In Course Reversal, George Washington University Will Not Recommend Book Equating Conservatism With Racism

GWU scraps book following Free Beacon story

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July 22, 2020

George Washington University apologized after the Washington Free Beacon revealed that the school's resource guide on "anti-racism" included a book that equates conservatism with bigotry.

The Washington, D.C.-based school's Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement created a "Solidarity Resource Syllabus" with a reading list that focuses on racism and allyship in the United States. Among the 126 books was San Francisco State University professor Robert Smith's book Conservatism and Racism, and Why in America They Are the Same. The book labels all conservatives, including people of color, as bigots. The university and diversity office have failed to respond to requests for comment from the Free Beacon but issued a public statement repudiating the book on Monday.

"The Office for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement apologizes for the harm that members of the GW community experienced as a result of us listing a book about an author's opinion on conservative people as a resource," the statement posted to the office website says. "We removed the book and continue to engage with community members impacted. Our team remains open to receiving feedback from the GW community as we continue working toward a more diverse and inclusive GW community."

Smith told the Free Beacon that his book—"a historical, philosophical, and empirical study"—is more useful today than when it was published in 2010. He declined to comment on the university's decision to remove his work.

Campus conservatives are welcoming the decision, saying they had been unfairly smeared. GWU's Young America's Foundation placed pressure on the university to remove the book by emailing the diversity office and other administrators. Chapter president Gillian Hand told the Free Beacon that the book undermined the university's stated goal of eliminating prejudice.

"It's no surprise that GW is mainly a left-leaning school, but we would never expect GW's administration to blatantly come out and label a group of students as racist," Hand said. "It was great to see ... GW come out and acknowledge that they were wrong."

The university hosted a number of online programs on racism that were consolidated into the school's "resource guide" in an effort to educate more students about the dangers of discrimination. The university's educational sessions were titled, "Non-black people of color conversation: Role in anti-blackness" and "Conversation about the role of white people in racial justice and anti-racism," among others.