Ronnie Green responds to criticism over UNL’s diversity plan

“I do not believe that UNL is racist,” Green writes. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Ronnie Green At Celebration Of Life

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Ronnie Green has fired back at the criticism he’s received for UNL’s new diversity plan from Gov. Pete Ricketts.

The UNL chancellor wrote an editorial published in the Omaha World-Herald on Tuesday.

“I do not believe that UNL is racist,” Green writes. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”

This comes after Gov. Ricketts claimed Green believed thought UNL was racist in a statement released earlier on Tuesday.

“Nebraskans need to let the University know that they reject their plan to apply CRT on UNL’s campus,” wrote Ricketts.

Ricketts also said that three of the regents – Paul Kenney, Jim Pillen and Rob Schaefer – have previously opposed CRT.

UNL’s diversity plan includes regular anti-racist teaching seminars, reviewing UNL’s hiring process in the context of race, and working with police to prevent unfair treatment of minority members.

This brings a lot of hope for some students.

“Larger voices on campus, especially when it comes to administrators, I think having them promote it is really important because it shows that people in charge are actually caring about students and how they feel safe and included on campus,” Morgan Moll, a Sophomore at UNL, told Channel 8 earlier this month.

Still, the initiative has been heavily criticized among Nebraska’s conservative lawmakers. Earlier this week, two state senators called for Green’s resignation saying, “Nebraska’s state colleges are devolving at an alarming rate.

Here’s the full letter Green released to the Omaha World-Herald:

“I do not believe that UNL is racist, nothing could be further from the truth.

This campus is full of decent, incredibly talented and honorable people who work daily to provide an outstanding education to our students, who come here from virtually every county in Nebraska, across the U.S. and around the globe. People who conduct ground-breaking research that directly impacts Nebraska and helps its economic growth, and who engage in every corner of our state through Nebraska Extension.

Our Commitment to Action is the work of our UNL community. It is the result of more than a year of conversations on our campus among faculty, staff, students and our leadership.

Critical race theory is not mentioned anywhere in this plan. We have said this before, CRT is not imposed on this campus, nor will it be. Nothing in this plan changes that. Recruiting more diverse candidates for faculty and staff has nothing to do with quotas. It’s about getting diverse candidates for a job and then hiring the most qualified person.

I have apologized to our Board of Regents for not fully engaging them in the development of our Commitment to Action prior to it being rolled out to our UNL community, or of the work of our Journey since it was announced in the summer of 2020. I take responsibility for that. In retrospect, I should have engaged the Board in detailed dialogue about what we heard and learned in the extensive diligence and conversations at UNL which led to this plan, and to ensure clear articulation of our intentions, which we will do going forward.

It is critically important for the future of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to address racial equality, for all, to fully deliver on its mission of access to world-class higher education; research and innovation; and engagement with the people of Nebraska. This includes identification of, and elimination of, any institutional barriers or obstacles where they may exist, or where they may not be fully recognized.

I look forward to working transparently and in full coordination with our Board of Regents in this effort. And going forward, I will ensure they are more fully aware of and support the steps we are planning. And will also work to build better bridges between them and those in our UNL community for whom this is so very important. We need to be able to move forward with better dialogue and understanding.”

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