MADISON — Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) wants University of Wisconsin-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank to explain why the institution is forcing graduate students to take critical race theory (CRT) indoctrination disguised as violence prevention training as a condition of enrollment.
“I am appalled by the blatant attempt by UW-Madison to force students to agree with one set of beliefs to attend the University as a graduate student. I would like an explanation as to why this course is mandatory for graduate and professional students to enroll in classes at UW-Madison,” Vos wrote in a letter sent to Blank on Tuesday.
As Empower Wisconsin has reported, the university mandates grad students take and pass training that includes a Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism module.
“If you don’t complete this required program by September 24, 2021 an enrollment hold will be placed on your student account and you will not be able to register for Spring 2022 courses,” states a letter to a UW grad student who spoke to Empower Wisconsin on condition of anonymity.
As you prepare for this semester, we want to convey the importance of your role as a member of the UW-Madison campus community and the impact your choices have on your experience and that of your peers,” the letter continues.
It goes on to inform students that UW requires them to complete the UW Health Services’ online prevention education course called “Graduate and Professional Students Preventing and Responding to Sexual and Relationship Violence.” The course takes approximately 90-120 minutes to complete, and all “incoming students” in the grad and professional degree programs are “expected to complete this course.”
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rebecca Kleefisch released a video last month critical of the university’s CRT indoctrination mandate.
UW-Madison spokesman John Lucas told Empower Wisconsin safe academic and work environments are essential to UW campus culture and the success of its graduate students.
“UW–Madison has dedicated resources to preventing violence, to supporting students who have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking, and to investigating reports of sexual misconduct,” Lucas wrote in an email to Empower Wisconsin. “For nearly twenty years, University Health Services (UHS) has taken a public health approach to violence prevention by addressing individual, group, and campus-level risk and protective factors for violence, as well as sharing university values around creating inclusive environments.”
But Vos wants to know what making students declare that “whiteness means privilege” has to do with combatting sexual violence on campus or enrollment in graduate programs.
He notes the course states that Critical Race Theory and Critical Race Feminism can help students understand privilege better and “how a regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America… not merely to understand the vexed bond between law and racial power but to change it.”
The course labels white/Caucasian, Christian, men, middle-or upper class, native English speakers, U.S. citizens, non-disabled, etc., as privileged groups in the United States.
Vos has a lot of questions for Blank.
“Why is this a graduate prerequisite? Are undergraduate students required to take a similar course? Why does the university find this an appropriate course to require students to take? Who developed this course?” the speaker asks in the letter. “What was the impetus for this course and how was it developed? If students voice opposition to this mandatory course, what is the university’s response?”
“The students of our state deserve the opportunity to learn about different viewpoints and develop their own beliefs without being required to agree with one, narrow set of beliefs that the university tries to bestow upon them before they are allowed to register for courses,” Vos adds.