Butler University, a private school in Indianapolis, has responded to criticism of a “Trumpism & U.S. Democracy” course that was offered to students in order to “potentially engage” in “strategies for resistance” to President Donald Trump.
“Just as I support this course, I would support a course that is complimentary of the President,” Butler provost and vice president for academic affairs Kathryn Morris said in a letter posted to the school’s website. “Butler offers a variety of courses that tackle controversial topics. Like any University, Butler should — and does — promote an environment of critical inquiry and engagement on controversial and unpopular topics.”
Outrage about the class began as a version of the course description circulated on Twitter describing the President as a perpetuator of “sexism, white supremacy, xenophobia, nationalism, nativism and imperialism” began to bubble on conservative news outlets. Shortly before, former Indiana state Sen. Carlin Yoder, a Republican, tweeted a photo of the course description on Tuesday.
Morris said in her letter that students are not required “to participate in activism” should they enroll in the class, which will still be taught in the upcoming fall semester, but with an edited description that features toned down language.
“The professor has been very transparent about the goals of the course and has provided additional context that clarifies students in the class will not be required to participate in a particular form of activism,” Morris wrote. “They will be asked to engage with classic and contemporary readings, including a text by President Trump, and evaluate the rise of the President as a political and social phenomenon.”
Indiana is the home state of Vice President and former governor Mike Pence. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.