Save GCC from CRT
November 10, 2021
Dear Dr. McNulty,
As parents and former students, we chose Grove City College precisely because it upholds a biblical worldview across the academic disciplines while other Christian institutions are surrendering to the prevailing secular orthodoxy. Commitment to that biblical worldview was so important to us that we were willing to make enormous financial sacrifices to send our children to a college with an unwavering resolve to defend what we hold dear.
However, we are concerned.
From what we’ve observed, a destructive and profoundly unbiblical worldview seems to be asserting itself at GCC, threatening the academic and spiritual foundations that make the school distinctly Christian.
That worldview is Critical Race Theory (CRT).
According to CRT, all of society is infected with intrinsic (structural) racism that favors Whites and oppresses Blacks and other minorities. Guilty White people (all Whites) can never overcome their intrinsic racism; they can only practice personal negation. Only the “woke”— those awakened to the systemic racism of White society and how it impacts victims on a scale of intersectionality — can recognize the problem and permissibly speak about it.
Critical Race Theory rejects the correspondence view of truth and thus undermines a biblical view of learning:
* On Christian Theism, ultimate reality is immaterial, namely, a personal God who created the material world. According to CRT, ultimate reality is socially constructed through racial power dynamics and intrinsic racism.
* On Christian Theism, the physical world can be known, but so can non-physical things like morals, human nature, and the laws of logic (to name a few). Standpoint Epistemology, a key aspect of CRT, says truth is determined solely from the standpoint of the oppressed. Only the “woke” can see the inherent racism shot through all of society.
* On Christian Theism, all humans have intrinsic value because they equally share the image of God. Critical Race Theory denies our fundamental equality, dividing humans into two categories, oppressors and the oppressed. If you are White, your nature is intrinsically racist, even if you don’t know it.
* On Christian Theism, right and wrong are grounded objectively in the character of a holy God. According to CRT, right and wrong are based solely on racial dynamics. Our problem is not sin or moral shortcomings; it’s intrinsic racism. The fix is not repentance and restoration, but revolution which tears down inherently racist structures such as the nuclear family, fixed genders, objective moral standards, capitalism, the rule of law, reason, religion, etc., and replaces them with a new society grounded in wokeness.
* On Christian Theism, God is not impressed with outward appearance, but judges the motives and intentions of the heart. Critical Race Theory judges solely by outward appearance without knowing the hidden motives of the heart — knowledge only God possesses (1 Cor. 4:5).
In short, as biblically grounded Christians, we are not defensive about racism. Where it exists, we should repent of it. We are concerned, though, when our students are falsely convicted and unbiblically indicted simply because of their skin color. This is precisely what we fear is happening at GCC.
Last school year, GCC hosted a chapel presentation by Jemar Tisby — an outspoken apologist for CRT. If that wasn’t troubling enough, this year GCC chaplain Dr. Donald Opitz used a TED talk by Bryan Stevenson — a CRT defender and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative — to teach on the biblical concept of “mercy.” After the talk, Optiz asked students to consider how the work of Stevenson and EJI displays biblical mercy, and how that work relates to justice, and how students should apply that concept of justice to their own callings as Christians. A GCC freshman present at the chapel messaged a member of our group (we did not solicit his response) and said that he was troubled by the presentation. He asked what steps could be taken to stop the spread of CRT on campus.
We have no problem with GCC students gathering to discuss how mercy, biblically understood, relates to Christian ethics. However, we have serious concerns with CRT being preached during chapel services. The message coming from the chapel program needs to be one of Christian unity and oneness, how we as fellow image bearers are to treat one another with respect. Critical Race Theory and woke theology are divisive enemies of Christian unity. They pit Christians against one another based on skin color.
