University of Florida to Get Rid of Certain Words From the Title of a Curriculum Initiative

Not wanting to upset state lawmakers who are contemplating a bill to ban critical race theory in state government, according to a grievance filed by the faculty union last week, University of Florida administrators told faculty members they couldn’t used the words “critical” and “race” together in describing a new study.

During a meeting with College of Education faculty in October, an associate dean said the graduate school wouldn’t approve anything with the word “critical” in the title of a curriculum initiative to examine race and anti-racism.

Faculty members concluded that Paul Duncan was asking the college “to change the name of a proposed concentration titled ‘Critical Study of Race, Ethnicity, and Culture in Education,’ presumably to a title less offensive to the Florida legislature,” said the complaint filed by Christopher Busey, an associate professor, who said he was threatened with discipline if he used the words “critical race” in his curriculum design.

Administrators told College of Education faculty members they would support a title that says “‘studies of race’ but not critical studies of race,” the complaint said. “The requirement that faculty eliminate ‘critical race’ from their curriculum under threat of discipline discriminates against faculty on the basis of the content of the material.”

Facing criticism, University of Florida President Kent Fuchs set up an independent task force to study the issue and accepted its recommendations affirming free speech and academic freedom, as well as that there would be a presumption that requests by faculty to provide expert testimony will be granted.