Deans at five California law schools defend Critical Race Theory against Trump Administration

Five law school deans wrote a joint letter defending their Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars and programs after they were attacked by the President of the United States and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

“The faculties of the UC law schools include many of the leading scholars in Critical Race Theory (CRT) and our law schools engage in a good deal of important scholarship, teaching and policy work about how race and racial oppression shape law and society,” the letter reads.  “We are enormously proud of our CRT colleagues and the important work they do, and we are deeply distressed to see the federal government attack this important intellectual tradition, caricature it in an unjustified and divisive manner, and ban federal employees from learning about it through trainings.”

According to the letter, the Director of the Office Management and Budget, at the direction of the President, banned any training within the federal government related to Critical Race Theory, calling it “anti-American propaganda.”

“We cannot stand silent in the face of the OMB’s absurd claim that Critical Race Theory is “contrary to all we stand for as Americans and should have no place in the federal government.” CRT is most assuredly not contrary to what we stand for,” the letter reads.

The letter is signed by Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law; David L. Faigman, Chancellor and Dean at the University of California Hastings College of Law; Kevin Johnson, Dean at UC Davis School of Law; Jennifer Mnookin, Dean at UCLA School of Law; and L. Song Richardson, Dean and Chancellor at University of California Irvine School of Law. 

The letter was intended to show unity between the law schools and all five deans say CRT has shaped legislation, court cases, programs and policies which their law schools use every day to teach students. 

“We also see, every day, the ways our students benefit from the learning and the teaching of Critical Race Theory as part of their education,” the letter reads. “Many of our students who go on to public service, or who dedicate themselves deeply to pro bono work, or who work in profound ways to make the world and the legal system more truly equal, do so having been deeply inspired by the critical race scholars from whom they have had the opportunity to learn at our law schools.”

The five law school deans go on to say that if federal employees received CRT training about the theory of intersectionality, federal employees would better understand why Black women are getting paid the least; even less than white women and Black men. Federal employees who are more aware of these disparities can “spur improvement” and make better decisions for job placement and federal contracts.  

“We are proud of the diversity within our communities, including our faculty, students, staff and alumni, while we recognize that each of our institutions have further work to do to become more deeply anti-racist. We know that the perspectives, critiques, and engagements that CRT offers are needed more now than ever.  They are not in the least “anti-American propaganda” – rhetoric redolent of McCarthyism and the Red Scare, deeply anti-intellectual episodes in our own history – but rather, quite necessary to our hopes for an America that will someday live up to its promise of equality for all.”

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