Grove City Board Accepts Full CRT Report, Says College Promoted CRT

By Kathryn Post
Grove City College CRT
The Chapel on the quad at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. (Photo Source: Grove City College)

In the latest development in Grove City College’s critical race theory saga, the board of trustees at the Pennsylvania school accepted the report from an ad hoc committee Friday that acknowledged instances of “CRT advocacy” at the school.

In accepting the report, the board also agreed to restore the word “conservative” to the school’s mission statement and adopted a list of “remedial actions” to curb CRT going forward, all while denying allegations of “going woke.”

“Today, Board chair Ed Breen announced that the Grove City College Board of Trustees voted to accept and adopt the ad hoc committee report on CRT. The Board thanked the committee for its service,” Warren Throckmorton, a professor of psychology at Grove City, tweeted Friday afternoon. Another faculty member independently confirmed that news of the vote had been shared at a faculty-trustee luncheon.

Jemar Tisby
Jemar Tisby

Some Grove City stakeholders have condemned the report and authored additional petitions calling for the board to reject it and apologize to Jemar Tisby, who had once spoken at the college and was named in an earlier parent petition.

Others celebrated the report, including the original petitioners — who said the report vindicated them — and some professors.

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Grove City and Breen did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication.

The conservative Christian college has been at the center of a politicized clash over critical race theory since November. At issue is whether the school promoted CRT — an academic and legal framework that examines how systemic racism has shaped society — in school-sponsored classes, chapels and trainings.

The report, which the board-appointed committee published April 20, contradicts the claims of several professors that they have never promoted CRT ideas. At least two of the professors have criticized the committee’s investigation, saying they were “interrogated” by committee members and subjected to biased questioning.

The April report was spurred by a torrent of follow-up petitions, counter-petitions and news articles after parents of Grove City students objected to a 2020 chapel presentation by historian Jemar Tisby, among other things. The parents’ petition included the chapel in a list of alleged instances of CRT infiltration. The report found that a majority of school leaders said inviting Tisby to speak in chapel was a “mistake.”

Tisby, who earlier said the allegations that his sermon promoted CRT are “ludicrous,” said on Friday that the board’s acceptance of the report makes the situation more concerning.

“They’re not going to be able to get Black students and students of color. The student body is already over 90% white,” Tisby told Religion News Service. “I would suspect that other Christian colleges and universities are watching this unfold, and my inclination is that it will further imperil racial justice efforts. Even if college personnel want to see change, they see just how much controversy it entails.”

Tisby added that Christian colleges may now shy away from inviting speakers to discuss racism.

The approved report also includes “remedial actions,” such as increased scrutiny of guest speakers and student trainings, rebranding the Office of Multicultural Education and Initiatives and replacing an education course accused of promoting “pop-CRT.”

After the board’s decision, Throckmorton told RNS he was disappointed that the board didn’t apologize to Tisby or to his colleagues who were questioned by the committee. He also believes the board’s decision will make it harder to attract students of color and said it hasn’t assuaged faculty concerns about the report’s impact on the classroom. “I think there’s still a lot of concern among faculty about whether we really have the kind of academic freedom that we’re being promised,” he said.

Seulgi Byun, chair of the biblical studies, religion and philosophy department at Grove City, said on Twitter that he’s also disappointed by the board’s statement but remains optimistic. “Some of the leaders here are grieving and fully aware that much more work needs to be done, and I am hopeful that we can — and will — move the needle in the right direction.”

Kathryn Post is a writer living in Washington D.C. She is a graduate of Calvin College and an editorial assistant for Sojourners magazine. 

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18 thoughts on “Grove City Board Accepts Full CRT Report, Says College Promoted CRT”

  1. Betty Phillips

    It is a private school. They should not be required to teach any philosophy that does not align with their statement of purpose.

  2. Laurie Higgins

    This is good news. Now Grove City should do a report on Warren Throckmorton who has long held troubling views on sexuality. He’s a cagey leftist who shouldn’t be teaching at a theologically orthodox school.

    As an aside, Wheaton College should do a similar report on CRT.

        1. If by great work you mean alienating potential new followers of Christ with narrow-minded, judgmental, unempathetic blatherings. And by speaking truths you mean fear-mongering and praying on others ignorance, and inaccurate portrayals of her fellow human beings, then in your mind I guess you’re right One. If she expects grace from God I’d think she’d have a little herself.

  3. Re: “In accepting the report, the board also agreed to restore the word “conservative” to the school’s mission statement and adopted a list of “remedial actions” to curb CRT going forward, all while denying allegations of “going woke.”

    Needless to say, they made the right decision, not only as a Christian college, but for America more generally.

    1. Robert, as a Christian college, they should be loyal to the truth, not some “conservative ideology.”

      America’s 300 year history of white supremacy should not be glossed over, and neither should the American church’s role in the slave trade, the Southern rebellion, Jim Crow and segregation.

      George Whitfield, one of the leading preachers in early America, began his ministry opposing slavery. After living in the South, he became so corrupted by the Southern Christian culture his ministry purchased and owned slaves to help him spread the good news.

      Another early American evangelist Jonathan Edwards, who is “the greatest of all time” according to John MacArthur, wrote one of his most famous sermons on the back of a sales receipt for “a negro girl named Venus” that he had just purchased.

