Oregon Students Demand Critical Race Theory Graduation ‘Requirement’

The Associated Students of the University of Oregon, the university’s student government, wants to make a critical race theory course a graduation “requirement.”

During a Board of Trustees meeting, president Isaiah Boyd said that the goal of the “Critical Race Theory” project is to “implement the primary teachings of CRT into the curriculum track for all undergraduates.”

Boyd said the Associated Students of the University of Oregon would be working with the university’s administration to include the critical race theory class requirement into the tracks to receive bachelor’s degrees.

According to Boyd, “Racism and the social power structures that have enabled and continued to manifest the inequalities that many marginalized identities groups face must be continuously addressed and studied.”

He also described critical race theory as a “framework used to examine power and oppression dynamics between racialized groups.”

“Increasing awareness of systemic racial inequities creates an opportunity for people in power to engage in socially conscious action and decision-making within higher education,” he said.

“My goal is to, with the undergraduate provost’s office in the winter quarter, to kind of establish the curriculum. As well as our ethnic studies department, our black studies department and seeing if we can coordinate with them and open up that discussion of how can we build a system sustainable for years to come.”

Student government president Boyd said that the “Critical Race Theory” project is Associated Students of the University of Oregon’s “highest priority.” 

University open to proposal

According to the university’s Office of the Provost, the school is open to discussing the student government’s proposal.

It released a statement that read, “Recently, the university went through an extensive process to update its undergraduate Core Education requirement focused on issues of race and inequality. The Office of the Provost is happy to continue the dialogue with student leadership around core curriculum requirements in conjunction with the University Senate and its curriculum committees, which now have student representation for the first time in several years, thanks to the ASUO.”

The provost’s office added that “diversity of background, thought, and perspective is an absolute necessity for building academic excellence.”

Students are currently required to take one course entitled “US: Difference, Inequality and Agency,” and a separate course relating to “global perspectives.”

Oregon Federation of College Republicans chairman Ben Ehrlich responded to the news saying, “When I first saw that, I honestly thought it was some kind of joke. Do they not teach that stuff already?”

Ehrlich believes more division will be created among people with the implementation of CRT in schools.

“Go back to the day and age that I lived through in public school where you could not tell the political affiliation of your teacher or professor. That’s how it ought to be,” he said.