DEI, Virginia Universities

2 Virginia Universities Drop DEI Course Requirements After Criticism From Governor

While the DEI courses will still be offered at the two schools, they will no longer be required for students to graduate.

Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University have scrapped DEI course requirements for undergraduates this fall.

The decisions were made after Governor Glenn Youngkin’s office asked to review syllabi for both the “Racial Literacy” course at VCU and  the “Just Societies” course at George Mason.  

The governor called the courses “core curriculum mandates that are a thinly veiled attempt to incorporate the progressive left’s groupthink,” Inside Higher Ed reported.

The VCU Board of Visitors voted 10-5 Friday against requiring a “racial literacy course” as part of the general education curriculum. However the courses will still be available, the college announced in a statement

“Central to the board’s deliberations was a commitment to upholding academic freedom while empowering students with flexibility and autonomy in their educational journey. The discussion clearly expressed support for the racial literacy classes, and these courses are accessible to students who wish to explore them.” 

Following the announcement, more than 100 students walked out of Youngkin’s address at their commencement ceremony. Some carried kaffiyeh scarves and one student carried a sign that read “Teach Black history.”

In an email to employees obtained by The Washington Examiner, GMU interim Provost Kenneth D. Walsh said some members of its Board of Visitors have “reservations” about the DEI-centered coursework. Classes, he added, have been put on hold for now.

“Given that fall registration opens for first-year students in a matter of weeks, we must put forward a definitive answer now.…And my answer to whether to implement the requirement is neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no.’ Rather, it is ‘not yet, he wrote. 

Former Virginia Governor Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first Black elected governor slammed Younkin’s actions as an “insensitive attack.” 

“The real question would be what gives the governor the right to think that he can determine what is being taught? What gives the governor the right that he can orchestrate the history of Virginia,” Wilder told WVEC News, Norfolk.

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