Students Who Blew Whistle On BYU ‘Revealing Whiteness’ Assignment Threatened With Discipline
Surprise! Utah is a hotbed of CRT activism and mandates in higher education.
A professor at Brigham Young University (BYU), in Provo, Utah, recently assigned a Revealing Whiteness assignment to a 100-level Sociology course. The resulting controversy has pitted conservative students against activist academic staff. One professor has threatened the students that posted the lesson to social media with severe punishment under BYU’s student conduct rules.
While this type of controversy over wokeness in reliably red Utah may come as a surprise to some, the state’s higher education system has begun to mandate lessons based in Critical Race Theory (CRT) for all colleges and universities operating in the state.
Campus Reform first reported on the controversial lesson:
A professor at Brigham Young University (BYU) allegedly assigned a classroom exercise titled “Revealing Whiteness Activity.”
Professor Jane Lopez assigned the activity as homework and instructed students to photograph three representations of “Whiteness” on campus.
According to the assignment instructions, “Whiteness is defined as:
“(1) a location of structural advantage or ‘race privilege'[;] (2) a ‘standpoint’ or place from which White people look at themselves, at others, and at society, and (3) a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed.”
The lesson first appeared on an Instagram account called “BYU Conservatives.” The admins of the account have remained anonymous, for fear of backlash.
And with good reason. After the post appeared, a different professor, Eric Ruiz Bybee — not involved in the original lesson — sent private messages threatening disciplinary action, including publication of the identities of those involved, to the BYU Conservatives Instagram account. Again, from Campus Reform:
The assignment was allegedly publicized in a now-deleted social media post by the student-led organization BYU Conservatives. According to the group, they began facing backlash from university staff after the post was originally made.
A screenshot obtained by Campus Reform shows BYU Professor Eric Bybee claiming that the group had broken the university’s Intellectual Property Policy and Honor Code. Bybee then asked for the post to be removed.
Additionally, the group says it received private messages from Bybee that accuses the students of “invit[ing] targeted harassment” of faculty members.
“Your beliefs do not give you the right to violate university/faculty member intellectual property and invite targeted harassment of one of my colleagues,” he stated.
The students say Bybee also threatened to contact the “Honor Code office” and the “BYU Faculty Center” to investigate the social media account if the post was not removed.
Though the student account is anonymous, Bybee assured he would request that all “BYU students associated with the account and website” be investigated.
He then listed specific names of individuals who have been associated with the organization.
BYU Conservatives deleted the original post with the lesson plan, but after receiving the threats from Bybee, they put up a new post with the original lesson plan, along with Ruiz Bybee’s messages to the group:
This controversy demonstrates the potential for serious misunderstandings caused by lessons in CRT, anti-racism, intersectionality, and related concepts. Even at the college level, these types of lessons manifestly pit one set of students as the oppressor class, based solely on immutable characteristics.
Ruiz Bybee has dug in his heels, going on an extensive rant on Twitter justifying his actions and attacking Campus Reform in what he calls an “interminable” ad hominem attack:
So, last Thursday a right-wing website published a story about me and another @BYU colleague.
Since then I have received many harassing emails/voicemails.
I have decided to make public those emails/voicemails in this thread. 🧵 /1
— Eric Ruiz Bybee (@ericbybee) March 21, 2022
One wonders how this squares with BYU’s Code of Conduct that Ruiz Bybee relies on for justification of his harassment of students. Actually, Ruiz Bybee has begun taking proactive steps with BYU administration:
This is great news.
I have known Carl for several years and I really respect him and his work.
Can I suggest that the first act of @BYU's VP of Belonging be to issue a statement condemning the harassment of BYU faculty (me) by right-wing groups? /1 https://t.co/Zbl7wUvz75
— Eric Ruiz Bybee (@ericbybee) March 22, 2022
Ruiz Bybee goes on for dozens of posts in his Twitter thread, claiming victimhood all along. Campus Reform, in publishing the post it did, targeted him personally, in his eyes. Others may simply see CR’s article as a report of what has occurred on the BYU campus and in social media, but for Ruiz Bybee, apparently even mentioning the episode makes him a victim.
