Sen. Blackburn slams University of Tennessee amid report it sought to create a critical race center

The University of Tennessee-Knoxville is receiving criticism after reporting surfaced that it advanced proposals for partnering with a "critical race collective" (CRC) and is seeking to integrate social justice and anti-racism into various aspects of the school.

The College Fix reported last week that the school's Division of Diversity and Engagement planned to create a CRC center in order to "enhance research and scholarship capacity in this area of study and identify current racist policies and practices on campus." Other plans reportedly included requiring professors to commit to diversity, equity and inclusion practices. 

"Critical race theory is a dangerous agenda that teaches that we are either oppressors or victims," Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a statement to Fox News Digital in response to the UT program.

"It has no place in our schools, and it creates a false narrative of division that pits Americans against each other. We should be bringing folks together and students should be taught to be independent thinkers. In Tennessee, we believe in equality, civility and opportunity for all."

Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, "Texas' Unconstitutional Abortion Ban and the Role of the Shadow Docket," in Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, Sept. 29, 2021.

Senator Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, "Texas' Unconstitutional Abortion Ban and the Role of the Shadow Docket," in Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, Sept. 29, 2021. (Tom Williams/Pool via Reuters)

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According to its webpage, the CRC is "a collection of researchers, teachers and scholars who strive to bring a critical race theoretical perspective to the University of Tennessee." 

It appears to be part of the university's "Center for the Study of Social Justice."

CRC's webpage adds that it adheres to the "five central tenets of Critical Race Theory," which include "centrality of race and racism in society" and a "commitment to social justice."

Entrance to The Hill on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in October 2012.

Entrance to The Hill on the campus of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in October 2012. (iStock)

The university referred Fox News Digital to a recent statement released by President Randy Boyd's office.

"Our citizens place great pride in the University of Tennessee. We have a responsibility to ensure our students, faculty and staff have the tools necessary to succeed both on our campuses and in a global economy," the statement said.

Amy Carney speaks on behalf of parents during a protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting at Coronado High School in Scottsdale May 24, 2021

Amy Carney speaks on behalf of parents during a protest against critical race theory being taught at Scottsdale Unified School District before a digital school board meeting at Coronado High School in Scottsdale May 24, 2021 (Reuters)

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"We are committed to diversity on our campuses – including diversity of people and diversity of ideas – to prepare the next generation to find solutions to real-world issues."

"We recognize there is an important difference between diversity efforts on campus and promoting an ideology. The university does not require students or faculty to adopt any specific ideology to graduate or receive tenure. We will review the ideas compiled in the diversity action plans recently highlighted in the media and work to clarify any areas necessary to ensure we are delivering on our commitment to our students, employees and the state."

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