The board at Grove City College, a small, Christian, conservative college in Pennsylvania, is considering removing Critical Race Theory from the curriculum on Friday at the behest of a petition authored by a group of parents. The chairman of the board is alum Ed Breen, who is also the CEO of DuPont – a company which has actually been touted as a leader in diversity and inclusion.
That the board is even considering this is in direct contrast to the ethical mission DuPont has undertaken when it comes to diversity in the workplace. Breen took the helm of the company in February 2020.
In 2021, DuPont introduced a number of diversity initiatives. The Delaware-based corporation announced a $20 million investment in the Black Economic Development Fund.
“For too long, systemic racism has prevented Black-led business owners and entrepreneurs from participating fairly and fully in our economy,” Breen said in a press release.
DuPont was also recently named one of the best places to work for the LGBTQ community by the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. It is the ninth year the chemical company has been listed.
A growing number of corporations, most notably Disney in Florida, have been pressured to take stands on social issues recently. Depending on the outcome of Friday’s vote, DuPont may be poised to join their ranks.
Breen did not respond to TYT’s request for comment, but his background leading DuPont stands in direct contrast to his record on the board of Grove City College. The board appointed a special committee to investigate the concerns brought forward by parents in the November 2021 petition.
Breen does not sit on that committee. But the school’s board is expected to vote Friday on whether to accept the findings of the report, which suggests that the school remove Critical Race Theory from its curriculum.
The report points out that some parents objected to an Education Studies course for including the book How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi.
In the petition, a group of parents requested that the college bring speakers to campus who oppose Critical Race Theory, and not allow any speakers who support it. The petition called on the college to issue a statement “rejecting CRT as unbiblical and inconsistent with the founding principles of the college.”
The petition also asks the college to disband the school’s diversity council that was tasked with improving the student body’s diversity. The petition requested that any diversity council members who promoted CRT “should be asked to resign.”
Another objection cited by the petition was the school’s use of third-party student-registration software that let users select their preferred pronoun. Last month, the school contacted the software provider and got that function removed.
Excerpt from Grove City petition list of parental objections.
One parent in the petition also objected to the dean of multiculturalism “walking around campus regularly with a LGBT rainbow mask on.”
A second petition, submitted by a group of alumni, is urging the board to reject the special committee’s report.
And some faculty are concerned that the board is taking all this seriously. “A number of parents, faculty, students and alums are asking the board to reject the report,” Professor of Psychology Warren Throckmorton told TYT.
One faculty member, Adjunct Professor Cedric Lewis, said in a Twitter thread that he was interviewed by two members of the committee and it seemed more like an interrogation.
“It was evident from the onset that the two committee members had their minds made up and determined to make us confess,” Lewis wrote in one Tweet.
The board’s special committee said it “categorically rejects Critical Race Theory and similar ‘critical’ schools of thought as antithetical to GCC’s vision, mission, and values.”
The special committee’s members included Anne McCelland, who, like Breen, holds a leadership role in corporate America. McCelland is the Vice President of XaaS Channel Optimization Research at the Technology Services Industry Association, a research organization and advisory firm for tech companies including Adobe Systems, Microsoft, and Dell.
According to the online Christian Journal Current, McClelland attends Christ Church in Cary, NC, where her husband Tim is one of two elders. The church is a member of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches, a small group started in 1998 by author Doug Wilson. His book Southern Slavery, As It Was essentially endorsed slavery.
"Slave life was to [slaves] a life of plenty, of simple pleasures, of food, clothes, and good medical care,” Wilson wrote, according to an excerpt published by The Southern Poverty Law Center.
McClelland did not respond to TYT’s request for comment.
The report McClelland co-authored acknowledges parental complaints about the school’s diversity council, created in 2020. The report also seems to try to ameliorate the parental discontent by noting that the council met only six times and was then disbanded. The student body is still more than 90 percent white.
“CRT is inseparable from its political activism.” the special committee’s report alleged. However, CRT wasn’t considered a political topic until evangelical political operatives swayed former President Donald Trump into making it one.
In fact it wasn’t even until 2020, that Christopher Ruso, a conservative activist, wrote about CRT. According to Factbase, a database of tweets and political speeches, Trump didn’t even tweet about CRT until September 2020. Since then, his supporters have made a huff about CRT on college campuses like Grove City.
Breen is quite politically involved himself. In 2020, he gave House Republican Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) specifically a combined $32,800 through Scalise’s various PACs. Breen also gave more than $35,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Breen also donated to the Democratic National Committee as well as Biden’s Presidential Campaign in May 2020.
The fact that the board is taking the parent petition seriously is already concerning in itself especially for Breen and his role externally. And this proposal does not come out of the blue. The school has built a reputation of fostering xenophobic behavior.
In the past, the school argued it was exempt from Title IX compliance, which prohibits sex-based discrimination, because it had refused federal money. Grove City has been listed as one of the worst colleges for the LGBTQ community. In 2017, multiple facility members signed a letter condemning same-sex marriage.
A Reddit thread five years ago, which claimed to be authored by a former student, said the Grove City LGBTQ community faced active discrimination by classmates.
“I’ve had friends receive death threats, be denied membership to groups, and bullied by their roommate (who was studying to be a pastor btw) until they didn't feel safe and had to leave the school,” one post said. The school newspaper’s coverage of LGBTQ discrimination reportedly was censored.
In 2021, the lone Jewish student (at a school of 2272) had an anti-Semitic confrontation with a classmate that she found so vile that she reported it to the Anti-Defamation League. The student said she told a peer at the school that neo-Nazis were among the Jan. 6 attackers, and the peer then referred to her as a “kike” — an anti-Semitic insult.
According to Throckmorton, a vote by the school’s board to accept the special report’s recommendations would downplay the severity of these incidents and further solidify concerns about the school.
“If the full board doesn’t reject this report, I don’t know how Ed Breen reconciles his day job with whatever this is,” Throckmorton said.