Posted on April 26, 2018

Ditching the West in the Name of Diversity, Reed College Abandons ‘Foundational Texts’

Max Diamond, Washington Examiner, April 25, 2018

Nothing symbolized Reed College’s commitment to teaching the intellectual and artistic heritage of the West more than its freshman seminar, Humanities 110.

Reed, a private liberal arts college in Portland, Ore., which is well-known for being Steve Jobs’ almost alma mater, required all freshmen to take a course on the classics of the Judeo-Christian canon and Greco-Roman antiquity. Reed was one of the rare colleges that continued to require freshman students to study the foundations of Western humanities.

However, that was the past. Starting next fall, this course will no longer really exist and in its place will come a course where student protesters have paved the way. Last year, a student activist group called Reedies Against Racism began a near-daily protest of the course’s lectures (there are three each week). In addition to calling for scholarships exclusively for black students and mandatory anti-oppression workshops for all students and faculty, the student group demanded that the Humanities 110 syllabus be “reformed to represent the voices of people of color.” {snip}

During the course of the protests, Reedies Against Racism forced a professor to give his lecture outside and also took over the lecture hall on the first day of the course in 2017.


“We believe the first lesson students should learn about Hum 110 is that it perpetuates white supremacy by centering whiteness as the only required course at Reed,” another protester said.


The freshman course will now have four distinct sections on historically, culturally, and geographically disparate cities including Greece, Rome, Mexico City, and Harlem. {snip}

Writing on their public Facebook page, Reedies Against Racism said that the new syllabus should not include Greece or Rome. Rather, the new “cities should be outside of Europe, as reparations for Humanities 110’s history of erasing the histories of people of color, especially black people.”

A multicultural approach that expands voices is not enough. These students want the erasure of the Western tradition that the course was until this year.