CFER Urges San Diego State University to Restore Professor Corlett’s Right to Teach His Courses on Critical Thinking and Racism

For Immediate Release

March 30, 2022

SAN DIEGO, CA – March 30, 2022- On March 30, 2022, Frank Xu, president of Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER), sent an official letter to Dr. Adela de la Torre, president of San Diego State University (SDSU) to oppose the university’s unfair treatment of philosophy professor J. Angelo Corlett. In it, CFER also requests that the university administration apologize to Professor Corlett for sanctioning him and eroding his freedom of speech after Corlett discussed racial epithets and their use as a way to encourage critical thinking.

Referencing two earlier letters from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), CFER’s letter states: “Both letters call for Professor Corlett to be allowed immediately to resume teaching the courses from which he has been removed. CFER calls for the same and will strongly support any further actions FIRE and AFA decide to undertake.”

In February 2022, a few SDSDU students lodged a complaint against Professor Corlett who invoked racial slurs as examples of use-mention distinction in his “Critical Thinking and Composition” class. Professor Corlett also taught a class titled “Philosophy, Racism, and Justice.” Without any thorough investigation, SDSU abruptly removed Professor Corlett from two courses he had long taught. It has yet to rescind that decision, despite official requests from FIRE and AFA. Instead, President de la Torre acquiesces in SDSU Dean Monica Casper’s decision to reprimand Corlett, making light of Casper’s track record of promoting political intolerance.

It is unconscionable that SDSU turns its back on reasonable requests from multiple organizations and individuals to respect Professor Corlett’s academic freedom, freedom of speech and right to due process. The institution is giving in to illiberal and intolerant forces. CFER stands with FIRE, AFA and other likeminded groups in urging SDSU to apologize to Professor Corlett and to restore him to the two classes that were unjustly taken away.



Wenyuan Wu

(786) 393-8028

About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER): We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment.

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