Robbie Sequeira, Gainesville Times, January 29, 2021
State Rep. Emory Dunahoo, R-Gillsville, is asking questions about what the state’s universities are teaching about white privilege.
The Republican confirmed he sent a legislative request to University System of Georgia administrators to collect information about what was being taught. He told The Times that request was in response to concerns from his constituents in District 30, which covers much of South Hall.
“I don’t proceed with business without facts. I’m also (in the Georgia House of Representatives) to represent my constituents,” he said in a Jan. 29 interview with the Times. “These questions come from my constituents in the district who want to know what’s being taught to their kids at college.”
In a Jan. 21 email sent to the presidents and provosts of 53 of the state’s colleges and universities, outgoing chancellor Steve Wrigley, at the request of Dunahoo, sent a list of three questions. Dunahoo asked administrators to confirm if they receive a “yes.”
- Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students that possessing certain characteristics inherently designates them as either being “privileged” or “oppressed?”
- Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students what constitutes “privilege” and “oppression?”
- Are any classes within the Georgia public school system or the University System of Georgia teaching students who identify as white, male, heterosexual, or Christian are intrinsically privileged and oppressive, which is defined as “malicious or unjust” and “wrong?”
Aaron Diamant, vice chancellor of communications for USG told the Times that USG administrators are “working with” Dunahoo to get him answers to the questions.
As a member of the House Committee on Appropriations, Dunahoo said he hopes to have responses to his request by next week and that the information should be an aid for discussing future budgetary action.
Some local professors are raising concerns about academic freedom in response to the three-term legislator’s inquiry.
Matthew Boedy, an associate professor of rhetoric and composition at University of North Georgia in Gainesville, said the legislative request is an “attack” on higher education.