Princeton University’s president is demanding one of the school’s most distinguished professors be fired, following student uproar over the educator’s criticism of woke school policies and racial politics that emerged after the murder of George Floyd.
The recommended dismissal, sent by University President Christopher Eisgruber to the school’s board of directors last week, accuses classics professor Joshua Katz of not cooperating with a 2018 investigation into alleged sexual misconduct.
The investigation looked into a relationship Katz, 51, had with a student in 2006. It was resolved internally, and saw the tenured professor suspended without pay for a year.
However, more than a year later, a second probe led by students at the school newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, aired claims that the professor didn’t fully cooperate and misled investigators during the 2018 inquiry.
The probe came shortly after Katz said he was ’embarrassed’ by a slew of questionable policies passed by the New Jersey university after the May 2020 killing of Minneapolis man Floyd.
Some of the programs Katz found fault with was a campaign to address the school’s ‘racist’ history and requests to give black professors more sabbatical time and higher salaries than their white counterparts.
The move by Eisgruber, 60, is being viewed by many as a politically motivated one, with many accusing the university of targeting Katz for his outspoken criticism of the school’s liberal staff and policies and not for the settled misconduct claims.
JERUSALEM, Israel – Dozens of Harvard faculty members are condemning the university’s Harvard Crimson student newspaper for its editorial board’s support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
Supporters of BDS say it is a peaceful movement for Palestinian independence. Critics argue it delegitimizes Israel and is rooted in anti-Semitism.
In a petition released on Monday, 70 Harvard faculty members said they were “dismayed by The Crimson Editorial Board’s enthusiastic endorsement” of BDS.
The faculty accused the BDS movement of turning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a “caricature that singles out only one side for blame with a false binary of oppressor versus oppressed.”
“In seeking to delegitimize Israel through diplomatic, economic, academic, and cultural isolation, and by opposing the very notions of Jewish peoplehood and self-determination, BDS is disrespectful of Jews, the vast majority of whom view an attachment to Israel as central to their faith identity,” the petition said.
The faculty warned of the long-term impact such an endorsement would have on the campus and said some Jewish and Zionist students already feel “alienated” by The Crimson Editorial Board’s stance. The faculty also expressed their “steadfast commitment to Harvard’s ties with Israel” and encouraged Harvard to “grow them further.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn., May 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — TBN, CAMFAM Studios and Fathom Events announce the debut of the new documentary, KIRK CAMERON PRESENTS: THE HOMESCHOOL AWAKENING, coming to theaters this June for two nights only on Monday, June 13 and Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00pm local time (both days). The documentary highlights the exciting journey of homeschooling and the necessity of parents regaining control of their children’s education.
“The pandemic made parents grossly aware of what public schools are teaching our kids,” said Cameron. “It’s up to us, the parents, to cultivate the hearts, souls and minds of our children, and today’s public-school systems are not working for us, they are actively working against us. Public education has become Public Enemy No. 1.”
Families across the nation are experiencing the homeschool awakening, taking advantage of the freedom and opportunities to learn with the world as their classroom. Join award-winning actor, Kirk Cameron, as he dives into the adventures of dynamic American families on a mission to put fun and faith back into learning. The Homeschool Awakening follows the homeschooling journeys of different families, explores the ins, outs, and honest answers to homeschooling’s most frequently asked questions.
Tickets for KIRK CAMERON PRESENTS: THE HOMESCHOOL AWAKENING can be purchased online here and at participating theater box offices. A complete list of theaters can be found here.
About Fathom Events Fathom is a recognized leader in the entertainment industry as one of the top distributors of content to movie theaters in North America. Owned by AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE: AMC); Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK); and Regal, a subsidiary of the Cineworld Group (LSE: CINE.L), Fathom operates the largest cinema distribution network, delivering a wide variety of programming and experiences to cinema audiences in all the top U.S. markets and to more than 45 countries. For more information, visit www.FathomEvents.com.
About Trinity Broadcasting Network: TBN is the world’s most watched faith-and-family broadcasting network, reaching over 175 nations with inspirational programming in 14 languages and on 32 global networks. TBN, the original pioneer of faith-based television, is expanding into other marketplaces such as publishing and innovative digital content in various formats, all designed to reach every viewer demographic with the life-changing message of hope and grace. To find out more about the TBN Networks, visit us at tbn.org.
