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Education

2 Professors Sue Cal State Over Caste Non-Discrimination Policy

Two people walk on a tree-lined concrete plaza. A fountain with three water elements that have stems leading up to round tops are behind them, and in the background is a large blue pyramid.
Cal State Long Beach.
(Patrick T. Fallon
/
Getty Images via AFP)
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Topline:

The California State University's addition of caste to its non-discrimination policy has triggered a federal lawsuit by two faculty members who say it violates the Constitution by targeting Hindus and South Asians.

What's new: The professors — one at Cal State Long Beach, the other at Cal State San Diego — have filed a federal lawsuit against CSU for adding caste to its non-discrimination policy in January. Professors Sunil Kumar and Praveen Sinha argued in a statement that the policy change is unconstitutional and targets staff and students of South Asian and Hindu backgrounds.

The Hindu American Foundation, which is helping to represent the professors, said Cal State is incorrectly characterizing the caste system as a Hindu tenet. A spokesperson for the university system said its decision to name caste as a protected category “reflects the university’s commitment to inclusivity and respect.”

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The backstory: CSU's move to include caste as a protected category came after a years-long, multi-campus movement to bring attention to caste discrimination, which has been alleged at schools and workplaces in the U.S.