The Martin Center has often reported on the damage being done in colleges and universities under the guise of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Now, another organization, Color Us United (CUU), is doing the same for the UNC School of Medicine (UNCSM).
On January 25th, Kenny Xu, President of CUU, announced his campaign to “rid UNC Medical School of its DEI programs.” CUU is an organization that is working to end divisive narratives in America and, as their website states, advocate instead for a “race-blind America.”
Xu framed the problem compellingly in a recent phone call with the Martin Center:
CUU has identified a unique danger in healthcare right now, which is the lowering of standards to accommodate DEI accreditors. And the American Association for Medical Colleges is leading this. Medical schools across the nation, like UNC [School of Medicine], are complying. In fact, UNC Health has complied with 82 of the 89 DEI initiatives [put forth by the AAMC]. This includes things like teaching doctors about intersectionality, how racism is the cause of health disparities, and preferentially admitting lower-qualified doctors who happen to be black or Latino. These are all dangerous to healthcare because North Carolinians and Americans don’t care what the race of their doctor is; they only care if they are the highest quality doctor they can possibly get. So we believe that this campaign will illuminate the life-threatening consequences of DEI in the medical industry and hopefully will change the minds of Dean Wesley Burks and his staff to renounce DEI from their university.
CUU’s campaign is pulling back the curtain and shedding light on how UNCSM is diluting the quality of doctors by replacing medical training with social-justice indoctrination. The petition states, “The doctor that treats you should be the most qualified doctor available to you, not the doctor that has received the most … social justice training.”
CUU specifically points to a task force created by UNCSM: the “Task Force to Integrate Social Justice into the Curriculum,” which was formed in October 2020 and updated in March 2022. John Sailer has previously written about this task force for the Martin Center:
As [its] title suggests, [the Task Force’s] purpose is to make social justice an omnipresent feature of the School of Medicine. It was charged with making recommendations regarding faculty development, curricula, and the general learning environment. The Task Force delivered its Final Report in October of 2020. The report lists and elaborates on 42 recommendations. These include requiring students to engage in political advocacy, integrating a list of social justice concepts into teaching, creating a mandatory social justice curriculum, and overhauling the school’s approach to assessment.
Elsewhere, Sailer writes that, after the details of the task force were publicized,
School of Medicine Dean Dr. Wesley Burks responded to the public pushback in a brief presentation to the UNC Board of Governors. Dr. Burks dismissed the criticism as “misleading” and “sensationalized,” noted that the recommendations were created to satisfy accreditation requirements, and revealed that the School of Medicine was revisiting the report to “make sure it reflects the current status of our work in these areas.”
As is often the case with DEI initiatives, UNCSM is integrating social justice into the curriculum and requiring controversial topics of study. CUU shares some of these politicized topics:
• Unconscious Bias Awareness;
• Understanding and Responding to Microaggressions [how to claim constructive criticism is racist];
• Understanding how to view and treat patients based on their race [how to ignore behaviors that may be causing the patient’s illness];
• Understanding that America’s medical system is structurally racist [how doctors should spend time as social justice warriors rather than treating patients].
Ultimately, CUU gives a call to action: North Carolinians need to make their concerns heard. CUU has created a petition to combat the integration of social-justice narratives into the UNC Medical School. The petition urges UNC Dean Wesley Burks to put an end to social-justice indoctrination. CUU encourages people who are concerned by this turn of events to demand transparency within the UNC Medical System.
As Xu argues, DEI infiltration into medical schools is alarming at best and could be life-threatening at worst. CUU has designed a campaign that gives people a voice and an opportunity to push back against this development at UNCSM.
Ashlynn Warta is the state reporter for the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.