UChicago releases statement on class controversy

The University of Chicago released a statement after a class called The Problem of Whiteness caused an uproar on social media earlier this month.

U. of C. sophomore Daniel Schmidt shared a tweet decrying the class with over 31,000 followers.

“Since I began college a year ago, I’ve documented all the anti-white hatred I’ve seen on campus,” he wrote on Nov. 1. “Without a doubt, this is the most egregious example.”

“A crucial aspect of academic freedom is the ability of instructors to design courses and curricula, including those that foster debate and may lead to disagreement,” Amanda Woodward, dean of the social sciences division at the U. of C., said in a statement.

“While differences of opinion over course material may arise, the university does not cancel classes because of such differences, and the university defends the freedom of instructors to teach any course that has been developed through our faculty-led curricular processes, including courses that may be controversial. The principles of academic freedom apply to everyone who is appointed to teach at the university.”

The Critical Race and Ethnic Studies seminar, which was set to be taught by cultural anthropologist Rebecca Journey in the winter semester, “examines the problem of whiteness through an anthropological lens, drawing from classic and contemporary works of critical race theory,” according to the course description.

In a Twitter thread, Schmidt shared Journey’s email.

The Maroon, the student newspaper at the university , reported that Journey posted the class till the spring semester after receiving at least 80 objectionable emails.

“These harassing emails have included death threats, veiled threats, and threats of sexual assault, as well as all kinds of misogynistic, racist and antisemitic languages,” she told The Maroon.

The class, she said, will be taught with the same title, description and content in the spring.

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