Staff at the University of Tennessee College of Law in Knoxville are advertising for a new dean, and one of the five finalists uses his position in academia to promote Critical Race Theory (CRT).

University of Tennessee (UT) staff announced the five College of Law dean finalists this month.

One of them, Jonathan Cardi, co-edited a book titled Critical Race Realism. Amazon says the book builds on the field of CRT.

“Critical Race Realism offers a practical look at the way racial bias plays out at every level of the legal system, from witness identification and jury selection to prosecutorial behavior, defense decisions, and the way expert witnesses are regarded,” according to Amazon’s description.

Cardi currently teaches law at the North Carolina-based Wake Forest University School of Law. According to Cardi’s school profile, he specializes in tort law, the law of remedies, and the intersection of race and the law. described CRT as “a Marxist ideology that embraces the concept that all American institutions are systemically racist, with whites as oppressors and blacks as victims.”

Another finalist, Melanie B. Jacobs, teaches law at Michigan State University, according to that school’s website.

“Specifically, her scholarship advocates for legal recognition of non-traditional families and changes to the traditional establishment of parent-child relationships due to the increased use of assisted reproductive technologies,” Jacobs’ school profile said.

“Professor Jacobs has argued in favor of preserving nonbiological parental relationships to foster the best interests of children as well as recognizing more than two legal parents in certain circumstances.”

Jacobs’ current research and scholarship explores what she said is the link between procreative autonomy and intentional parenthood, according to her profile.

Procreative autonomy is defined as the right to decide to have or to not have children, as well as when and how to have them.

Jacobs, her profile went on to say, belongs to the Feminists Judgments Project. Hundreds of feminist law professors, according to the group’s website, collaborate to “reimagine and rewrite key judicial decisions from a feminist perspective.”

The remaining three finalists, Zachary A. Kramer, Lonnie T. Brown, and Nicola Boothe teach law, respectively, at Arizona State University, the University of Georgia, and Boston University School of Law.

A UT staff member in that school’s communications office said a school representative would return The Tennessee Star’s request for comment about the finalists. Ultimately, no one replied before our stated deadline.

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Melanie Jacobs” by Michigan State University. Photo “Jonathan Cardi” by Wake Forest University. Background Photo “University of Tennessee Law School” by Utknoxlaw. CC BY-SA 3.0.