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One of the country’s oldest private universities is not backing down from a controversial course offering entitled “How to Overthrow the State.”
While Washington and Lee University in Virginia has come under fire for the class, the school’s president is standing by the decision to offer it and claims the course has been unfairly “distorted” and “sensationalized.” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and others have called out the Lexington-based university for the “insanity.”
Students enrolled in the first-year writing course are placed “at the head of a popular revolutionary movement aiming to overthrow a sitting government and forge a better society.”
“How will you attain power? How will you communicate with the masses? How do you plan on improving the lives of the people? How will you deal with the past?” the course description on WLU’s website reads.
Though there don’t appear to be any reference to the American Revolution or Revolutionary leaders in the description, those known for Marxist ideology are prominently named.
“From Frantz Fanon to Che Guevara to Mohandas Gandhi and others, we explore examples of revolutionary thought and action from across the Global South,” the description reads.
https://t.co/1JkrqPDlyd. . “How to Overthrow the State” Course offered at Washington & Lee… pic.twitter.com/L4Xyah5uRD
— murph (@murphs_tweets) September 4, 2020
The class, taught by Assistant Professor of History Matt Gildner and worth three credits toward a college degree, asks students to produce a “Manifesto, drafting a white paper that critically analyzes a particular issue” and “write a persuasive essay on rewriting history and confronting memory.”
Gingrich blasted the offering as “one further sign of the insanity taking over higher education.”
“The alumni should rise up and show how to overthrow a crazy college administration,” he tweeted.
Washington and Lee University’s course on “how to overthrow the state” is one further sign of the insanity taking over higher education. The alumni should rise up and show how to overthrow a crazy college administration.
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) September 4, 2020
One of the nation’s oldest higher education institutions, Washington and Lee University, which was established in 1749, made headlines in July when an overwhelming majority of its faculty members voted to drop “Lee” in its name, referring to the confederate general Robert E. Lee, after 150 years. Associate professor of law Brandon Hasbrouck even pressed the school to go further and drop George Washington’s name as well.
The university’s president Will Dudley responded to the backlash against the course on overthrowing governments in an email to the campus community, accusing the media of turning the issue “into political fodder on blogs, television, and social media.”
“We are expressly committed to encouraging all to speak their minds freely and to consider carefully alternative points of view. It is incumbent upon us to treat each other with respect and not perpetrate or tolerate personal attacks,” he added, according to CBS19 reporter Kathryn Young.
“I try to view every challenge as an opportunity, and the challenge posed by this episode is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the value of liberal arts education and the means by which we provide it,” he added, according to the local reporter,” Dudley said.
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk slammed the “disgraceful” course in a statement.
“We must stop brushing aside these egregious examples of campus craziness as isolated incidents,” he told Breitbart News.
“The lessons of the past few months prove that these ideas don’t stay on campus, they spill out onto the streets,” Kirk added. “This is a prime example of the intellectual rot that has infected the academy in America. The Trump administration should investigate and determine if this is the type of scholarship federal funds should be used to subsidize.”
In an interview with Fox News last week, Kirk warned of the dangers courses like that at Washington & Lee in causing some of the unrest and “insurrection” seen in America’s cities over the last few months.
(Source: Fox News)
“What happens on college campuses happens in the entire American culture, it doesn’t stay there,” Kirk told Tammy Bruce who was guest host on “The Ingraham Angle.”
“And now you see in just vivid color how to overthrow the state. When you send a kid to a college campus, you might be playing Russian roulette with their values… and you might be training them to overthrow your government.”
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