‘White racism’ course at Florida university sparks threats & outrage, as expected
Florida Gulf Coast University rolled out the new course entitled, “White racism,” on Tuesday as part of its Spring semester to “examine the racist ideologies, laws, policies, and practices” that have allowed “white racial domination over those racialized as non-white.”
Course director Ted Thornhill, an assistant professor of sociology, said he’s received a raft of emails challenging the academic integrity of such a course, as well as more abusive messages including racial slurs and those branding him a racist. “Cancer (Stage 4) is what you and your family deserve for spreading hate, lies & intolerance,” one detractor wrote, as cited by News Press.
Thornhill reportedly handed over 50 pages of such emails to police as a precautionary measure, fearing that the backlash could escalate. Importantly, however, no actual threats of violence or potential disruptions to the course were made. The university authorities will station two campus police officers outside the classroom as a precautionary measure regardless.
“I think most of us don’t anticipate there being any unrest or protest or anything like that,” Thornhill said. “But it’s more of a prudent measure to have law enforcement present just in case.”
Asked whether the police presence outside the classroom would be temporary, Thornhill said: “I don’t think that we would share many of those details for individuals who have negative intentions.”
He also reported that several of the 50 students due to take the course have expressed concern for their safety, describing the backlash as “upsetting but perhaps not entirely surprising given the nature of these more rabid white racists.”
“We have prepared for any possible distractions related to Tuesday’s first class of the ‘White Racism Course,’” Vice President and Chief of Staff Susan Evan told NBC 2. “But we are expecting normal campus civility as our students engage in this and other courses as we start the spring semester this week.”
University President Mike highlighted that the university is already suffering a dearth of funding. “It is certainly no secret that on a per student basis, #FGCU is the lowest funded among the state’s universities,” he wrote.