Cornell University announced this week that its faculty has voted to change the name of the English department as part of a broader campaign to eradicate “structural forms” of racism at the university. The department will now be referred to as the “department of literatures in English.”
According to a report by Campus Reform, Cornell University has voted to change the name of its English department in response to a campaign by faculty members. The name was changed from “English department” to the “department of literatures in English” as part of a broader effort to eradicate racism on campus.
Professor Carol Boyce-Davies, an author of the original proposal to change the department’s name, said that the proposal was inspired by the Black Lives Matters protests that erupted in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. According to a report by the Cornell student newspaper, the decision was supported by 75 percent of university faculty members.
“Faculty around the country — not just faculty of color, but faculty in general — began to look at the institution to see how we can help advance a discourse that challenges structural forms of racism which get reproduced in students and in teaching over and over again,” Boyce-Davies said in a short comment.
The change may not be a surprise to members of the Cornell community. Cornell President Martha Pollack said back in May that the university would use its educational programs to eradicate racism in the United States.
“We will address it directly in our educational programs, in our research and in our engagement and related activities, working through the ways we know best to push for a world that is equitable and kind; where people do not have to fear for their lives because of the color of their skin; and where everyone has the same opportunities to grow, thrive and enjoy their lives,” Pollack said.
Breitbart News reported in September that the faculty coalition at the university demanded a racial breakdown of faculty spouses.
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