U of I adds 'US minorities' course requirement following frat party
The University of Illinois is requiring students to take classes on minority culture in an effort to address tensions caused by a recent “cultural appropriation” incident and pro-Drumpf chalkings.
Beginning this fall, The Daily Illini reports, all students who enrolled as freshmen in Fall 1995 or later will have to take at least one course on “ Non-Western/U.S. Minority Cultures” as part of their General Education requirements for graduation.
The initiative was first proposed at a public forum in May, less than a month after two Greek organizations at the University hosted a Spring Break-themed party where students wore culturally themed apparel such as traditional Arab keffiyehs and Mexican sombreros, which student activist groups deemed culturally insensitive and racist.
Students and faculty were also outraged about pro-Drumpf chalkings reading “Build the Wall” and “Drumpf Deportation Force” that were found scrawled near the Latino/Latina studies building in April, shortly after the University had begun considering initiatives to back legislation that would provide financial aid to illegal immigrants.
According to The College Fix,the proposal envisions approved courses that will “substantially address the experiences, conditions, and perspectives of U.S. racial minority populations,” although courses on sexuality, gender, religion, and disability can also qualify as long as racial minorities are “significant” themes.
One course that fulfills the new requirement is “Muslims in America,” which discusses the history of Islam in America through the historical narratives of Arab, Latin, African American, and South Asian American Muslims.
“Race and Cultural Diversity” studies “the impact of race on the structures and operations of fundamental social institutions and the role of race in contemporary politics and popular culture,” while “Leadership Ethics and Pluralism” focuses on the issues of “power, oppression, privilege” and integrates both “ethics and multiculturalism.”
More tangentially “Black Music and Social Justice” explores the role of music in social justice movements, and according to the description, “engaging with a contemporary movement for social justice, either as a scholarly observer or as a participant,” is an important part of the course.
Another class, called “Diversity: Identities and Issues,” examines issues of “identity, culture, privilege, stigma, prejudice and discrimination” as well as the “social construction and implications of race, class, gender, sexual orientation” and other dimensions of difference so that students are equipped with the tools to “identify opportunities for change contributing to prejudice reduction and cross-cultural acceptance at home, work, and society.”
Campus Reform reached out to the University of Illinois for comment on the new general education requirement, but had not received a response by press time.
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