The Utah State Board of Higher Education (USHE) has gone further than many bluer, more liberal states in mandating anti-racism and CRT. As the Legal Insurrection Foundation has discovered in the process of researching colleges and universities for CriticalRace.org:
Utah has taken steps to curtail CRT in primary education, which puts it in conflict with its higher education system that mandates CRT in all public universities, and goes as far as many more prominent states to advance elements of CRT in college curricula.
“The Utah Board of Higher Education is committed to working alongside all 16 public colleges and universities to intervene in widening opportunity gaps for underserved and underrepresented students. As we move forward in this important work, we will continue reviewing and revising all institutional policies and procedures that create structural barriers to student, faculty, and staff success.”
The Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Workgroup is a standing workgroup to the Board of Higher Education. Its purpose is to foster collaboration and coordination among Board and System leadership and to cultivate and integrate equity, diversity, and inclusion awareness, transparency, and progress throughout the Utah System of Higher Education. (source: https://ushe.edu/initiatives/edi/)
At BYU, the administration has created a commission on Race, Equity, and Belonging:
The committee aims to “understand both the subtle and overt ways that racism may impact individual thought and interactions, organizational units, processes, policies, practices, procedures, and operations.” The committee … submitted its recommendations to the university president to promote equity.
Actions taken so far include:
Brigham Young University’s race committee has recommended the university “Create a central Office of Diversity and Belonging at the university charged with strategic planning and implementation of initiatives to assist students and employees with issues related to race, equity, and belonging.”
The committee also recommended the university “Create a new position of vice president for diversity and belonging who reports directly to the president, is a member of the President’s Council, and who oversees the Office of Diversity and Belonging.”
Anti-Racism, Bias, and Diversity Training
The committee recommended the university “Develop and implement extensive diversity and inclusion training programs and resources for faculty, staff, and administrators. This training would be facilitated by the Office of Diversity and Belonging.”
Curriculum Changes and Requirements
The committee recommended the university “Commit to changes to general education, religion, and elective courses that educate students on race, unity, and diversity.”
The committee recommended the university “Design and implement a race-conscious recruitment strategy to attract more BIPOC student applicants to BYU.”
This is just a sampling of the actions taken by BYU that are listed at the university’s entry at CriticalRace.org. A cursory search of the term “whiteness” at the BYU website yields dozens of results. One such result is a talk given to the BYU Dance Department in May 2021 by Nyama McCarthy-Brown that included this description:
McCarthy-Brown was brought in at the suggestion and high praise of BYU faculty. Professor Kori Wakamatsu from the Department of Dance participated in a Q&A in preparation for McCarthy-Brown’s lecture. You can read the Q&A here.
The educator said customs in the United States are very race-based. “Our culture has many racist mechanisms, and so the people within the culture maneuver and negotiate that space.” She followed up by saying that it’s problematic to penalize any one single person, because one single person does not make up the entire construct. It would take a group effort to change the systems in place.
McCarthy-Brown continued and said that it is really about learning, growing, and coming to a place of understanding how and why all these structures are working and how they harm people.
Given the full embrace of CRT-related concepts by BYU and USHE, as well as BYU’s recent professor hires, it seems inevitable that more divisive lessons about whiteness will appear on campus. Will BYU be more apt to rein in activist professors, or activist students?
Jeff Reynolds is the author of the book, “Behind the Curtain: Inside the Network of Progressive Billionaires and Their Campaign to Undermine Democracy,” available at www.WhoOwnsTheDems.com. Jeff hosts a podcast at anchor.fm/BehindTheCurtain. You can follow him on Twitter @ChargerJeff, on Parler at @RealJeffReynolds, and on Gab at @RealJeffReynolds.
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“Vice President for Belonging”???? I find this highly offensive, as slaves used to “belong” to their masters.
“The Utah Board of Higher Education is committed to working alongside all 16 public colleges and universities to intervene in widening opportunity gaps for underserved and underrepresented students.”
Utah, you might want to rework that sentence by getting better writers.
Can the state legislature require the that all public institutions embrace Dr King’s philosophy that people be judged by the content of their character not the color of their skin. The lay they must not violate this philosophy. Those who do will receive one warning before termination.
SUE. Just SUE.
Fair use “In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner.”
Bybee is making false claims and should be held accountable.
He sure is.
OK–I took one for the team and downloaded both the BYU IP policy and the honor code. And read them. Nowhere is there any mention of publishing a test, let alone it being a violation of any standard to do so.
