Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin are outraged after learning that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a professor to teach a course in the Spring 2017 semester named “The Problem of Whiteness.”
“I am extremely concerned that UW-Madison finds it appropriate to teach a course called, ‘The Problem of Whiteness,’ with the premise that white people are racist,” State Rep. Dave Murphy, (R-Greenville) declared in a press release Tuesday. “Even more troubling, the course is taught by a self-described ‘international radical’ professor whose views are a slap in the face to the taxpayers who are expected to pay for this garbage.”
Rep. Murphy is also calling for the firing of Damon Sajnani, the professor who will be teaching the course, citing several tweets as “evidence of biased and inappropriate behavior,” Campus Reform reported.
One of Sajnani’s tweets, posted in response to the shooting in Dallas last July where five police officers were slain by a gunman, reads, “Is the uprising finally starting? Is this style of protest gonna go viral?” A photo of the news coverage of the shooting accompanied the tweet.
In another tweet posted the same night, Sajnani linked a song called “Officer Down” and wrote, “Watching CNN, this is the song I am currently enjoying in my head.”
“If UW-Madison stands with this professor, I don’t know how the university can expect the taxpayers to stand with UW-Madison,” Murphy said in a statement. “I don’t understand how a University that preaches political correctness can stand by a professor who openly condones violence against law enforcement and compares white voters to the KKK.”
UW-Madison officials defended the course in a statement they released December 19:
“We believe this course, which is one of thousands offered at our university, will benefit students who are interested in developing a deeper understanding of race issues. The course is a challenge and response to racism of all kinds,” the statement reads. “All of the students participating do so voluntarily; the course is not required.”
UW-Madison Provost Sarah Mangelsdorf responded to Murphy, stating that the university “supports the First Amendment rights of its students, faculty and staff, including their use of social media tools to express their views on race, politics, or other topics, in their capacity as a private citizen.”
“However, the celebration or incitement of violence is not consistent with our values,” she added, saying, “To that end, I repeat the call for our community members to elevate their level of discourse and engage in civil and respectful discussion that promotes greater understanding and respect for all.”
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