Former University of California regent Ward Connerly lashed out on Sunday at University of California, Irvine after the school held a “healing, grieving, and support” counseling session in the wake of a Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown.
The counseling session was held on November 25th and was attended by about 80 students and faculty members, according to Fox News.
“If they really wanted to have a teachable moment of understanding the facts of the case as they were presented to the grand jury, that would be one thing,” Connerly told Fox. “But this isn’t about processing facts. It’s about processing the emotions of what you have been told about the case.”
Connerly said that the school’s decision to hold a grief counseling session instead of legal lessons related to the case shows that the school rejects the version of events presented to the grand jury. Connerly also questioned why students in California need grief counseling for an event that happened halfway across the country.
“What’s surprising to me is how individuals 2,000 miles away can somehow get really emotionally attached to this verdict, which leads me to believe it is somewhat make-believe,” Connerly added. “The notion that they can get all riled up to the extent that they need psychological help is really pushing the envelope.”
UC Irvine spokeswoman Laura Rico defended the counseling session in an email to Fox News.
“On Tuesday afternoon, UC Irvine’s counseling center offered students an opportunity to talk through their feelings about the Ferguson grand jury’s decision in a constructive space,” Rico said. “UC Irvine hosts many targeted co-curricular activities for students, which in no way detract from studies, including any instruction students may receive on the law. The UCI counseling center’s goal is to provide outreach and support in many formats. This facilitated discussion of a high-profile event is one way to do just that.”
Mike Adams, an associate professor of criminology at University of North Carolina, told Fox he agrees with Connerly’s sentiment.
“Our universities are supposed to be dedicated to the pursuit of truth, not to the intentional promotion of falsity,” Adams said. “In this case, a Cross Cultural Center is actually inhibiting cultural understanding by seeking to resurrect a discredited narrative.”
Connerly was a member of the University of California board of regents from 1993-2005. In 1996, Connerly was instrumental in the passage of Proposition 209, a ballot initiative that prohibited affirmative action consideration in the hiring practices of governmental agencies in California. Connerly is now the chairman of the American Civil Rights Institute.
Photo: Manuel Balce Cenata/AP