Parents within our discussion group report additional concerns:
* Parent #1: “Just talked with my daughter tonight and she shared about her RA training a few weeks ago. She said that Justin Jose, of the Diversity Council, came and spoke at their training. His wife was with them. They talked about inner racism, White privilege and White guilt. His (Caucasian) wife admitted to being a racist, and encouraged others to admit it. My daughter asked him a question when he allowed for it. He called on her and she asked if her mom is White and her dad is Hispanic, where does she fall on the racism scale? Basically, does he see her as a victim or an oppressor? He said he was out of time and didn’t answer her question.”
* Parent #2: “The same Dean of Multiculturalism (Justin Jose) told the class last year that being a non-CRT White person automatically makes you a racist, is also walking around campus regularly with a LGBT rainbow mask on. Why is this person an employee of GCC? Has anyone brought this to the attention of the administration?”
* Parent #3: “An Education Studies class (EDUC 290) uses Ibram Kendis book, How to be Anti-racist as the text. The book is pure CRT. When I questioned a professor on campus about this course, he defended it by saying it’s better for us to teach our kids how to think and engage with topics we agree and disagree on, then leave them to figure it out on their own. At face value I totally agree, but developing a class using that book as the text gives too much credibility and focus to the topic. I don't know if the course was offered this semester or if it will be available later. Let’s teach the students how to think critically....not spend an entire semester on a socially divisive topic. There are better ways to teach our kids.”
* Parent #4: “The Diversity Council is pushing CRT through several focus groups (book clubs) on campus structured to discuss race and White privilege. The first assignment was Reading While Black, a text which promotes CRT wholesale. Posters urging students to read this book are visible on campus.”
* Parent #5: “Talked to my daughter-in-law tonight who is a 2019 GCC graduate with a secondary education degree. Dr. Samantha Fecich contacted her requesting that she help mentor students currently enrolled in the program. When she received the application from the department, she was shocked. Right below her name she was asked to list her personal pronouns. She was in such disbelief over that question being asked by the education department at GCC...she is declining the offer and plans to tell them why.”
* Meanwhile, we are aware of an internal, online application used by the Academic Resource Center (ARC) requesting “pronouns” under the applicant’s name. This, too, is very troubling and appears to be the new standard with internal communications. [Update 11/13--GCC has addressed this issue. See *note below]
If we are misreading the situation, we are open to correction. But if in the main we are correct, we ask that you do three things:
1. That you issue an official GCC statement rejecting CRT as unbiblical and inconsistent with the founding principles of the college and that any faculty members promoting it will be directed to stop. All non-credited presenters — chapel speakers, sponsored speakers, etc., will also refrain from promoting CRT as consistent with a Christian worldview.
2. That if the situation with Justin Jose is true (namely, what he conveyed to RA trainees), you remove him from further contact with students. Statements like his unjustly wound students with false accusations of racism and are deeply troubling at a college committed to biblical unity. Meanwhile, chaplain Opitz should be directed to refrain from promoting CRT at chapel presentations. At the same time, the chaplain’s office should programmatically promote a distinctly Christian worldview on race, inviting speakers such as Jannique Stewart — a Black critic of CRT— to address chapels and other gatherings on campus.
3. That the Diversity Council be disbanded or, at a minimum, be restructured and renamed. If restructured and renamed, all members promoting CRT should be asked to resign. The council’s new purpose will be to help students thrive on campus within the bounds of a Christian worldview, not promote ideas hostile to that worldview.
Please know that we write in a spirit of concern, not anger. We love GCC and are grateful for your leadership of this fine school. Again, if we are mistaken in our assessments, we are open to correction. Like you, we want what is best for all GCC students.
Subsequent Documents and Updates:
Dr. McNulty replied to our petition here:
We respond to Dr. McNulty here:
Faculty Letter to GCC Trustees:
GCC Special Board Committee Report Confirms Petition Concerns:
Parents, Alums, and other petitioners respond to board report:
5/13/22 — Full GCC Board of Trustees affirms Special Committee report.
* Note 11/13/21: A parent who talked to a GCC official reports: "He explained the ARC form with the pronoun field comes from an external national agency. GCC sought to remove the pronoun field from the form but they said they could disable the field but not remove it. Since then they have insisted and that field has been removed."
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