ on their ‘whiteness’: sociologist

White people need to acknowledge their faults and fix their “whiteness,” according to an Oregon sociologist.

Professor Emily Drew will host a “conversation” in February “for white people to reflect together on what it means to ‘do our work’ as white people,” according to an announcement.

The Willamette University professor’s presentation at a local library is titled “Working on Our Whiteness.”

Participants will be asked to consider the following questions:

How can we who are white show up as more effective and less damaging participants in struggles to interrupt racism in our community? How can white people engage in efforts to dismantle racism in ways that do not reproduce or place unfair burdens upon people of color to be our teachers?

The “work” that white people must focus on “includes taking responsibility for one another, educating ourselves, and coming to view other white people as our partners—not competition—in developing antiracist identity.”

Drew also teaches ethnic studies at Willamette. “She gives presentations at universities and community-based organizations on the subjects of white privilege, gentrification, fair housing, reparations and affirmative action,” according to her bio. “In all of these capacities, she is an organizer and strategic planner, helping institutions develop and implement long term commitments to anti-racist, multicultural diversity.”

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Mississippi Bill Would Mandate Surveillance Cameras in Schools and Colleges

bill introduced last week in the Mississippi Legislature would require public schools and postsecondary institutions to install video surveillance cameras all over their campuses. The bill would require that the cameras also record audio and that they be installed in classrooms, auditoriums, cafeterias, gyms, hallways, recreational areas, and along each facility’s perimeter. Further, it would permit students’ parents to view live feeds of classroom instruction, according to the bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Stacey Hobgood-Wilkes (R–Picayune). 

“We have so much critical race theory being taught in our schools and different issues,” Wilkes said before introducing the bill. “It holds teachers accountable. It also helps them with discipline. Parents can’t come in there and say, ‘my child didn’t do that.'” The bill lists “monitoring classroom instruction” as an authorized use of surveillance footage. 

Wilkes did not respond to a request from Reason for further comment.

The bill would also authorize parents to request access to footage of an “incident” in which their child was involved. Schools must notify parents before classes begin each semester that cameras will be in use at their child’s school. Campus signage will notify students, teachers, and visitors of where cameras are in use.

Although the bill provides that cameras “shall only be installed in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy,” the areas in which cameras would be statutorily required—specifically, the school cafeteria, recreational areas, and “interior corridors”—are precisely the types of places where students often carry on conversations they perceive to be relatively private. 

Schools would be required to back up footage to a cloud-based system and scrub it after 90 days of storage, unless it becomes relevant to a qualifying school or legal investigation. However, school data troves are notoriously leaky and susceptible to hacking attacks. According to the K12 Security Information Exchange’s 2022 annual report, there have been “a total of 1,331 publicly disclosed school cyber incidents affecting U.S. school districts (and other public educational organizations)” since 2016. 

The bill does not raise any obvious constitutional questions, assuming, of course, that cameras in college classrooms are not used to abridge the academic freedom of professors or students. But its cultural implications are massive. Primary school is mandatory. Many schools are already staffed by “resource officers.” Add numerous cameras or metal detectors, and schools might start to feel more like holding centers than places of learning.

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Woke Stars Shine: Colorado College Astrophysics Prof Claims the Study of Space Is Racist, Sexist

Colorado College astrophysics professor Natalie Gosnell says her field is engrossed in “white supremacy” and sexism, adding that language used to describe the cosmos is “very violent and hyper-masculine.”

Gosnell, who is dismayed over society separating “math” and “creativity” into two categories, says dichotomizing these two characteristics is rooted in systemic racism and sexism, according to a report by Colorado College News.

“As an astrophysicist, I’m a product of institutions that are steeped in systemic racism and white supremacy,” Gosnell told the student newspaper.

“The tenets of white supremacy that show up [in physics] of individualism and exceptionalism and perfectionism… it’s either-or thinking, and there’s no subtlety, there’s no gray area,” the professor added. “All of this manifests in the way that we think about our research, and what counts as good research, what counts as important research?”

Colorado College News concurred, adding that “most of Gosnell’s career has been dictated by the hyper-masculine world of astrophysics.”

When a star transfers its mass to an orbiting star, for example, this process is discussed “through a violent, hyper-masculine lens,” the student newspaper said, noting that the phenomenon has been referred to as a “Vampire star” or “Cannibal star,” with Gosnell adding that these stars are also viewed as the “bad boys” of the universe.

“I think because science and art have been so separated, and there’s — systemic issues within science, the metaphors that are often chosen [to discuss science] are very violent and hyper-masculine,” the professor said.

