Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) will have at least two campus police officers present for the start of a controversial class on “White Racism,” according to The Naples Daily News.
The Daily News on Monday reported that the course is scheduled to begin Tuesday following national attention over its title and curriculum.
“I think most of us don’t anticipate there being any unrest or protest or anything like that,” said Ted Thornhill, the assistant professor of sociology who will teach the class.
“But it’s more a prudent measure to have law enforcement present just in case,” he continued.
“You never know what people are thinking and what they might be capable of. It’s good to be cautious.”
FCGU’s 2018 spring semester began Monday, and 50 students have signed up to take the “White Racism” course the next day.
Thornhill on Monday said he had received scores of disturbing emails and voicemails after news of the course spread.
The educator added that a couple of students enrolled in the class also spoke with him about safety concerns they had.
“[It’s] upsetting but perhaps not entirely surprising given the nature of these more rabid white racists,” Thornhill said of the response from some detractors.
“I think that we will be safe and that students don’t have anything to worry about except for completing their reading and doing their work and engaging with the material.”
A security plan for the course was implemented after Thornhill, FGCU President Mike Martin and others met last month.
Thornhill received some messages which featured people voicing disappointment over FCGU offering a course on “White Racism.”
The assistant professor heard from other detractors, however, who used foul language, labeled him racist or uttered the n-word.
“[We will] examine the racist ideologies, laws, policies and practices that have operated for hundreds of years to maintain white racial domination over those racialized as non-white,” the course’s description reads.
“And [we will] discuss ways to challenge white racism and white supremacy toward promoting an anti-racist society where whiteness is not tied to greater life chances.”
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