LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska athletes who are part of a newly formed nonprofit that aims to give college athletes a larger voice are among those who signed a petition Monday opposing a proposed University of Nebraska Board of Regents resolution objecting to “any imposition of critical race theory” in academic curriculum.
The nonprofit, United College Athlete Advocates, reported its petition had gathered more than 1,300 signatures by Monday morning, the Omaha World-Herald reported, to oppose the proposal by Regent Jim Pillen, who’s also running for governor. Critical race theory is a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism.
Former Nebraska golfer Daniel Pearson is a cofounder of United College Athlete Advocates, which also unveiled #WeAreOne Nebraska, a collaboration between UCAA and student-athlete leaders at Nebraska. Pearson said members of Nebraska’s Minority Student Athlete Collective and Student Athlete Advisory Committee assisted in organizing the group and petition.
Husker track and field athlete Sadio Fenner, a UCAA representative at Nebraska, helped lead the charge on the petition.
Pillen’s proposed resolution says critical race theory “does not promote inclusive and honest dialogue and education on campus” and that it seeks to silence opposing views.
“Some of the wording and verbiage in that statement made me feel sick to my stomach,” Pearson said.
Fenner said he objects to the proposal’s assertion that the theory’s central idea — that racism is systemic in the nation’s institutions — teaches non-American values.
“If you’re saying that that is a non-American ideal, then in my opinion, you’re essentially saying that an American ideal is the suppression of the minority voice,” Fenner said.