I was recently interviewed by Janet Roach of ABC 13 News Now to share my concern for the unprecedented demand made by Governor Youngkin of Virginia universities demanding they furnish him with their instructional course syllabi. He has thus commanded that Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University provide their institution’s instructional materials for review for all courses related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

I encourage you to watch the full interview.

As a Governor of Virginia, I can tell you that this action is entirely without precedent and has the potential of setting a dangerous pattern. In no way should the purview of the office of the governor dictate what is being taught in schools. Furthermore, the curricula developed at VCU is led by respected experts in their fields. Not only does Youngkin not have the educational credentials to assess these syllabi; he and his office are not qualified to properly (and certainly objectively) interpret and evaluate the materials provided. His actions could affect the accreditation of our schools.

The real question at stake here is what is it that he dislikes? Be upfront and candid, say what bothers you. What gives the governor the right to orchestrate the history of Virginia? He has already banned “critical race theory” (CRT) from being taught in elementary school. What is it about the well-documented racism and racial history of our Commonwealth and nation, being taught, that you don’t like? 

Rather than take more people and facts out, we need to put more facts and people in our books. 

The curricula for VCU is set by the Office of the Provost and Board of Visitors. Students proposed and voted to include standardized racial literacy instruction as part of all general studies, and after much debate and delays, this was approved by VCU administration and the Board of Visitors. However, with Youngkin’s syllabi request, VCU President Michael Rao and VCU Provost Fotis Sotiropoulos are now balking and refuse to address the situation publicly, denying numerous media requests and inquiries. President Rao has an obligation to address this issue publicly.  

On Saturday, April 6th, students at VCU will lead demonstrations to protest this most unreasonable and politically charged demand from Youngkin. I am in full support of their organizing and participation in securing the fair and quality education for which they paid for and deserve.

I have been so struck by Governor Youngkin’s position on the history of social equity in Virginia that I ask that he join me in a public discussion of his views. 

This could be arranged at his convenience – time and place. The subject of race has never been absent in Virginia‘s political discourse.

Why not put it on the table for the people to decide what is best for the education of those so entrusted to us for the same? The Governor of Virginia is elected to represent the people and I am certain that he welcomes this opportunity so to do.

The people of Virginia are not going to tolerate this and they will be heard.

Stay tuned.

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