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Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division Denounces Governor Youngkin’s Challenge to Academic Freedom  

"Youngkin's insistence on scrutinizing syllabi for courses designed to educate students about racial issues is not only unnecessary but also threatens to undermine progress toward fostering an inclusive and understanding society"

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From the Virginia NAACP:

Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division Denounces Governor Youngkin’s Challenge to Academic Freedom

RICHMOND, VA – NAACP Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) Youth & College Division unequivocally denounces Governor Youngkin’s recent demand to review the syllabi for Virginia Commonwealth University’s (VCU) Racial Literacy Requirement courses. This action is not isolated, as the Youngkin administration has similarly targeted educational initiatives promoting racial awareness at other institutions, such as George Mason University. These demands represent a troubling overreach into academic freedom and a targeted attack on courses aimed at promoting racial tolerance and literacy.

The Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division is calling on Governor Youngkin to respect the autonomy of educational institutions that foster environments conducive to learning and growth by discontinuing his required review of classes designed to analyze systemic and structural racism. VCU’s Racial Literacy Requirement plays a crucial role in equipping students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and address issues of race and discrimination in today’s world.

We believe that Governor Youngkin’s insistence on scrutinizing syllabi for courses designed to educate students about racial issues is not only unnecessary but also threatens to undermine progress toward fostering an inclusive and understanding society”, states Ty’Leik Chambers, President of Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division. “We are unaware of any efforts by our governor to review course syllabi that do not have a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) emphasis. Like Mayor Brandon Scott of Baltimore, our Y&CD is acutely aware of how “DEI” has been weaponized to dismantle diversity efforts by nefariously discrediting their purpose and power. We call upon all supporters of racial justice and academic freedom to join us in defending the integrity of programs like the Racial Literacy Requirement at VCU.

The Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division stands in full solidarity with VCU’s students and faculty in resisting any attempts to censor or dismantle initiatives that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We firmly believe that education should empower individuals to confront and challenge systemic injustices rather than suppress discussions on vital topics such as racial literacy.

The Virginia NAACP Youth & College Division will continue to advocate for racial justice in higher education.

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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA NAACP

Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is focused on being the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocating for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org.

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