In the new woke, hyper-aware racial climate at American universities, no nook or corner is exempt from the wrath of CRT proponents, who insist that white supremacy is flourishing in even the most unlikely institutions. So it is at the University of Minnesota, where the Department of Forest Resources has recently come under fire for alleged racism and failure to sufficiently kowtow to leftist groupthink.
Campus activists published an open letter last fall, attacking the department for upholding “systems of white supremacy and violence … across the 110-year history of forestry at the University of Minnesota” and perpetuating a “colonial culture and structure” that “continues to persist over a century later through the department’s silence and inaction.”
Addressed to the “Leadership, Faculty, and Staff of the University of Minnesota Department of Forest Resources” the letter includes a lengthy disclaimer mourning the fact that “the University of Minnesota has profited from the sale and use of land stolen from Indigenous peoples and continues to reap the benefits of controlling these lands.” It goes on to denounce the Forestry Department for numerous offenses against the cult of “anti-racism” including its failure to condemn with sufficient vigor “the murder of George Floyd in our own neighborhood and the countless unfilmed lives lost to anti-Black racism” and for upholding “the predominantly white, male power structure since the department was founded in 1910.” That it might not be the place of a university department to speak out in support of Black Lives Matter—especially one so divorced from the issues involved in urban policing as the Department of Forest Resources—does not seem to have occurred to the letter’s signatories.
The open letter continues to make no less than 22 demands to assist the department in “dismantl[ing] systemic racism.” These proscriptions for racial justice include restructuring the department to reorganize “the existing power structure,” requiring “annual anti-racist trainings provided by external experts for all faculty, staff, and students,” modifying “faculty hiring descriptions to require previous work in environmental justice or diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and “includ[ing] a minimum of two lectures relating to environmental justice or multicultural perspectives in all FNRM courses and in a minimum of two departmental seminars per academic year.”
A separate demand insists that the department must “Demonstrate Allyship for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) Communities Through a Commitment to Action” including by “address[ing] anti-Black racism in a public statement from departmental leadership” and updating the department’s Diversity and Inclusion plan “to center BIPOC voices, commit to anti-racist actions, and develop a plan for equity among all members of the FR community.”
Over 300 students and community members at the University of Minnesota signed on to support the demands of the open letter which—if enacted—would severely limit the academic freedom of Forest Resources faculty members who would be forced to promote “environmental justice” and “anti-racism” in their courses and submit to CRT-indoctrination trainings, regardless of their own considered views on these topics. If even the Department of Forest Resources is subject to the fascist demands of woke academic leftism, no one is out of reach.