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DuPont CEO Leads Christian College Board in Banning CRT

DuPont CEO Ed Breen as he appeared in a Wall Street Journal/EY video posted online on Nov. 20, 2021.

 

(Image: Screengrab of EY video.)

A Christian college board chaired by DuPont CEO Ed Breen held a secret board meeting in May to ban Critical Race Theory. It’s not clear how Breen voted, but TYT has obtained audio of him relaying the results to faculty.

On May 13, the board trustees of Grove City College (GCC) voted to accept a special committee’s report that included recommending a ban on Critical Race Theory. The board announced "The College's rejection of Critical Race Theory's politicized worldview" in a statement online, but did not say what that will entail or disclose how each trustee voted.

According to faculty sources that spoke to TYT, the closed-door meeting offered very little transparency and the board offered no insight about how it came to its conclusion. There is no record of the vote count or the mechanics of how the board came to the decision. At no point in the audio does Breen dissent.

The board's decision is directly at odds with the policies of Breen’s company, which has a reputation for being inclusive. “[W]e can only truly fulfill our purpose with the full commitment, participation, creativity, energy, and cooperative spirit of a diverse workforce,” DuPont’s website says.

Despite the board’s decision, when Breen addresses the annual faculty-trustee luncheon later that day, he brazenly argues that somehow the trustees are actually supporting inclusivity and social justice. Actual experts in the space say otherwise.

In the audio, Breen appears to read the trustees' statement, saying that “GCC will continue actively to recruit qualified minority students. And the college will likewise continue to cherish and support minority students with the same care and respect that it affords to all students in relation to their particular needs.”

But there is no indication that is true. The school disbanded an Advisory Council that was tasked with improving diverse student recruitment. The school is still more than 90 percent white.

The parent petition that led to the special committee’s report made demands such as vetting chapel speakers and banning Critical Race Theory in the school’s curriculum. One instance references an on-campus speech by the widely respected historian Dr. Jemar Tisby, the best-selling author of The Color of Compromise.

In a detailed response to the decision, Tisby called out the board for even considering the petition as worthy of discussion. Citing the special committee’s report, Tisby, says “you cite my chapel presentation as problematic and called it a ‘mistake’ to invite me to speak on that occasion.

“Yet in the report you reference not a single word or sentence from my 21-minute message. Your silence on the matter leaves the impression that the real issue for you is not how I spoke about racism but that I spoke about it at all,” Tisby wrote.

Tisby told TYT, “It is a classic tactic of the defenders of the status quo to turn around and to make the people calling out the problem as the problem. In this case, the people calling out racial division are then labeled divisive.”

According to Cedric Lewis, a business professor at Grove City, the special committee also did not properly consult him, despite him being the school’s only professor of color, and one of only three staffers of color.

“No one has been to my class or spoken to my students. In fact they ignored a written letter from the actual students,” Lewis told TYT.

The trustees' statement defending their decision is in contrast to what their decision actually means.

In the audio obtained by TYT, Breen said, “The College’s rejection of Critical Race Theory’s politicized worldview must not be confused with indifference to racial minorities or racial discrimination."

But CRT wasn’t considered political until very recently. According to Factbase, a database of tweets and political speeches, former Pres. Donald Trump didn’t even tweet about CRT until September.

And it was evangelical operatives who influenced Trump into making CRT political. Most notable was Christopher Rufo, a conservative activist who wrote about CRT in July 2020 for the think tank, The Manhattan Institute.

Rufo has a history of smear campaigns. The conservative activist’s latest target is Queer Theory. Rufo also regularly appears on Tucker Carlson Tonight.

“This is about the political climate we find ourselves in and nothing about this has been handled in a Christian manner,” Lewis told TYT.

The college also says that allowing CRT would hinder free and open discussion.

According to Breen, “It goes without saying that free inquiry and robust discussion are critical components of any successful college or university. We remain committed to that freedom. Controversial subjects can only be studied through critical examination of contending views.”

According to Tisby in his letter to the Grove City trustees, “At the very moment when people should be fighting against racism, you are making it harder for them to acquire the knowledge to do so.”

As TYT previously reported, the special committee appointed by the board was far from impartial. Anne McCelland is the vice president of XaaS Channel Optimization Research at the Technology Services Industry Association, a research organization and advisory firm for a variety of tech companies, including Cisco, Salesforce and Dell.

She also belongs to a small church associated with the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches — a group founded by author Doug Wilson. His book Southern Slavery, As It Was essentially endorses slavery.

Neither TSIA nor McClelland responded to TYT’s requests for comment. According to multiple faculty members, who spoke to us on the condition of anonymity, they were asked to watch “How we speak of each other and the college online.” One source told us that the school came across as asking faculty not to speak critically of the college’s board.

“Breen will have to be consistent,” Tisby told TYT. “This decision to adopt the report should force him to publicly declare whether he is indeed on the side of racial justice and inclusion or if he supports initiatives in work only.”

Referring to DuPont, Tisby wrote in his newsletter, “Mr. Breen, what are your employees to make of your support of a report that seems to contradict your stated commitment to diversity and inclusivity at your company?”

We asked DuPont that, as well. But neither DuPont nor Breen responded to our inquiries.

Andy Hirschfeld is a freelance reporter. You can find him on Twitter @andyreports

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