Students attending Texas A&M University may be required to complete an anti-racism course as part of the institution’s core curriculum.
TAMU Anti-Racism, a student-led organization, says that racism is deeply embedded within the university’s culture and history, and that mandating a class to help generate awareness could reduce discrimination on campus.
The organization, which supports “all minorities and oppressed groups…through an anti-racist lens,” formed in February following an incident involving a group of high school students who were subjected to “hate speech” while touring the university, reports Austin’s NPR affiliate, KUT.
TAMU Anti-Racism is pressuring school officials to adopt a “racism awareness class” that would become a new graduation requirement for all students. If implemented, the course would be categorized under the university’s International and Cultural Diversity (ICD) graduation requirement.
Courses currently offered under the ICD program include “Black Psychology,” “Gender in Asia,” “Media in the Middle East,” “Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Minority Experience,” and “Gay and Lesbian Literature.”
Texas A&M President Michael K. Young voiced support for the idea after meeting with the student-led group last spring; however, other school officials are not as enthusiastic.
Dr. Julie Harlin, co-chair of the Core Curriculum Committee said adding a required course could prove difficult.
“When we’re trying to serve as many students as we have on this campus, 45,000 undergraduates, trying to have one course requirement has all kinds of challenges that logistically we could not navigate,” Dr. Harlin noted.
Currently, there is no course that all students are required to complete at the university as curriculum varies according to departments and programs.
“It’s got to fit across all of the different colleges and it’s got to fit within the constructs of what the state says we have to do within a core curriculum,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Daniel Pugh. “And you can’t just add on another three hours or six hours–it’s got to fit within that degree number that’s there.”
The Core Curriculum Committee will instead propose a new requirement called “Cultural Discourse” that includes several course options.
TAMU Anti-Racism said it intends to keep the pressure on until the university takes action, and if necessary, will stage sit-ins, boycotts, and block hallways, preventing students from attending class.
One user wrote: “#RacismAtTAMUFeelsLike being told ‘this is America, speak English’ when I’m talking on the phone with my parents, in Spanish,” while another tweet read: “Being questioned constantly on how I got into this institution as if my intelligence isn’t a valid reason. #BeingAPoCAtTAMU.”
Julie Wilson is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow her on Twitter @JWills512.