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Harvard’s Kennedy School: Key Part Of The Military-Industrial Complex

Harvard’s Kennedy School’s denial of a fellowship to Kenneth Roth, the former head of Human Rights Watch, because of his criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza is only the latest example of the corporate role played by Harvard’s most prestigious think tank on public policy.  Roth, who has spent the last three decades at HRW defending human rights around the world, was offered a senior fellowship at the School’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy.  It was quickly withdrawn.

The school’s dean, Douglas Elmendorf, blocked the appointment following pressure from donors and supporters of Israel and its apartheid policies.  Hundreds of Harvard affiliates have now called on Elmendorf to resign as Dean.  The critics of Elmendorf include former Harvard president Lawrence Summers.

As America’s leading human rights defender, Roth has criticized numerous governments that violated human rights, including Israel’s.  No one has been more aggressive in this area than Kenneth Roth, who has challenged all those who have abused their power and authority.  No one has ever suggested that Roth’s criticisms of Israel were based on racial or religious animus.

In view of the fact that there are so few defenders of human rights and that the new Israeli government is poised to further suppress the human rights of its minority Palestinian population as well as those Palestinians in the occupied territory, the Harvard decision becomes more shocking.  The fact that Roth’s parents were refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and that the Roth family lost members in the Holocaust makes Harvard’s decision even more ironic and unconscionable.  From both the standpoint of human rights and academic freedom, Harvard and its Kennedy School mark themselves as failures.

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Is White Paint Racist?

I’ve just spent a week in a very white place. The snow fell solidly for two days, and everything was white – the air, the ground, the trees, the streets. And to complete the picture, the houses, in the little seaside town south of Oslo, blended in perfectly, being painted pure, brilliant white. When I got back to a green(ish) Scotland, I didn’t sigh with relief, “Thank goodness, I’m finally out of that racist hellhole.” But perhaps I should have.

According to Norwegian academics, “whiteness” and “white supremacy” are terms to take literally, and the colour white, in particular the white paint that is so commonly used on Norwegian houses, equals racism. Had it been the first of April, I would have assumed this was a hoax, but alas this is serious, state-funded stuff.

From the research project ‘How Norway Made the World Whiter (NorWhite)’ co-authored by Ingrid Haland, an associate professor at the University of Bergen, we learn that:

Whiteness is one of today’s key societal and political concerns. Within and beyond academia worldwide, actions of revolt and regret seek to cope with our racial past. In the pivotal works in whiteness studies within art and architecture history, whiteness is understood as cultural and visual structures of privilege. The new research project ‘How Norway Made the World Whiter’ (NorWhite) funded by the Research Council of Norway (12 million NOK), addresses a distinctively different battleground for politics of whiteness in art and architecture. Two core premises underpin the project: Whiteness is not only a cultural and societal condition tied to skin colour, privileges, and systematic exclusion, but materialise everywhere around us. Second, one cannot understand this materialisation without understanding the societal, technological and aesthetic conditions of the colour itself.

Following this inane logic, I should be ashamed at owning a white house, but perhaps pleased that my parents’ cabin in the mountains is painted brown? Or is that cultural appropriation?

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Language Police: USC Removes ‘Field’ from ‘Field Work’ Because It May Be ‘Anti-Black or Anti-Immigrant’

USC’s School of Social Work is removing the word “field” from its curriculum and practice, arguing that it “could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant” to say someone is “going into the field” or conducting “field work.” The university explains, “our goal is not just to change language but to honor and acknowledge inclusion and reject white supremacy, anti-immigrant and anti-blackness ideologies.”

“We have decided to remove the term ‘field’ from our curriculum and practice and replace it with ‘practicum.’ This change supports anti-racist social work practice by replacing language that could be considered anti-black or anti-immigrant in favor of inclusive language,” a letter from the Practicum Education Department read.

The letter was shared by Houman David Hemmati, a board-certified MD Ophthalmologist and Ph.D. research scientist, who said the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work “will no longer use the word ‘field’ (as in ‘conducting field work’) because it’s perceived as racist.”

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America’s Systemic Racism Problem Is Mostly In Woke, Anti-Asian Education Bureaucracies

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin began 2023 by asking the state’s Attorney General Jason Miyares to investigate the allegation that officials at Thomas Jefferson High School (TJ) intentionally withheld notifications of National Merit awards from the school’s students and families (most of them are Asians) in the name of “equity” and “inclusion.”

