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Over 370 faculty members and a few dozen others have signed a letter supporting “antiracist faculty” at Pennsylvania State University and criticizing the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR) and a lawsuit it’s supporting.

“Educational institutions nationwide are facing attacks from reactionaries who claim that curricula, programs and initiatives aimed at promoting inclusivity and equity are racist and divisive,” the letter states.

“Today, Penn State University is but one such target of this effort, led and funded by a powerful entity whose mission is to end antiracist programs in higher education,” the letter says before specifically criticizing FAIR. “Their latest polemic masquerading as a lawsuit accuses antiracist Penn State faculty, staff and administrators of suppressing freedom of speech and engaging in discriminatory behavior.”

The lawsuit was filed last month by Zack K. DePiero, who resigned from his position as a non-tenure-track assistant teaching professor of English and composition at Penn State at Abington. He’s alleging discrimination against white people, and FAIR is publicizing and helping fund the suit.

“We are disappointed to see the falsehoods portrayed in this letter, but we admire the Penn State values that it cites,” Leigh Ann O’Neill, FAIR’s legal advocacy managing director, said Monday. “The one on respect rings especially relevant here; it says, ‘we respect and honor the dignity of each person, embrace civil discourse and foster a diverse and inclusive community.’ At FAIR, we always seek to create environments where differences are not only tolerated, but embraced.”

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