A course offered at Indiana's Butler University promises to provide students with “strategies for resistance” against the Trump administration, which the course’s description defines using divisive and controversial language.
The course, titled “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy,” will be available to students during the private college's fall 2017 semester, which runs from August to December.
One of our proud Indiana institution's offerings. Slightly outrageous pic.twitter.com/nrcEcfcYP8
— Carlin Yoder (@carlinyoder) May 2, 2017
According to the course’s original description in Butler’s course catalogue provided to students, the “special topics” class will help students understand, from a far-left perspective, how Trump won the 2016 election and will teach students “strategies for resistance.”
The original official description stated:
Donald J. Trump won the U.S. Presidency despite perpetuating sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism, and imperialism. This course explores why and how this happened, how Trump’s rhetoric is contrary to the foundation of the U.S. democracy, and what his win means for the future. The course will also discuss, and potentially engage in, strategies for resistance.
The professor slated to teach the course is Ann Savage, a professor of communications at the college. According to Butler University’s website, Savage was recognized as one of the college’s “distinguished faculty” in 2016.
In response to significant backlash against the university for its course, the college changed the course’s description on Thursday, the Indianapolis Star reported. It now states:
This course offers a broad historical, political, and critical communication studies approach to understanding the rise of Donald Trump as a political and social phenomenon. The course draws from the widely circulated Trump Syllabi (per the Chronical of Higher Education and Public Books) crowd sourced by some of the nation's leading scholars in American Political Science and history, demography, cultural studies, sociology, and more. The course will provide context and depth for student citizens as we look to historical and current texts by renowned authors as well as read excerpts from Trump's own The Art of the Deal. Students will potentially attend, as participant observers, campus and community events to witness ongoing responses to Trump's presidency and campaign. To instill disciplinary diversity, the course will invite faculty from across campus to guest lecture.
Kathryn Morris, the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Butler, issued a letter about the course on the college’s website, according to the Star. In her letter, she stated that students would not be required under the course to participate in activism against President Donald Trump, and she defended the class material:
The former concern — that the course adopts a stance critical of Trump — is one that falls under the auspices of academic freedom. Just as I support this course, I would support a course that is complimentary of the President. Butler offers a variety of courses that tackle controversial topics. Like any University, Butler should — and does — promote an environment of critical inquiry and engagement on controversial and unpopular topics.
Although Morris said a course complimentary of the president would be acceptable, no such course currently exists at Butler.
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