The University of Wisconsin paid controversial academic and critical race theorist Ibram X. Kendi nearly $45,000 for a lecture in September and then, per a signed contract, removed any trace of the lecture from its internal server, according to public records.
The records were obtained by the Federalist, which found that Kendi, a professor of African American studies at Boston University, received an honorarium of $40,000 for a Sept. 21 “Evening with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi” at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
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The lecture was a ticketed event, with 400 free tickets given to students and another 130 tickets available for purchase, including 90 at a $12 visitor price and the rest at a $10 price tag for the “campus community.”
Kendi’s work, including his recent book How to Be an Antiracist, catapulted him to the center of the nationwide controversy on the instruction of critical race theory in schools. The theory posits that American institutions and culture are systemically racist and oppressive to racial minorities, especially black people.
The Federalist also obtained a copy of the contract that the university signed with Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau, which stipulated that the university could keep a recording of the lecture for up to 14 days.
The contract also detailed how the university could use the recording during the 14-day period, specifically saying that the recording had to be maintained on a password-protected internal website “made accessible only to The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee - Division of Student Affairs / Student Involvement attendees.”
After the 14-day period, the university had to remove the recording from its website and servers and had 30 days to deliver it to the speakers bureau’s offices.
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Several other CRT activists and speakers have employed similar policies on recording lectures, including White Fragility author Robin DiAngelo, who charged $12,000 for a zoom lecture at the Ohio State University, the Federalist reported.