Now he’s a victim. If anyone richly deserves censure, he’s that guy.
By the way, for those feeling masochistic, here’s the link, which Bybee helpfully puts into his tweet. It’s really boring reading, but if anyone else can find a reference to anything that suggests his rights are being violated, please let me know. Also interesting is the fact that BYU explicitly states in it that any IP generated is considered a work product and therefore owned not by the author, but by BYU.
The honor code is absolutely plain vanilla:
While this type of controversy over wokeness in reliably red Utah…
Two words for you: Mitt. Romney.
Several words: the state isn’t red anymore.
Professional victim and bully. And an out and out racist and bigot.
The assignment alleges BYU has a disproportionate number of White students, yet Utah is over 75% White according to 2020 census figures. BYU was 81% White in 2020. Hispanics are treated as their own race however with over 7% of the student population so identified. Depending on how many of Hispanic BYU students are classified as White according to census figures, BYU may be very close to the state average, or even have less Whites than the state average! Note the assignment refers explicitly to the national average not the state average, which is brought way down by states like California, New York, Maryland, and of course DC – over 54% non-White.
The students need to contact FIRE.
Any Utah politician who supports this B.S. desperately needs a primary.
It is sad. When I minored in Sociology at BYU 48 years ago they had a very good department with a good reputation. I guess if you’re bringing in Phds from other schools they are likely to bring in the trendy backgrounds.
With all the different places I have worked in over 40 years the environment at BYU was the least biased of any. I felt a little sorry for the girl I dated from Arkansas who had to endure the teasing she got when her prejudices were found. It was not bad but enough for her to make changes in her thinking.
The Church teaches that racism and bigotry of any kind will not be tolerated, but his CRT bullshit represents racism and bigotry. So now what?
The students need to plead civil disobedience: “we know what we did contravened rules, and we’re willing to take the hit for it because exposing the truth is more important to us than avoiding the penalty.
Let them show the big crybully how real men handle their business.
“but his CRT bullshit represents racism and bigotry. So now what?”
Now we start treating those promoting this BS as racists, since they are so racist we should put an end to any benefits they are currently receiving. End Affirmative Action and root out all people who have not been promoted on merit. All this crap has introduced staggering inefficiency in our society.
1. Civil disobedience by definition means you will face consequences because you are refusing to follow known and established rules and following your own conscience instead.
2. Better than asking a college student trying to invest in a future that takes an education to sacrifice everything would be to demand the governor get off his lardy behind and step in to do something about this B.S. Unlike college students the governor and state legislature actually have the power to start the process of making this a thing of the past.
3. Avoiding the penalty of being expelled, likely arrested and having a black mark on your record for the rest of your life when the alternative is abandoning “MUH GOVERNMENT BAAAAAAADDDD CORPORAAATE GOOOOOODDD MUH GOVVEEERNMENTTT BAAAADDDD” isn’t even a close call. I have the example of actual laws signed by Ronald Raegan himself to show that this “I will not govern and when corporations bully you you are on your own” bs has nothing to do with conservatism (such as a certain 1984 law, or the war on drugs both major examples of government use of force).
4. Stop asking college students to give up their lives when we have a governor who is supposed to be doing his job.
“Civil disobedience by definition means you will face consequences because you are refusing to follow known and established rules and following your own conscience instead.”
Yup, we are making the same point.
And that’s how an honest and principled man (or woman) handles his bidness.
Just like Rosa Parks.
If she had waited for the governor of Alabama, blacks would have been SOL.
Our disagreement is over whether you want to wait for “daddy” to save you, or if you want to actually get shit done.
How are you dumb enough to bring the example of the CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT into a defense of your “MUH GOVERNMENT BAD MUH GOVERNMENT BAD GET YOURSELF ARRESTED INSTEAD OF USING IT” stance?
If you had more than the most superficial understanding of our history you would understand that what the civil rights movement achieved was government regulation that ended segregation period.
The Civil Rights Act is a government regulation.
Unlike Rosa Parks we have the governors mansion and we have the state legislature, and we have a primary process if Republican politicians are unwilling to represent their voters.
“Better than asking a college student trying to invest in a future that takes an education to sacrifice everything”
This depends only on your own courage and initiative.
I can name you names of Weathermen and their fellow travelers who ended up WAY more powerful and influential than either you or I.
