Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It Is Time to End the Critical Ethnic Studies Con Game

Dear Senator Seward:

I urge New York State to eliminate tax breaks and financial subsidies for colleges and universities that support involvement with the Boycott, Divestiture, and Sanctions movement.  Such support is already illegal under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code, which prohibits the use of tax-exempt money for political and ideological purposes.
Recently, a group called the Critical Ethnic Studies Association has issued a statement supporting the BDS movement.  I urge you to eliminate funding and tax exemption to higher education institutions that support faculty involvement with it. That includes the portion of faculty salaries allocated to writing papers and traveling to conferences.  Such expenses are not entitled to tax exemption or public support, and I resent that my tax dollars are being used for these purposes.
A perusal of the website of the Critical Ethnics Studies Association indicates that all it does is political and ideological.  There is no legitimate academic study called critical ethnic studies. Its website, at, indicates that it “aims to develop an approach to scholarship, institution building, and activism animated by the spirit of decolonial, antiracist, and other liberationist movements that enabled the creation of Ethnic Studies and which continues to inform its political and intellectual projects.”
Universities are supposed to engage in scientific and intellectual, but not political projects.   The Critical Ethnic Studies Association is a political advocacy group, and it openly says so.  Although the higher education institutions involved with the Critical Ethnic Studies Association are by law engaging in tax fraud, a separate bill is necessary because the university sector is rife with such fraud—i.e., political advocacy masquerading as legitimate academic study.  The Department of Finance will need guidance as to how to begin to address it.
Among the New York higher education institutions that may engage in political advocacy by paying faculty to participate in the Critical Ethnic Studies Association are Barnard College, the College of Mount Saint Vincent, and SUNY Fredonia. It is time that this con game is ended.

Mitchell Langbert, Ph.D.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is right on!