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Cal State Ethnic Studies Proposal One Step Closer To Reality

Langsdorf Hall at Cal State Fullerton. The university does not plan to require students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 before returning in the fall. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)
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The California State University moved one step closer today to creating an ethnic studies requirement for undergraduate students in the 23-campus system.

The CSU trustees’ committee on educational policy voted 10-2 to approve the Ethnic Studies and Social Justice requirement, setting up a likely approval on Wednesday by the 17-member board.

The proposed requirement is six years in the making, and all involved agree that current upheavals over police brutality and racism against African Americans and Latinos make steps to increase racial and ethnic understanding that much more important.

The rule would allow campuses to give various departments say over course content, as well as the ability to design a menu of classes. That would give students a choice, said CSU Chancellor Tim White.

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“And some [students] will choose an ethnic studies course. And others may choose a Jewish studies course or an LGBTQ course because they wanted to learn how individuals in that community have been oppressed,” he said.

The CSU plan has a competitor, in the form of a bill in the state legislature, AB 1460, which also would create a requirement for an ethnic studies class. The difference is that the bill, sponsored by Assemblymember Shirley Weber (D-San Diego), would give ethnic studies scholars control over what’s taught.

The Senate has passed a slightly different version of the bill, and the Assembly is expected to follow suit next week, sending the measure on to Gov. Newsom. If he signs it into law, it will supersede the CSU requirement.


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