Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE, filed suit this week to stop the Board of Governors from adopting Orwellian regulations that affect 54,000-plus professors who teach in the California Community College system.
It is no surprise to anyone that liberal California is embracing the diversity, equity and inclusion mantra, which is the case on most college campuses at this point, but California is going beyond promotion of DEI and its tenets: The state has amended the California Code of Regulations to mandate DEI beliefs as part of an employee’s employment.
FIRE attorney Daniel Ortner tells AFN it is standard for a public college system to set academic standards in the classroom.
“What they can't do,” he says, “is tell the professor what viewpoint they have to adopt.”
But the State of California is blatantly doing that.
For example, FIRE points out a glossary of terms adopted by the Board of Governors defines terms such as “anti-racist.” That is a person who “actively opposes racism and the unfair treatment of people who belong to other races,” which is a definition that most reasonable, non-racist people would agree to.
The definition goes on, however, to suggest an “anti-racist” is someone who recognizes that racism is “pervasive and has been embedded into all societal structures,” which mirrors the premise of Critical Race Theory and a white-dominated society. The definition of “anti-racist” goes on from there, more than 100 words in all, to conclude, “People that say they are ‘not a racist’ are in denial of the inequities and racial problems that exist.”
And that definition is just one of many in the 12-page glossary, now adopted by the State of California, which professors must presumably adopt and repeat in the classroom.
College campuses have been known for their liberal professors and their classroom lectures going back generations, but Ortner says even stating an opposing view will now get a professor in trouble.
“If they teach the other side,” he warns, “they are going to be warned that they're weaponizing academic freedom and inflicting what they call 'curricular trauma' on their students.”
Because the State of California is clearly violating the First Amendment rights of its professors, Ortner predicts FIRE will eventually win its lawsuit.
“If we win here,” he says, “we're gonna have a decision that's gonna warn other systems from following the lead of California.”