About CAMFAM Studios: CAMFAM Studios creates powerful faith projects that have reached millions. Founded by Kirk Cameron, some of CAMFAM Studios’ most notable projects include Monumental, Unstoppable, Revive Us, and Revive Us 2. CAMFAM Studios will also be launching a new documentary on parenting in the age of social media called Connect.
A white teacher in New York has been placed on leave after allegedly forcing Black students to pick cotton. Seventh-grade students at School of the Arts in Rochester told WGN 9 that their social studies teacher brought bags of cotton to class and told students to pick out the seeds. “He said, ‘It’s cotton, you’re going to be picking cotton today,’” Janasia Brown said, “I immediately was like, ‘Oh, I’m not doing that.’” She says the instructor then told her to “do it” since it was for a grade; at one point, he also allegedly brought shackles to class and handcuffed her hands as part of a racist history demonstration. Students claim the teacher allowed white students to opt out of the lesson—but not Black students. After students like Brown reported the incidents to their parents, their families notified the school administration. In a statement, the District claims the teacher was put on leave “immediately” and that the situation was being taken “very seriously,” adding “descriptions of what occurred in the classroom by the school community are extremely troubling.”
An Illinois public school district, located just north of Chicago, has embraced a progressive LGBTQ+ gender curriculum that it teaches to young children from pre-kindergarten through the third grade.
Writing for the City Journal, Investigative Journalist Christopher F. Rufo reports the Evanston-Skokie School District 65 has its students celebrate the transgender flag, break the “gender binary” established by white “colonizers,” and experiment with neo-pronouns such as “ze,” “zir,” and “tree.”
In a series of tweets, Rufo presents highlights of the Evanston-Skokie District’s lesson plans.
“The curriculum in the Evanston/Skokie School District is the perfect illustration of college-level Queer Theory translated into early-elementary pedagogy. Parents have a right to be concerned and legislators have a duty to ensure that public schools reflect public values,” he wrote.
The curriculum in the Evanston/Skokie School District is the perfect illustration of college-level Queer Theory translated into early-elementary pedagogy. Parents have a right to be concerned and legislators have a duty to ensure that public schools reflect public values.
The senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute also offered examples of what is being taught to these very young children.
“In pre-kindergarten, the children are taught an ‘introduction’ to the rainbow and transgender flags. Teachers then provide the basic concepts of gender identity, explaining that ‘we call people with more than one gender or no gender, non-binary or queer’,” Rufo wrote and also posted examples of graphics being used.
In pre-kindergarten, the children are taught an "introduction" to the rainbow and transgender flags. Teachers then provide the basic concepts of gender identity, explaining that "we call people with more than one gender or no gender, non-binary or queer." pic.twitter.com/0SFbuATwwC
The contributing editor to the City Journal also shows how the district is teaching its kindergartners that there are “transgender” children.
“In kindergarten, the teachers explain: ‘When we show whether we feel like a boy or a girl or some of each, we are expressing our gender identity… There are also children who feel like a girl and a boy; or like neither a boy or a girl. We can call these children transgender’,” Rufo revealed.
In kindergarten, the teachers explain: "When we show whether we feel like a boy or a girl or some of each, we are expressing our gender identity … There are also children who feel like a girl and a boy; or like neither a boy or a girl. We can call these children transgender." pic.twitter.com/4quGQWVu2R
(RNS) — Marymount California University, a 54-year-old Catholic private institution in the coastal Los Angeles County city of Rancho Palos Verdes, will permanently close this summer, after years of financial struggle. The decision to close comes shortly after a merger with a religious liberal arts school in Florida fell through.
The board of trustees on Friday (April 22) said it voted to close the university on Aug. 31, citing declining enrollment, rising costs of the pandemic and a lack of financial resources “needed to support the institution’s operational expenses.”
“This is an extremely sad day for Marymount and for the legacy and traditions lost, both for our campus community and the local Palos Verdes area we have called home for more than 50 years,” said Brian Marcotte, the university’s president, in a statement.
“This decision was not made lightly. But we felt the most compassionate thing to do was to give everyone time to make plans. Our focus now will be to help our students, faculty and staff,” Marcotte added.
