Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee applied the sleeper hold to a bit of wokeism at one of his state’s top universities.
Lee recently announced that a University of Memphis plan to pay professors more if they lead their class curriculum with “social justice” bromides has been torpedoed.
“The University of Memphis informed my office that the initiative will not move forward,” Lee told the Washington Free Beacon recently. “We welcome robust debate on college campuses, but taxpayer dollars should never be used to fuel a divisive, radical agenda.”
“Ending this program was the right decision, and I thank the university for hearing our concerns,” Lee added.
Under the proposal, as the Free Beacon explained, professors at the public university could have earned an extra $3,000 by “redesigning their curricula to align with the university’s commitment to ‘diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice.’”
The plan was part of the university’s “Eradicating Systemic Racism and Promoting Social Justice Initiative.” The plan would have applied to all classes.
According to the university’s website, the program required applicants to submit a 500-word essay as to how they would go woke to qualify for the funding. They were asked to explain their “diversity, equity and inclusion philosophy,” and how that shaped their effort to redesign their classes to “address disparities within the subject areas and/or department’s existing curriculum and courses.”
One professor at the school, who remained anonymous, was critical of the idea, telling the Free Beacon, “I’m not sure how changing an accounting, nursing, or engineering course to align with social justice principles helps students. When faculty are underpaid in the first place, it’s hard to blame them for taking this money. But it creates an incentive for a nonpartisan instructor to turn their students into activists for a few extra dollars.”
Lee agreed and told the Free Beacon it was not going to be “carried out.”
Lee, like fellow Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in Florida, has been a sharp critic of such ideas in education, even signing a bill that banned the teaching of Critical Race Theory in public schools.
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