(RNS) – In the latest development in Grove City College’s critical race theory saga, the Pennsylvania school’s board of trustees accepted a report from an ad hoc committee Friday, May 13 that acknowledged cases of “CRT advocacy” at school.
In accepting the report, the board also agreed to reinstate the word “conservative” in the school’s mission statement and adopted a list of “corrective measures” to curb the CRT, while denying allegations of “wake-up “.
“Today, Board Chair Ed Breen announced that the Grove City College Board of Trustees voted to accept and adopt the CRT Ad Hoc Committee Report. The Board thanked the committee for its service,” said Grove City psychology professor Warren Throckmorton. tweeted Friday afternoon. Another faculty member independently confirmed that news of the vote was shared at a faculty-administrator luncheon.
Others celebrated the report, including the original petitioners – who said the report vindicated them – and some professors.
Grove City and Edward Breen did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.
The conservative Christian college has been at the center of a politicized clash over critical race theory since November. At issue is whether the school promoted the CRT, an academic and legal framework that examines how systemic racism has shaped society, in classrooms, chapels and school-sponsored training.
the report, which the board-appointed committee released on April 20, contradicts claims by several professors that they never promoted CRT ideas. At least two of the professors criticized the committee’s investigation, saying they had been “questioned” by committee members and subjected to biased interrogations.
April’s report was spurred by a torrent of follow-up petitions, counter-petitions and news articles, after parents of Grove City students objected to a 2020 chapel presentation by historian Jemar Tisby, among others. The parents’ petition included the chapel in a list of suspected CRT infiltration cases. The report found that a majority of headteachers said inviting Tisby to speak in the chapel was a “mistake”.
Tisby, who previously told RNS that allegations that his CRT-promoted sermon was “ridiculous,” said Friday that the board’s acceptance of the report made the situation more concerning.
“They won’t be able to attract black students and students of color. The student body is already over 90% white,” Tisby told Religion News Service. “I would suspect that other Christian colleges and universities are watching this unfold, and my leaning is that it will further jeopardize racial justice efforts. Even though university staff want to see the change, they see how controversial it is.
Tisby added that Christian colleges may now be hesitant to invite guest speakers to discuss racism.
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The approved report also includes “corrective measures,” such as increased scrutiny of guest speakers and student trainings, renaming the Office of Education and Multicultural Initiatives, and replacing a course of education accused of promoting “pop-CRT”.
After the board’s decision, Throckmorton told RNS he was disappointed the board did not apologize to Tisby or his colleagues interviewed by the committee. He also thinks the board’s decision will make it harder to attract students of color and said it hasn’t allayed faculty concerns about the report’s impact on the classroom. “I think there’s still a lot of concern among professors about whether we really have the kind of academic freedom that we’re promised,” he said.
Seulgi Byun, chair of the Department of Biblical Studies, Religion and Philosophy at Grove City, said the Twitter that he is also disappointed by the statement of the board of directors, but remains optimistic. “Some of the leaders here are grieving and fully aware that there is still a lot of work to be done, and I hope we can – and will – move the needle in the right direction.”
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