University of Memphis offers faculty $3K for 'infusing' equity, social justice into curriculum: report

A professor reportedly questioned whether this is an appropriate use of taxpayer money.

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The University of Memphis in Tennessee has offered professors $3,000 to infuse their courses with diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, according to a report Monday.

An all-faculty email obtained by the Free Beacon shows the university offering a $1,500 stipend after professors redesign their curricula, with another $1,500 after teaching the redesigned course. According to the email, 15-20 faculty members will be selected for the program, which begins in the spring of 2022.

"This announcement offers a competitive grant opportunity designed to support faculty who are interested in redesigning and aligning existing course syllabi with the goals established by the workgroup entitled, Infusing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice into Existing Courses/Curriculum," the email reads.

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That working group links to a report emphasizing the need for anti-racism, a term popularized by controversial author Ibram Kendi. It includes a call to "[e]stablish funding to incentivize faculty and instructors to enroll in cultural competency workshops focused on race and racism, designing anti-racist syllabi, and developing skills and appropriate dispositions for facilitating anti-racist classroom discussion."

It also includes a recommendation that "[a]ll existing Major Core/Required Courses in Programs/Curriculum should be reviewed and revised to assure they address how racial inequities are relevant in and to the discipline (e.g., knowledge, impact on society, connections to racism)."

The public university did not immediately respond to Fox News' request for comment.

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An unnamed professor criticized the move in comments to the Beacon. 

"We've had a hard time retaining good faculty at our salary levels, so anytime you see money being spent on non-student or non-faculty causes, it makes you scratch your head," the professor reportedly said. 

Logo for the University of Memphis (screenshot/uofmemphisvideos/youtube)

Logo for the University of Memphis (screenshot/uofmemphisvideos/youtube)

"Could this money be spent on students or retaining quality faculty rather than a progressive agenda that isn't likely supported by the taxpayers or voters of Tennessee?"

The email, which is signed by two university vice presidents, requests a 500-word narrative addressing how applicants "approach diversity, equity and inclusion within your pedagogical style."

American University professor Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, stands for a portrait at the School of International Service following a panel discussion on his new book "How to Be an Antiracist" in Washington, D.C.

American University professor Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, stands for a portrait at the School of International Service following a panel discussion on his new book "How to Be an Antiracist" in Washington, D.C. (Michael A. McCoy/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Last year, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln came under fire for a sweeping proposal to integrate "anti-racist" ideas into various aspects of the school. 

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The controversial plan contained language indicating it would consider race in hiring. It reads: "Begin a comprehensive review of hiring practices and retention data of tenure-track, non-tenure track faculty, extension faculty, and staff in the context of race and ethnicity."

When asked whether the plan would entail hiring based on race, UNL public affairs director Leslie Reed said: "These steps are about having a diverse pool of candidates from which we can pick the best person, regardless of race."