Tag: Ethnic Studies

Federal Judge Strikes Down Arizona Law Banning Ethnic Studies as Unconstitutional

(LA Johnson/npr.org)

by Julie Depenbrock via npr.org

An Arizona law banning ethnic studies violated students’ constitutional rights, a federal judge said Tuesday. His ruling made clear that the state showed discriminatory intent when it essentially shut down a Mexican-American studies program at Tucson Unified School District. “Both enactment and enforcement were motivated by racial animus,” federal Judge A. Wallace Tashima said in the ruling.

With this news, a portion of the law, prohibiting classes designed for students of certain ethnic groups, has been struck down, but the federal judge has yet to issue a final judgment and redress for the violation.Despite this decade-long debate in Arizona, ethnic studies programs have grown in popularity throughout the country.

To read more, go to: Federal Judge Finds Racism Behind Arizona Law Banning Ethnic Studies : NPR Ed : NPR

UCLA Faculty Approves Diversity Class Requirement for Incoming Students in 2015

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The faculty of UCLA’s largest academic unit voted by a narrow margin to require future undergraduates to take a course on ethnic, cultural, religious or gender diversity. The move came after three previous efforts had failed.

Officials announced Friday that the faculty of the UCLA College of Letters and Science voted 332 to 303, with 24 blank ballots, to start the requirement for incoming freshmen in fall 2015 and new transfer students in 2017.

Two other faculty and administrative review panels still must approve the requirement before it can go into effect, but the recent college-wide vote was considered the most important step in a much-debated matter on the Westwood campus.

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block was a strong proponent of such diversity classes, saying they would help prepare students to live and work in a multi-cultural society. Most other UC campuses and the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture already require such courses. The College of Letters and Science enrolls about 85% of UCLA’s undergraduates.

Opponents said students were overburdened with other requirements, particularly in the sciences, and said the budget-strapped university could not afford extra classes. Additional questions were raised about whether these classes improve ethnic relations and whether they typically skew left politically.

Similar proposals were rejected by the faculty three times in the last two decades. In 2012, the measure lost 224-175 in a vote that attracted only about 30% of potential ballots. More than 46% of the college faculty cast the online ballots in the current weeklong vote after much lobbying and student activism, officials said.

In a statement released Friday, Block said he was pleased by the faculty approval.

“A diversity-related course requirement for UCLA College undergraduates is an important component of our commitment to expose students to beliefs and backgrounds other than their own,” he said.

The courses are expected to  be offered by many academic departments, ranging from sociology to statistics, and students will be required to choose one for an academic quarter.

M. Belinda Tucker, UCLA psychiatry and biobehavioral professor who was a co-chair of the diversity initiative, said the requirement will be more broadly defined than at some other campuses because it will include courses on international topics, not just U.S. issues.

She noted that the courses will not make it harder to graduate since students can devote one of their electives to it and fulfill it with courses that also meet other requirements for their major or degree.

“I think it’s going to benefit the students and benefit the campus as a whole,” Tucker said.

article by Larry Gordon via latimes.com

UCLA Faculty Approves Creation of African American Studies Department

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Members of the UCLA Academic Senate unanimously voted Thursday to establish an African-American studies department and dismantle the current interdepartmental program, despite financial concerns about the transition.  The Legislative Assembly, a committee of the Academic Senate, approved the creation of a department after it was officially proposed more than a year ago, said Jan Reiff, the chair of the Academic Senate. The university hopes to have the department fully established by the fall, Reiff added.

The Department of African American Studies will be able to offer more classes, recruit more faculty members, and provide more academic resources than the current interdepartmental program, according to a 434 page proposal that called for departmentalization.

“The goal is to hire faculty that have their academic homes in African American studies and have faculty fully committed to the development of the programs offered,” said Tyrone Howard, a professor in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA and the founder and director of the Black Male Institute.

He added that he thought the department was needed because a number of students felt that other ethnic studies programs that have their own department at UCLA were considered more important than the Afro-American studies program.  The César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies was established in 2005 and the department of Asian American Studies was established in 2004.

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