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Aug 02 2016
by Jenna Ciccotelli

'Green Lives Matter' Course At UW Green Bay Could Cause Controversy

By Jenna Ciccotelli - Aug 02 2016
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For some time now, slogans like “Black Lives Matter,” “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” have appeared everywhere. The latest take on the often hash-tagged phrase comes from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, where an environmentalism class will be known as “Green Lives Matter.”

According to Fox News, “the course at University of Wisconsin at Green Bay will encourage students to support the ‘environmental justice movement’ by ‘the merging of civil rights and environmental concerns.’”

The course’s name was chosen by Elizabeth Wheat, the university’s diversity director and course professor earlier this year. The “world landscape since that time has changed,” Scott Furlong, the dean of social sciences, told Fox News. Furlong said that the school plans to keep the course’s title, but will “remain open to adjustment” if students are offended. He acknowledged that the name plays on what has become, according to Fox News, "a loaded term."

"The name doesn’t come across as very sensitive to me due to the BLM movement and the controversy,” recent UWGB graduate Nathan Fiene told Fox News.

Fox News reported that the class is “taught mostly by instructors ‘of color, women, and blue collar sectors of society,’” and will fill a general education requirement for incoming freshmen. Topics covered in the course include “migrant farm worker pesticide exposure” and “urban environmental harms."

Chrissy Bartelme, former environmental affairs chair of the UWGB Student Government Association, defended the course title. “The class name should have no effect on what the students will learn," she told Fox News.

Furlong told Fox News that the university encourages faculty to have creative titles to accompany their mandatory freshman seminar courses. Other options include “Food Politics,” “The Science and History of Monsters” and “From Disney’s Pocahontas to the NFL: Stereotypes and the Realities of the First Nations People."

Lead Image Credit: University of Wisconsin at Green Bay via Facebook

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Jenna Ciccotelli - Northeastern University

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