Marcotte told Religion News Service that students were informed of the decision Friday afternoon. Marcotte, along with the vice president of student affairs, will hold a virtual open forum with students on Tuesday.
Marymount California has 500 full-time students and 140 full-time staff.
No new students will be admitted for the fall semester, and the school said it will work with the help of its regulators to transition students to other colleges and universities for the fall semester. A small number of employees will remain on staff “to manage the wind-down of the school,” according to the university statement.
The university was founded by the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in 1968 as Marymount Palos Verdes College, a two-year Catholic institution. The name changed in 2013 to Marymount California University as the school began offering four-year undergraduate degrees and graduate degree programs.
Marcotte said they have sought to foster a mission based on values, “that is strong on development of the whole person.” He said students of all faiths are represented in the school.
“I think the overall values that we operate under are significant for all religions that are here or those who have no religion at all,” Marcotte said.
Marymount California offers a range of bachelor’s degrees, from biology and criminal justice to digital communication media and psychology. It also fields teams in 16 sports, including soccer, baseball, beach volleyball and surfing.
The school also boasts an ethnically diverse student population.
Nearly three-quarters of its students are people of color, with Latinos making up 46% of the overall population, the university said, citing preliminary 2021 fall enrollment data.
In a signing ceremony last October, Marymount California celebrated a merger, which has now fallen through, with St. Leo University, a Catholic liberal arts university in central Florida.
University officials had sealed the deal in July and hoped to complete the transaction by January 2023, according to the news site Inside Higher Ed. Those efforts, however, were stymied in December when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the accreditor for St. Leo, rejected the plan.
St. Leo, according to the accrediting agency, “did not provide an acceptable plan and supporting documentation to ensure that it has the capability to comply” with its standards. St. Leo said it would continue to seek approval. The merger, however, was called off earlier this month, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
Marcotte said the merging process was complex because “we were crossing regional accreditation boundaries.”
He said the collapse of the merger “was a contributing factor” to the school’s closure.
“I don’t want to underplay it, nor do I really want to overplay it,” Marcotte said.
Marymount California is not the only small religious private college to close in recent years.
Concordia University in Portland, Oregon, which was overseen by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, shut down in 2020 amid financial problems and issues over the school’s support for LGBTQ students.
Grace University, a Christian college in Omaha, Nebraska, ceased operations in 2018, doomed by financial and enrollment challenges.
The financially strapped St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic university in Oklahoma permanently closed in 2017.
To Marcotte, it’s unfortunate seeing small independent universities like Marymount California struggling to stay open. Marcotte said these smaller schools offer a personal touch in the relationship between students and faculties. “We have very few classes that are greater than about 15,” he said.
“When I talk to our students … they all feel that it is a very special environment for them to have this learning situation with their professors. I just think that’s part of the smaller, private tuition, mentality, and environment,” Marcotte said.
“I would hate to see it diminished too much,” he added. “I’m hoping that others don’t have to go through the same process that we are, but I know the pressures are there.”
(RNS) — Grove City College insists it’s not “going woke.” A new report from the conservative Christian college in Pennsylvania denounced school-sponsored courses and trainings they say promoted “CRT concepts” and characterized inviting historian Jemar Tisby to speak at a 2020 chapel service as a “mistake.”
“Grove City College has not changed,” a committee composed largely of Grove City board members said in the report released last week. “It remains a Christ-centered, conservative institution.”
The report, a product of the committee’s assignment to ascertain any “mission drift” at the college, recommends re-adding the word “conservative” to the school’s mission statement after it was removed in 2021 and lists “remedial actions” to curb the promotion of critical race theory at the school. These actions include replacing an education course accused of promoting “pop-CRT,” rebranding the school’s Office of Multicultural Education and Initiatives and exercising increased scrutiny of guest speakers and student trainings.
Tisby, The New York Times bestselling author of “The Color of Compromise” and “How to Fight Racism,” told Religion News Service the report uses CRT as “a junk drawer for anything about race or justice that makes a certain type of person feel uncomfortable.” Because of the rhetoric around CRT, he said, “much needed conversations about racial justice are being muted in the environments where they are needed most, such as Christian colleges and universities.”
