Republican Sen. Marco Rubio condemned a University of Central Florida graduate program as neo-Marxist on Wednesday and said it should not be taught.
Rubio said the program is “teaching our young students how to hate America.”
As he understands the term, Rubio is not a fan of “social justice,” he made clear.
He lectured “Fox & Friends” viewers on what social justice really means to him.
“It’s a theory that says the following,” Rubio offered: “The world is divided up between oppressors and the oppressed. And that’s the story of America in their mind — oppressors and the oppressed. OK? The system, our system of economics, our government, our laws, our educational system, everything, traditional marriage, religion, it’s designed to benefit the oppressors at the expense of the oppressed. All the oppressors are bad; it doesn’t matter what you are or what you do individually. All the oppressed are good; it doesn’t matter what you do individually. And so the answer is that (the)whole system has to be torn down and replaced with something else.
“That’s what they call social justice. That’s the brand and the name they’ve created for it. But what it really is, is it’s neo-Marxism. What it really is, is cultural Marxism. It is another way to tear apart capitalism,” Rubio concluded.
Rubio blamed the faculty, saying, “the faculty in a lot of these universities, frankly, are filled with just nutty, crazy people who, now, you can’t even fire them unless they murder some people.”
And, he added, taxpayers wind up “subsidizing teaching our young students how to hate America.”
UCF suggesting that what UCF is offering is similar in concept to many of the themes in a summit the Florida Chamber Foundation is sponsoring Wednesday in Sarasota, called the “Prosperity and Economic Opportunity Solution Summit.”
Still, the university walked carefully in responding.
“We have tremendous respect for Sen. Rubio and his advocacy of higher education, and we agree the role of a university is to help prepare students for successful careers. This graduate certificate program does just that for students who are looking to advance their careers in public policy and help their communities. The program covers education, health, transportation and housing policy, which all are critical to the success of our communities and our state,” UCF offered in a statement.
Rubio’s office did not respond to a Florida Politics inquiry about how he might have familiarized himself with the UCF program; whether he has talked with anyone at UCF about it; or whether he has raised any concerns with anyone at UCF about it.
Democratic state Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, pursuing a doctorate in public affairs from the same college offering the graduate certificate, was more forceful in defending the program. And she belittled Rubio’s assessment.
“It’s so stupid. This is a joke,” she said.
Eskamani, an avowed social justice activist, also defended the professors behind the program, Staci Zavattaro and Luis Santiago, as highly respected in their field of public affairs.
“Dr. Zavattaro is one of the most renowned advocates in her field,” Eskamani said. “She is an academic professional.”
“Social justice promotes an equitable environment to ensure that every person has an equal opportunity to reach the American dream, something I know Rubio cares about,” Eskamani said. “So his comments on ‘Fox & Friends’ are clearly politically motivated and are dismissive to generations of civil rights advocates who have pushed for basic rights like the ability to vote. And so, politicizing something as important as equity within society is dangerous to all of us. And I think a son of immigrants would get that.”
Rubio told Doocy he does not think that universities should teach social justice.
Rubio explained that universities need to be teaching things like engineering, biology, science, math, other technological fields.
“I think we should be teaching people the skills they need to find a good-paying job and contribute to their community, their family, and their country in the 21st century.
“That’s why we have universities. That’s why we have college degrees. Not to train a generation of cultural Marxist activists. But to train people so they can go out and find jobs that are good for them, good for their families, and good for the country,” he continued.
In this case, the university uses taxpayers’ money to teach people to hate America, Rubio contended.
“Why we can do this, and why we should be subsidizing, why the American taxpayer, why Florida’s taxpayers, should be subsidizing teaching our young students how to hate America, how to hate everything about our history, how to divide and hate one another, how our identity is not American but the color of our skin, and why we should be spending taxpayers’ money to teach these things that are destructive, not to mention untrue, is beyond me,” Rubio added. “I don’t understand why this is happening and I hope it’s corrected.”