Is UT-Austin The Most Socially Just University?

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

The University of Texas at Austin seems to think so. “For example, UT has a Social Justice Institute, a ‘central component’ of the UT Community Engagement Center within the 94-person Department of Diversity and Community Engagement, headed by Eric Tang, a former community organizer,” Mark Pulliam, a UT alum, writes in an essay distributed by the James C. Martin Center for Academic Renewal. “The Institute hosts monthly programs (the Social Justice Conversation Series) on selected readings related to social justice and diversity.”

“Topics have included ‘ableism, sexism, religious oppression, ageism, adultism, heterosexism, transgender oppression, racism and classism.’ For each session, cohort leaders ‘help the conversation flow from a social justice perspective.’ Sample discussion questions included, ‘What are some examples of how people and/or under-represented groups are invisible in oppressive systems? How might your own identities and or/privilege [sic] be informing how you view or interpret this article?’”

“The Institute’s website maintains a ‘social justice directory’ of faculty members ‘whose current research and teaching priorities intersect with social justice concerns, activist scholarship and/or community collaborations.’ The Institute also features profiles of ‘activist-scholars of the month’ from various UT departments, such as Karma Chavez from the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, whose scholarship ‘is primarily informed by queer of color theory and women of color feminism.’”

The English and Education Departments, you will probably not be surprised to learn, have their own social justice programs that look a lot like the Social Justice Institute.