      Seventy percent of the men who wrote the words, “All men are created equal” owned slaves and never intended that phrase to include blacks.

      Why shouldn’t these topics be studied in a university setting?

      1. one could add a later evangelist to the list—Martin Luther King Jr. to the list. Good comments, Greg!

        “The Color of Care” by the Smithsonian

        https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/special/the-color-of-care

        While the above video is interesting and up to date, This article below from the Atlantic monthly published back 2016 will give you quite a good look about the denial of the Critical Race Theory.

        “America’s Health Segregation Problem”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/05/americas-health-segregation-problem/483219/

        ‘It was a cold March night when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. turned his pulpit towards health care. Speaking to a packed, mixed-race crowd of physicians and health-care workers in Chicago, King gave one of his most influential late-career speeches, blasting the American Medical Association and other organizations for a “conspiracy of inaction” in the maintenance of a medical apartheid that persisted even then in 1966.

        There, King spoke words that have since become a maxim: “Of all the inequalities that exist, the injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhuman.” ‘

        “The Fight for Health Care Has Always Been About Civil Rights”

        https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/06/the-fight-for-health-care-is-really-all-about-civil-rights/531855/

  4. Stephen Parker

    Germany in the 1930’s all over again. Darkness covers the WORLD and they, my so-called believers, are the ones doing it. Just as Jesus had to throw away the money changers from the Temple, He will end up judging so many who did things in His name. “Be gone, for I know you not.” Love always makes room for real truth.

  5. Not sure what “conservative” or “liberal” have to do with Christ…

    This institution is fatally flawed in its allegiance to worldly politics – and is focused on the things below rather than the things above.

    Of course – none of those condemning CRT have any idea of what it is – they are simply regurgitating standard fear-mongering religious agit-prop.

    1. Very much agreed Greg.
      It is both unfortunate and unsurprising to see another Christian institution bowing to the right wing fear mongering and hysteria of their supporters.

      Regardless of where you stand on the usefulness of CRT to the Christian, any academic institution that can conduct and accept a report concluding that Jemar Tisby is a CRT apologist has neither an understanding of CRT nor perhaps even the intellectual rigor necessary to honor the term “educational Institution”.

      The likely sad postscript is that in a year or so the populist herd will have moved past CRT to quake in fear of another self-created boogeyman, but GCC will still have this shameful episode on its record.

  6. “CRT — an academic and legal framework that examines how systemic racism has shaped society ”

    Well, it ain’t critical, it is not a theory, and it is not, finally, about ‘race’.

    Dr. Jefrey Breshears has some useful articles on it, including: https://www.theareopagus.org/blog/christian-view-of-race/

    Along with long studies of critical theory in general and CRT in particular.

    CRT is notable for rhetoric over properly done disinterested research. It promotes a cultural construction and a tendentious one at that, executed at the intellectual level of a journalistic piece, not a studied critical undertaking.

    Thomas Sowell’s recent work in cultural studies is a good counter to the factors (and no, they are not ‘Black’ or ‘African’) that drive the current cultural malaise that too many Americans have been seduced into.

  7. I’d be concerned if CRT could not be studied at a Christian college. It is part of the world today and needs a strong culturally critical light shone on it, particularly because it seems to want to lock some Black Americans into an underclass of low achievement and as a launching pad for an even worse political arrangement derived from Marx. It is, of course, all about power, not liberty.

    1. I’d be curious how this school handles the theory of evolution. Do they send their students out into the world with no more than “evolution is bad and that’s all you need to know?” Not much of an education in my opinion.

  8. My own sense, it vicarious as I am not American (so crucially ignorant of what all this means to Americans), is of the need for deep dialogue about the existential differences here in tension.
    On the one hand you have historically dominant American entities and forces (among them American Christianity), who have been involved in doing racism. On the other hand you have those who have been made subject to that racism, who now press for recognition of that racism and all its effects. The thing being that what saw the racism done, was something other than just the racism. The thing being that those and that made subject to that racism, are also subject to the human impulses and tendencies which see racism done.
    I can see the undeniable merit in the CRT thesis. I can also see the merit in the Christian thesis that argues that it offers something transcending both racism and CRT.
    We live in a world in which good liberation ideologies do morph to being instruments acting selfishly beyond ideas of equity and justice, while at the same time we are so often still so far short of equity and justice. Its complex, and the needed response to that complexity is deep dialogue. GCC is clearly wrong in how it is setting its institutional compass, but what is existentially driving its members to so act, is not so wrong.
    Grove needs those learned in CRT to continue to reach out to it. Those in Grove who understand that need to be doing all they can to bridge to CRT.

  9. Marin Heiskell

    If the church were this ademate about fighting against racism as it is in fighting against CRT (or anything slapped with the inconsistent labels of “woke” or “leftist”), we would be a real light in this world. Instead, we are stuck in a rut of saying the right things (“God created us all equally”, “God loves all of us”, “We are all created in His image”, “We should judge others by the content of their character not the color of their skin”) while sitting comfortably in our segregated congregations and communities, too afraid and too self-centered to be bothered with actually putting ACTION behind our words by getting outside of our buble and truly embracing, listening, and loving those who are of another race.
    BTW, Martin Luther King Jr. – the person who said “we should judge others not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character” – was labeled a leftist, Marxist and Communist too. I truly believe the church would dismiss him with the same labels today if he were still alive.
    Our Savior is weeping.

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