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NAACP endorses University of Nebraska-Lincoln diversity plan, criticizes Ricketts

Posted at 6:30 PM, Dec 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-01 19:30:25-05

OMAHA, Neb (KMTV) — It's a hot-button issue that the NAACP says should have never been.

After learning of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's new diversity plan on Nov. 22, Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said of UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green:

"I was misled by Ronnie Green. I have lost faith in Ronnie Green. I don't believe anything he says anymore. I don't know how you get that back. I could not be more disgusted with what just happened."

The plan from UNL was introduced last month and called "Journey to Anti-Racism," which is aimed at increasing diversity across the institution.

Ricketts claimed it promoted critical race theory, Marxism and Communism, which Green and NU President Ted Carter say is untrue. Carter did say that communication, especially on the NU Board of Regents, could have been better.

Now, the NAACP is taking issue with the governor's explosive accusations.

President of the NAACP Omaha Chapter, Michael Williams says the governor's comments completely miss the mark.

"I think it's important to see this is not about critical race theory. This is not about projecting a particular negativity on people. This is about pursuing equality and filling gaps and blanks where they have existed in the past," said Williams.

Williams says the NAACP fully supports the university's plan to increase diversity within the school system.

He said, "This plan is a major commitment to action and center around, as Chancellor Ronnie Green puts it, 'concrete steps built within five themes' as follows: Advancing diversity and inclusion across the institution; positioning excellence and learning through diversity; promoting community, sense of belonging and mattering; building and sustaining anti-racist infrastructure and accountability; and acknowledging the impact of COVID-19 on communities who are under-resourced or racially minoritized."

On Tuesday, Governor Ricketts doubled down on his claims. In his weekly column, Ricketts slammed Green as believing the university is "racist."

The governor accused the university of racially-motivated hiring practices and again accused the school of implementing critical race theory into "every corner of campus."

It's a notion with which North Omaha community leader, Preston Love Jr. takes issue.

When referring to UNL's plan, Love said, "It just means to make it better and that's the conversation that should be held."

Love Jr. added, "May I say that I'm a university professor; been teaching in the black studies department. My chairman has been teaching in the black studies department for 30 years, neither one of us have ever taught, not a day, on critical race theory. Where is this coming from? Is the question."

The NAACP is pushing UNL to move forward with the plan and not bow to political pressure.

Love Jr. also said they plan to attend the board of regents meeting this week, although the university's diversity plan is not on the agenda at this time.

It's important to note that Love Jr. did not encourage supporters to attend Friday's board of regents meeting.

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