Asra Q. Nomani, a human rights activist and a proud mom of a TJ graduate, broke the latest scandal at the school right before Christmas. According to Nomani, the scandal was initially uncovered by another TJ mom, Shawna Yashar, whose son took the PSAT test. He was recognized by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation “as a Commended Student in the top 3 percent nationwide — one of about 50,000 students earning that distinction.” It was the kind of honor that would have helped his applications for colleges and scholarships last fall had the TJ officials not withheld his award announcement. When the TJ officials eventually notified him of his award, the deadline for his college applications had already passed, which rendered the award useless. 

Nomani learned that her son, a graduate of TJ’s class of 2021, was never told by school officials that he was a “Commended Student” in 2020. Even more infuriating is that these two young men’s experiences were not the result of some honest one-time mistake.

Nomani discovered that “the principal, Ann Bonitatibus, and the director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, have been withholding this information from families and the public for years, affecting the lives of at least 1,200 students over the principal’s tenure of five years.” These officials’ actions (or inactions) disproportionally hurt Asian students because the majority of the school’s student body is Asian. By intentionally withholding awards and eventually delivering them late and in a low-key way, these officials robbed the students and their families of chances to celebrate hard-earned achievements. 

In addition, these officials caused undue harm to these students’ college applications and scholarships. For some first-generation immigrants with no other financial resources to fall back on, the damage caused by these school officials’ actions could have a lifetime effect, with some students having to settle for less prestigious colleges or be forced to take out more student loans. 

After Nomani broke the story, TJ’s director of student services, Brandon Kosatka, justified her action by insisting, “We want to recognize students for who they are as individuals, not focus on their achievements.” Does she understand that celebrating someone’s achievement and acknowledging someone’s effort is an important part of recognizing students as individuals? 

Meanwhile, Bonitatibus “still hasn’t publicly recognized the students or told parents from earlier years that their students won the awards. And she hasn’t yet delivered the missing certificates.”

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MIT Goes Against the Grain, Releases a Stunning Statement Endorsing Free Speech

Surprise — the Massachusetts Institute of Technology endorses students’ liberty to engage in offensive speech…officially.

In contrast to castigations of “hate speech” and the increasingly common notion that “hate speech isn’t free speech,” MIT is siding with the Constitution.

On December 21st, the Cambridge private land-grant research university released a Free Expression Statement.

From the document:

Free expression is a necessary, though not sufficient, condition of a diverse and inclusive community. We cannot have a truly free community of expression if some perspectives can be heard and others cannot. Learning from a diversity of viewpoints, and from the deliberation, debate, and dissent that accompany them, are essential ingredients of academic excellence.

Free expression promotes creativity by affirming the ability to exchange ideas without constraints. It not only facilitates individual autonomy and self-fulfillment, it provides for participation in collective decision-making and is essential to the search for truth and justice. … Academic freedom promotes scholarly rigor and the testing of ideas by protecting research, publication, and teaching from interference.

That principle means on-campus guests can’t be relegated to a single perspective:

A commitment to free expression includes hearing and hosting speakers, including those whose views or opinions may not be shared by many members of the MIT community and may be harmful to some. This commitment includes the freedom to criticize and peacefully protest speakers to whom one may object, but it does not extend to suppressing or restricting such speakers from expressing their views. Debate and deliberation of controversial ideas are hallmarks of the Institute’s educational and research missions and are essential to the pursuit of truth, knowledge, equity, and justice.

The school makes clear things such as “direct threats, harassment, plagiarism, or other speech that falls outside the boundaries of the First Amendment” won’t be protected. Furthermore, it expects “a collegial and respectful learning and working environment.”

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University removes art history professor for showing class two ancient Prophet Muhammad depictions

‘One of the most egregious violations of academic freedom in recent memory’

Hamline University in Minnesota has reportedly declined to renew the contract of an art history professor because they showed two ancient art images depicting the Prophet Muhammad during an optional online class segment.

The College Fix reached out on Monday and Tuesday to campus spokesman Jeff Papas, the university’s public relations specialist Michael Strasburg, and a general communications contact, to ask for the name of the professor, confirmation his contract was not renewed, and the explanation for the non-renewal. No response has been received.

The professor has not been identified in various reports on the incident.

Many — but not all — Muslims object to visual representations of religious figures such as Muhammad, understanding them as form of idolatry, according to Britannica.

“An instructor who showed an Islamic painting during a visual analysis — a basic exercise for art history training — was publicly impugned for hate speech and dismissed thereafter, without access to due process,” Christiane Gruber, a professor of Islamic art at the University of Michigan, wrote in a December 22 essay for New Lines Magazine

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