College of Arts and Science approves diversity requirement

The vote for a diversity course requirement passed with 75 percent of support from faculty who voted.

In 1990, 200 students organized a town meeting at Jesse Auditorium to talk about racism on campus. The two-hour meeting mainly focused on multiculturalism and the requirement of every student to take a minimum of one multicultural class, according to a news release.

Over two decades later, this plan is coming to fruition.

According to the release, students in the College of Arts and Science are required to take three credit hours from diversity intensive courses or “DI,” a decision that was approved by 75 percent of the tenured and non-tenured faculty who voted on the measure. Fifty-two percent voted.

“It is important to note that this is not something that we whipped up in response to the events of last fall or the student protests,” said Elisa Glick, an associate professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies and Arts and Science Diversity Committee chairwoman, in the news release. “The proposal builds on decades of student activism and the work of previous diversity committees. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the work in particular of April Langley and Roger Worthington, whose campus-wide diversity proposal we drew from in crafting our proposal.”

The diversity intensive courses will follow the guidelines set forth by Faculty Council’s Diversity Enhancement Committee last November. The classes will understand differing social groups and explore at least one form of social inequality including class, race, age, ethnicity, disabilities, gender, sexuality, veterans, rural and urban communities, economic and/or resource disparities, indigenous culture, etc.

The College of Arts and Science is wanting this requirement to “serve as a model” for MU’s campus.

“This requirement won’t take care of that in any sort of comprehensive way, but I think it’s one step towards that, and our hope is that it’s a starting point — an introduction for students because diversity is not checking a box, diversity education is a process,” Glick said in the release. “We see this requirement as a starting point for students to develop a more nuanced and diverse educational experience.”

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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