What I saw at the American Academy of Religion.
Dixie Gone Woke
Ideologues are rewriting the history and traditions of the University of Alabama.
Once a bastion of American tradition, the progressive regime has imposed its new world order onto an unimaginable frontier—universities in the heart of Dixie. Contrary to popular belief, Dixie has gone woke.
My alma mater—the University of Alabama (UA)—used the Summer of George Floyd as an Orwellian vehicle to rewrite history, rapidly build their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) infrastructure, and tear down the unique traditions which set the institution apart from other colleges and universities.
UA was appealing amongst a sea of leftist echo chambers and crunchy liberal arts colleges for its rich history and traditional values.
It only took a little more than two weeks after Floyd’s death for the school to rewrite campus history.
The Board of Trustees appointed a task force that renamed campus buildings—six and counting so far—and defaced three veterans memorials. UA seized the opportunity to rip off campus plaques honoring 15- and 16-year-old UA students who served in the Confederate Army and the student cadet corps—students who shed blood defending their town and alma mater from Union troops who eventually burnt it to the ground.
And to top it off, mandatory diversity training was imposed upon bright-eyed, first year students.
In the months following the Summer of Floyd protests, UA’s Student Government Association (SGA) launched a five-part series of mandatory DEI trainings, which spotlighted radical anti-white activist Jane Elliot. Throughout the trainings, she compared President Trump to Adolf Hitler, America to Nazi Germany, and demanded that students of faith “get over” abortion while encouraging campus leftists to defame conservative students. Students were told by email to provide a “proof of excuse” if they were unable to be subject to UA’s mandatory hate-for-hire indoctrination.
Despite evidence to the contrary, UA’s SGA publicly denied forcing students to participate in forced DEI certification programs. Internal emails involving multiple SGA members and SGA’s Executive Vice President emphasized, “It is mandatory for you to attend these meetings!” While SGA disputes their role in forced indoctrination, UA students face potential exclusion if they fail to become DEI certified—making them de-facto mandatory according to the student-run paper The Crimson White:
To get certified, organizations with fewer than 200 members must have at least 20% of their members, including at least one executive officer, in attendance at three out of the five events. Organizations with greater than 200 members must have a minimum of 15% of their members, including one executive officer, in attendance at three out of the five events.
During my tenure as UA’s College Republican Chair, our group sounded the alarm on UA’s growing relationship with DEI. When we presented concerns to UA Vice President of Student Life Myron Pope, he chose instead to lecture us on “UA values.” Pope has since been arrested by the West Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force for soliciting prostitution. One is left wondering what UA’s values are.
The push for transforming Dixie into a southern woke wonderland recently forced one UA professor to ditch academia, as he wrote in a farewell Tweet,
The rise of illiberalism in the name of DEI is the antithesis of the principles that universities were founded on. These are no longer places that embrace the freedom of exchanging ideas and will punish those that go against the narrative. Although I had worked from an early age to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor, like my father, I feel the profession is no longer worthy of my efforts.
Woke ideology supersedes honor, sacrifice, ancestry, and tradition—even in unexpected places like Dixie. Even the term “Dixie” itself is being erased from UA’s Fight Song, a cultural campus staple belted from the stands following each score during sporting events.
Surprisingly, the acceleration of DEI wasn’t the first indicator of a growing embrace of pernicious ideology at the deep south university. Richard Delgado, a founding voice of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and the John J. Sparkman Chair of Law at UA’s School of Law for nearly a decade, co-wrote and published the 1995 landmark essay, “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction.” Partnering with Jean Stefancic, his wife and UA School of Law Professor and Clement Research Affiliate, the couple co-wrote and published the Number One Best Seller in Amazon’s jurisprudence category, lending early academic credence behind today’s CRT movement, which is poisoning American government, corporate board rooms, the military, and academia. In 2021, UA and UA Law’s DEI Divisions co-sponsored a webinar featuring the CRT couple titled, “Critical Race Theory: An Overview.”
No healthy country erases and rewrites its own history and traditions to promulgate radically unpopular propaganda, hoping its citizens are too distracted to take note. Contrary to the purpose of universities, DEI certification programs function as a cloaked litmus test to gauge compliance with the regime’s agenda—one helmed by the American progressive Left.
In 2023, we cannot be so arrogant and shortsighted to think we have greater moral sustenance than our forefathers. Human beings are, of course, fallible. But to use the justification of past wrongdoings as a Trojan horse to deceptively implement a radical political ideology is disingenuous at best. I, amongst many others, enrolled at UA for its timeless tradition, history, and conservative values. Alabama’s institutions of higher education must reclaim this identity for themselves, or they’ll soon be adrift in a sea of spineless institutions in American academia.
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