Music theory seems to me to be synonymous with the study of music. I think people are virtue signaling and not thinking about this enough when they praise this change for broadening the scope of the music department. Sure, generally classical music is what we think of when we think of theory, and classical is very white/male. I agree that it would be best if someone could get a music education that isn't classical-focused. But, if you aren't studying theory, what are you studying? History and politics alone won't make you a good musician. It would be better if academics looked for a way to reconcile theory and other styles of music than emasculate their music department for the sake of immediate diversity
This sums up my thoughts on it. Music is so holistic that excluding music theory especially seems ridiculous to me.
Why bother studying music if you don't learn at least a little theory?
I study music (music technology) but I never studied music traditionally aside from the occasional guitar grade as a kid. There have been a few times when I'd really wished I understood traditional theory better, however I worked around it.
One thing I've noticed is that the students on my course who understand theory all seem to go about writing music in the same way and end up with a more commercial result, and the ones like myself who don't spend a lot of time fucking around until something cool comes out or something just doesn't.
Anyway, music is very broad and very subjective. Who's to say how you can really study and appreciate it?
I don't know what I'm getting at here.