Creation of new University Program discussed in Faculty-Trustee Committee
The implementation of a course requirement for the teaching of a course related to Women and Gender Studies was the focus of a presentation to the Faculty-Trustee committee today.
Philosophy and religion faculty member Andrew Blom said the proposal was put forward in November and is currently sitting in the general education committee to implement a new University Program requirement which would fall under the "4D" category.
The new University Program designation would require students to take a course relating to diversity, but "outside of the umbrella" of racial or ethnic diversity.
"We are a predominantly white institution. This is our identity," said Carlin Borsheim-Black, English language and literature faculty member and co-presenter. "We can, as part of our ID, can either ignore or respond to this (data) and provides transformational experience for all students on campus."
A study, done by sociology faculty member Mary Senter, was presented in which students were polled online as to how hostile or derogatory they felt both the on and off-campus community was towards students of color, LGBTQ students and women .
Quotes were read from student respondents, including one instance where a group of African-American students recounted having a group of white students yell racial slurs out their car at them as they passed by.
"If I knew what the (racial) climate was here at Central, I probably would have thought a little bit longer about coming (to CMU)," said one anonymous student response.
According to Senter's study, roughly 87 percent of students say they have heard negative or derogatory comments based on race said on campus by other students.
Michael Mamp, a human and environmental studies faculty, said he's formulated a new course for the fashion merchandising major tentatively called "queer fashion." His course would look at LGBTQ theory through the lens of fashion and would potentially fit into the 4D category.
"I've been waiting for the 4D (University Program) to go through (the general education committee) because I didn't want to send my course through curriculum because I didn't want to not know here to put my UP (in the course guide)," Mamp said. "I've reached my frustration limit and have contacted the chair (of the general education committee) a week and a half ago. I want to know why the committee is sitting on this proposal when they have support of (many people)."
Mamp said the additional diversity requirement is "just as important as other (University Programs)," and believed if the requirement was not pushed through the general education committee by the end of this year, it would not be reached until fall 2016.
"We could (potentially) lose two academic years where this isn't on the bulletin," he said.