The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska passed a bill Wednesday night opposing a resolution proposed by Regent and gubernatorial candidate Jim Pillen that would formally reject “any imposition of Critical Race Theory” in University of Nebraska system curriculum.
Government Bill 2, which was authored by University of Nebraska-Lincoln ASUN President Batool Ibrahim and University of Nebraska Omaha Student Body President Maeve Hemmer, was voted on and passed almost unanimously just nine days before the Board of Regents is expected to vote on Pillen’s resolution.
Similar legislation already passed in student governments at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, University of Nebraska at Kearney and UNO, with UNL being the last one.
Pillen publicly announced the resolution almost one month ago, with the intent for it to be considered at the upcoming Board of Regents meeting on Aug. 13.
“Regent Pillen’s resolution undermines the mission statements and values of the four University of Nebraska campuses as it violates academic and creative freedom, decreases opportunities for critical and independent thinking, and therefore, hinders the University’s ability to provide a premier education,” the bill states.
Sen. Jake Drake said Pillen’s resolution is perilous for the university.
“I also think that Pillen’s resolution against critical race theory is really dangerous for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln,” Drake said. “It is problematic on all fronts.”
Sen. Meyri Ibrahim voiced her own concerns that Pillen’s resolution could impact future generations of Huskers and how they see the world.
“As one of 700 Black students on campus, I think statements like Regent Pillen’s are really detrimental to the retention of students of color at the University of Nebraska,” she said.
The lone “no” vote came from Sen. Zachary Wahab-Cheek, who raised concerns about what ASUN would really accomplish with the bill.
Overall, support is campus wide, with at least 23 recognized student organizations voicing their support for this bill, according to an ASUN Instagram story Wednesday. Student-athletes have also created a petition in opposition to Pillen’s resolution.
Last week, ASUN executives, including Batool Ibrahim, released a statement against Pillen’s Resolution. Ibrahim, who serves as UNL’s student regent and has told The Daily Nebraskan she will vote no for Pillen’s resolution, said the joint bill was an opportunity for her and ASUN to support students.
“Tonight, as senators, you all can set a precedent and ensure that all student voices are heard,” she said. “I really want everyone to think about what ASUN means.”