UNC Charlotte defended itself on Thursday after the conservative Breitbart News website knocked the university in a story headlined, “UNC Charlotte Offers Staggering 345 Diversity and Social Justice Courses.”
The course list “illustrates a developing trend of an excessive focus on social justice-themed courses in academia,” the Breitbart News article said.
Breitbart News also is known for its feisty executive chairman, Steve Bannon, who served seven months as Donald Trump’s White House chief strategist before he returned to the publication.
The article drew scathing comments from readers.
“Sounds like a place where Snowflakes can line up for a wide variety of worthless degrees while inccuring (sic) debt they will never earn enough to be able to repay,” one man commented. “That of course will be someone else’s fault.”
“Lots of young people going in to massive debt to become future Baristas,” wrote another.
To which another reader replied: “Debt that you and I will have to pay eventually.”
Nancy Gutierrez, dean of UNCC’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, said the course list includes classes from the fall 2016 catalog that “reflected the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences’ rigorous examination of the multicultural world in which we all live.”
“Courses we offer – whether on this list or not – support our students by fostering a fundamental understanding of diversity, unique learning styles, cultural differences and human relationships,” Gutierrez said in a statement.
“This list came about as the college worked with student government regarding a number of student topics, as we normally do,” she said. “Students wanted us to make courses with diverse perspectives more visible. Academic department chairs and program directors provided the college with the already existing courses that they felt met this request.”
Not all of the courses, she said, include content focused on diversity and social justice, “although some of them perhaps could be described that way.”
The courses cover a “broad range of topics,” according to Gutierrez, including ethics and criminal justice, Southern culture in literature and film, women and literature, ancient world literatures, introduction to European studies and democracy in America: a historical perspective.
Other courses include the Holocaust, blacks in urban America, elementary Spanish, intermediate Spanish, women and politics, introduction to sociology; aging and the life course, introduction to organizations, criminology and sociology of death, dying and bereavement.