March 17, 2018

Trump names another task traitor

Mondoweiss  -Any day now, the Senate will consider President Trump’s nominee for Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, Kenneth Marcus. This is a vote that could have widespread and lasting consequences for the safety and rights of students and faculty across the country, in particular those of people of color, women, and LGBTQ students.

Marcus has long opposed affirmative action, which seeks to correct past and present-day exclusion of Black students, as “racial prejudice” against white students. For Marcus, the fact that Black students are underrepresented at elite universities isn’t due to the legacy and persistence of racism, but the “cultural dysfunction” of Black families. This offensive racial stereotyping is not only factually incorrect but also downright offensive to the millions of Black students who excel in the sciences, art, business, law, etc. in schools across the country. Marcus cannot be entrusted with protecting the civil rights of students of color when he neither understands systemic racism nor respects people of color.

LGBTQ students and faculty can expect a similarly hostile response if they seek to challenge campus homophobia. When Marcus previously served at OCR as Assistant Secretary during the Bush Administration, he argued that universities that tried to address harassment of LGBTQ students were guilty of “religious discrimination.” Many LGBTQ students find it difficult to succeed in the face of harassment and other forms of discrimination on campus, but Marcus isn’t likely to be their ally. As Staff Director of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR), he opposed investigating violations of the rights of LGBTQ persons. This record is particularly concerning in light of the Department’s hostile actions to date toward LGBTQ students under President Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.


No comments: