University statement about racial literacy courses

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The VCU Board of Visitors voted Friday to not require that students take a racial literacy course as part of the General Education curriculum. 

The vote was 10-5, with the majority representing board appointees from three different gubernatorial administrations (Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Glenn Youngkin). There is clear history, dating back nearly 30 years, that the Board of Visitors approves strategic direction and vision for our curriculum. 

Central to the board's deliberations was a commitment to upholding academic freedom while empowering students with flexibility and autonomy in their educational journey. The discussion clearly expressed support for the racial literacy classes, and these courses are accessible to students who wish to explore them.

Said VCU BOV Rector Todd Haymore: “This is not about the content of our courses, only the graduation mandate. To our faculty, I thank you for developing these courses and hope you continue to do so. To our students, I hope you explore these courses and take the ones that interest you.”

Said VCU President Michael Rao: “As a faculty member myself, I support our faculty’s role and expertise in developing our curriculum. I strongly support and encourage racial literacy courses and am pleased they are available for students. Our country has a long way to go to achieve inclusion and these courses will be very helpful. As President, I also understand that our board has the ability to vote on a general education mandate that applies to all students.”