You are a total nutcase if you think a conservative expelled and arrested for making disturbances on campus is going far.
The point of college is to get the required education to open up specialized careers, not get yourself arrested.
Again we have the legislature and governors mansion and the fact that you don’t want to use it speaks wonders.
If you don’t like how these colleges (corporations with charters that protect their autonomy that are largely funded by privately raised funding) are operating the alternative is to use government to change things.
Use of government to achieve change is exactly what the civil rights movement did.
It isn’t about equality. It is all about revenge. Does CRT mention who runs the global slave trade since the 1300s?
The assignment sounds simple to me. Just take pictures of students studying, obeying the police, and working. As near as I can tell, those are the hallmarks of “whiteness.” Easy peasy!
“hallmarks of “whiteness.” and merit based success, as opposed to unearned handouts.
I for one love watching these sanctimonious “academics” squirm and lash out. This Bybee guy is a hack and a bully. Read his BYU page and behold his areas of “expertise.” Another higher ed charlatan who failed his way up with the help of some ethnic cred.
Affirmative Action has greatly increased examples of the Peter Principle.
Bybee has the gall to cite his experience as a New York City school teacher in his bio as if that’s some admirable credential. NYC’s public schools are a s-show aside from a few magnet schools (that progressives, of course, continue to try to dismantle), but this clown high tailed it out of there for a cushy gig in higher ed thinking he’s going to “educate” future teachers with his experience and know-how.
Meanwhile at a local Catholic high school here in the city of Philadelphia, an elderly nun continues her legendary, decades-long run producing 5’s on AP calc exams and championship mathletes teams.
Story on Sister Alice,
Thank you so much for posting that! Sister Alice is a local legend.
Yessah! And their mantra is “let the bullying begin!” They are just your everyday run of the mill bigots. But, WE don’t have to agree with them. If they use their buzz saw on our kids, we must step up and throw every racist comment back at them.
Then SUE…sue the Schools, the Professors, sue them all!
Students, time to get a lawyer & putting these woke professors and admins on defense.
Spending your parents tuition dollars on sociology classes sounds like a sound investment in your future.
It’s probably a general education required course.
Aw man!! Et tu BYU? I thought you were SAFE! Is Hillsdale the only sane college left? I have multiple kids who have graduated from that school and grandchildren just starting to be old enough to attend. In fact one starts at BYU-I (Idaho) this year. Flip.
My tithing dollars in part support the university – this divisive teaching at the school does not make me happy., I thought being a wholly private, not public, university protected it from government requirements of things like CRT.
The only way this stops is consequences. The only consequences that matter are financial. When alumni stop giving and start pressing the State Legislature to stand up and be counted on to act in support of the taxpayers and their wishes then this stops. Not before.
The professors are afraid of the light of day hitting message which is supposedly being taught for the greater social good and they believe should be imposed on all of society. This is a message we are all supposed to embrace and learn.
Perhaps the “embracing and learning” of this message can only be done at gun point while holding the rest of your higher education and professional future hostage.
Any school that still has a sociology department does not have much to offer intellectually anyway. Why would any self-respecting person interested in intellectual development pay money to take a class like that?
The why is that such classes are mandated, so those racist mandated classes serve to support black racism on campus,
At one time you studied Erving Goffman, Elijah Anderson, Emile Durkheim, and C. Wright Mills in sociology classes. I’m sure these guys are too challenging to your average undergraduate today so the professors take the low road and assign exercises on “whiteness” and probably have students create memes.
Wait….when will BYU be renamed? After all, BY was……white, right? These idiot “academics” are effing crazy. Our institutions are flat-out cowards to cave into such absurdity!
Like it or not, it is the practitioners of CRT and the pushers of Equity, who are the bigots. I am disgusted that anybody would submit to this type of hatred. What in the hell is wrong with White People who grovel and apologize to these bullies? For what? Screw them!
They turn people into haters with this irrational bullying! I suggest the students who are required to find and document examples of “white oppression” take pictures of the millions illegally entering our country. A country so filled with “white” people, it must be pure hell for anybody not really, really WHITE!!
Soon, they will be leaving in droves!
Can the state legislature make it I illegal for public institutions to discriminate based anything other than individual actions. They also should be required to teach that people should be judged solely on their actions. That there is no excuse for criminals.