The United States Air Force Academy admitted on Thursday to incorporating “some elements” of critical race theory (CRT) in its coursework, but noted that CRT is not officially endorsed by the institution.
“As an academic institution and an accredited university, cadets are encouraged to engage in critical thinking and discourse, which may drive some classroom discussion on tenets of critical race theory,” the academy said in a statement to The Washington Times.
“The U.S. Air Force Academy supports an instructor’s responsibility to challenge students and to do so in an environment of academic freedom,” the statement continued. “While some elements from CRT canon are included in the course to encourage critical thinking, it is not a theory endorsed by the institution as institutional doctrine.”
The academy said the course that includes elements of CRT is Political Science 211, “Politics, American Government, and National Security.”
The academy addressed the inclusion of critical race theory in the classroom after associate professor of political science Lynne Chandler Garcia wrote in an op-ed that she teaches the controversial theory to cadets, despite Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin saying in June that it was not taught in the military.
According to Garcia, teaching critical race theory is “vital” so cadets “understand the history of the racism that has shaped both foreign and domestic policy.”
“In my classes, cadets learn about the ideals embedded in this founding document. We explore the liberalist theories that promoted these ideals, and we embrace our democratic system of government,” Garcia wrote. “But we also acknowledge that the United States was founded on a duality: liberalism and equal rights on the one hand; inequality, inegalitarianism and second-class citizenship on the other.”
Garcia’s remarks were met with backlash, including Tennessee Rep. Mark Green, who said in a letter to acting Air Force Secretary John P. Roth that the professor should be removed.
Green, a GOP lawmaker and West Point graduate, argued that Gar “full-throttled attack on our country and her support for Critical Race Theory render her unqualified to teach in one of our prestigious military academies.”
“If we allow this destructive ideology to be taught in our Military Service Academies, we will be responsible for this nation’s demise,” Green warned in a statement Thursday. “Professor García must be removed from her teaching position.”
During a hearing with the House Armed Services Committee on June 23, Mr. Austin maintained that CRT was not taught in the military.
“We do not teach critical race theory,” Austin said. “We don’t embrace critical race theory and I think that’s a spurious conversation.”