Others found the report encouraging. Megan Basham, an author at conservative news outlet The Daily Wire, tweeted that it offered a “straight-forward, honest assessment,” and said she appreciated its clarifying description of how CRT is incompatible with the school’s mission. “Well worth reading the entire report. Bravo!”
Matt Kennedy, rector at an Anglican church in Binghamton, New York, and his wife Anne Carlson Kennedy praised the report on their podcast.
“The best part of it is the description of critical race theory upfront, which is just one of the best short summaries of the problems of critical race theory I’ve ever read,” said Matt Kennedy.
The report says critical race theory is incompatible with the school’s vision, mission and values because it evaluates people based on their race and antiracist works, can’t be separated from political activism, “uncharitably detects aggression where none is intended” and sometimes “demeans rational argument as itself racist and oppressive.”
The school, which has just 2,400 full-time students, was first accused of promoting critical race theory, an academic framework that sees racism as embedded in institutions and policies, in a November petition authored by Grove City parents and alumni. The petition alleged that this “destructive and profoundly unbiblical worldview” was asserted at the college in a fall 2020 chapel presentation by Tisby.
The petition also called into question the chapel screening of a pre-recorded TED talk by Bryan Stevenson, an Equal Justice Initiative founder and criminal justice reform advocate; as well as a Resident Assistant training that invoked the concepts of white privilege and white guilt. Additionally, the petition decried several books used in an education studies class and in focus groups, including Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be an Antiracist” and Wheaton professor Esau McCaulley’s “Reading While Black.”
That initial petition triggered a flood of follow-up petitions, articles and open letters debating whether the school had forsaken its traditional values. In February, the college’s board of trustees categorically rejected critical race theory and introduced a committee to investigate the allegations of mission-drift. Grove City College did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
The report notes that Tisby’s October 2020 chapel presentation is the chapel service that has “drawn the most attention from critics.” According to the report, most Grove City leaders interviewed said inviting Tisby to speak in chapel was a “mistake” due to what they described as his evolution.
“Most of those in GCC leadership with whom we spoke observed that ‘the Jemar Tisby that we thought we invited in 2019 is not the Jemar Tisby that we heard in 2020 or that we now read about,’” the report stated, citing Tisby’s short stint as assistant director of narrative and advocacy at Ibram X. Kendi’s Center for Antiracist Research and the “progressive policies” he advocates in his latest book as evidence of his transformation.
Tisby told RNS that his convictions did not change between 2019 and 2020 — what changed was the socio-political climate.
The chapel in question, called “The Urgency of Now,” was a 21-minute sermon that drew parallels between the biblical story of Esther and the modern-day movement for racial justice. Tisby quoted Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and letter from Birmingham Jail and called on those in attendance to engage in racial justice work.
“Many of you, unfortunately, are in the target demographic whom King called the ‘white moderate,’” Tisby said in the chapel. Tisby asked the listeners to “fill your minds with an awareness of racial justice so that five, 10, 20 years from now, you don’t have to say ‘I never knew.’”
Tisby told RNS the allegations that his sermon promoted CRT are “ludicrous.” While the November petition charged Tisby with being an “outspoken apologist for CRT,” Tisby said he has never been trained in critical race theory.
“What most people, including compilers of this report, are calling critical race theory is not critical race theory,” he said. “My work is influenced by the study of history. It doesn’t take a specific training in critical race theory to understand that racism is not simply a matter of personal prejudice but a matter of policy.”
The report also found that an educational course called “Cultural Diversity and Advocacy” “effectively promoted pop-CRT” because it offered readings such as Kendi’s “How To Be an Antiracist,” Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” without “a critical or opposing perspective.” It found that the director of Multicultural Education and Initiatives promoted “‘woke’ concepts” in a book club and parroted “CRT concepts” in a training for Resident Assistants that criticized the “concept of race neutrality.”
Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City, said he doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the report’s findings because it offers a faulty definition of CRT. According to Throckmorton, the report says CRT embraces biological distinctions — however, he said, CRT rejects biological distinctions because it sees race as socially constructed. He also pointed to a footnote that says: “Our references to CRT include popular ‘CRT-adjacent’ advocacy cloaked in the secular or religious language of social justice.’”
“That could be anything, couldn’t it?” asked Throckmorton. “So when they say they found CRT, what did they really find?”
