Under a recently adopted policy, undergraduate students at California State University will be required to take an ethnic studies or social justice course to complete their degree. Approximately 430,000 undergraduate students enrolled in the California State University system will be impacted by the new policy.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, California State University will require students to take an ethnic studies or social justice course to complete their degree program. The new policy will permanently go into effect in 2023.
California State University, which boasts 23 campuses, claims that is it the “birthplace” of ethnic studies. Now, many universities and colleges around the nation offer four-year “ethnic studies” degree programs. Many of these programs feature tuition costs as high as a quarter of a million dollars.
Alison Wrynn, the associate vice chancellor for academic programs at Cal State, said that the new requirement will provide many students with a chance to learn more about themselves.
“For the system to stand up and say we’re going to make three units be ethnic studies and social justice is important,” Wrynn said. “Our students see themselves with multiple identities. … Our requirement is going to give them that opportunity to really see themselves in the curriculum.”
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond was one of the few board members that voted against the new requirement. Thurmond claimed that he did not fully understand “ethnic studies” as an academic discipline.
“I’m trying to hold with fidelity to what ethnic studies is and has been and what those who framed it and have been fighting for 52 years have asked for,” Thurmond said during the meeting.
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