While the report promises not to ban books, Throckmorton said that promise has done little to reassure professors who are questioning if and how to teach on topics like health disparities or social justice in the classroom. Natalie Kahler, a Grove City alumna (’94) who authored a March 8 petition asking the school not to inhibit discussions about racism on campus, told RNS she’s worried the report’s findings could lead to “indoctrinating and not educating,” especially given the fact that Grove City professors don’t receive tenure and are given one-year contracts.
“If you create an environment where people are constantly afraid for their job, and are afraid something they might say could be interpreted as CRT because everybody is interpreting CRT in very different ways, they’re creating a culture where people aren’t going to be able to have hard conversations,” said Khaler.
In March, Jon Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, wrote an article showing Grove City’s board chair, Edward D. Breen, has advocated for diversity, equity and inclusion as CEO of the chemicals company DuPont. “(I)s the Edward Breen who led the Grove City College Board’s condemnation of critical race theory the same guy working for racial justice at DuPont?” Fea asks.
Another board member, David Forney, is pastor of a Charlottesville church and has offered a list of racial justice resources to his congregation on the church website, including TED Talks by Bryan Stevenson and the books “How To Be an Antiracist” and “Between the World and Me,” both of which the report characterized as promoting “pop-CRT.”
“I am puzzled that these resources are considered fine and helpful for a board member to recommend to his congregation but are considered off-mission for our faculty to assign as study resources for a college course,” Throckmorton said in an email to RNS. Neither Breen nor Forney could be reached for comment.
Tisby said that the CRT debate at Grove City points to a broader “sorting” in Christian higher education between schools working to be more racially and ethnically inclusive and those doubling down on appealing to “a very small but loyal constituency that does not want to meaningfully engage with vital conversations around racism.”
On his podcast, Kennedy suggested that Grove City is exemplifying how other Christian organizations ought to approach CRT. “Congregations, denominations, need to start seeing wokeness as a heresy,” said Kennedy. He added that “the language employed by especially Christian ‘wokesters’ is very, very gospel-like. And so the unwary can be pulled-in and you have compassion on them. But the leaders of this thing, those people need to be driven out of the church.”
Tisby said Grove City’s response to CRT should be taken as a warning.
“(A)nyone, regardless of race or ethnicity, who speaks up for racial justice could be a victim of these kinds of attacks,” Tisby said. “And, I would say, these actions are all the more lamentable because they come out of Christian institutions. We follow a savior who said, ‘you shall know the truth and the truth will set you free.’ But we have people who profess to be followers of Christ, who seem to be running from the truth about racism.”
April 19 (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Education has canceled student loan debt for 40,000 people and offered credits to help another 3.6 million pay off their loans under a plan announced on Tuesday designed to aid low-income borrowers and public servants.
“Student loans were never meant to be a life sentence, but it’s certainly felt that way for borrowers locked out of debt relief they’re eligible for,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in the statement.
The measures add to other steps taken by the administration of President Joe Biden, including a pause on nearly all student loan collection, but they stop short of demands from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party for comprehensive student loan forgiveness.
In his 2020 presidential campaign, Biden called for canceling $10,000 in student loan debt for each borrower, a commitment of more than $400 billion. Since he was elected, the White House has said Congress must take action for wider student loan relief.
The government said it was addressing “historical failures” to communicate to borrowers all the benefits they were eligible for in federal student loan programs.
At least 40,000 borrowers will receive immediate debt cancellation under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Several thousand borrowers with older loans will also receive forgiveness through income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness, plus another 3.6 million borrowers will receive at least three years of additional credit toward IDR forgiveness, the Education Department said in a statement.
Those programs cap the amount lower-income borrowers are required to pay and forgive the remaining balance after a set number of years.
Student loan debt is seen as a drag on the economy, burdening young professionals for years after graduation, while the wide availability of loans has contributed to rising tuition.
Some 43.4 million borrowers are carrying about $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loans from the Federal Loan Portfolio, an average of more than $37,000 each, according to the Education Data Initiative.
The Biden administration canceled more than $17 billion in debt for 725,000 borrowers in its first year in office while also extending a pause on loan repayment that has provided at least temporary relief for 41 million borrowers, the Education Department said.