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EDITORIAL: New UP requirement fits CMU's core values, will not make it longer for students to graduate

At its April 4 meeting, the Academic Senate voted to add a new University Program category requiring students to take a course in non-race based discrimination.

This course requirement will benefit students and the entire Central Michigan University community by creating a more inclusive campus — one of the university's core values.

The new category, subgroup IV-D, will require students starting in 2019 to take a class focused on discrimination issues regarding gender, sex, identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, religion or disability.

This change will not extend the time it takes for students to graduate — a major concern for many senators who earlier opposed the proposal.

It does not add additional general education credits to the curriculum. Instead, classes from the IV-D category will replace the UP-elective category.

Furthermore, if departments or colleges with high-credit bearing majors, like College of Business Administration and School of Engineering and Technology, believe these classes will prolong their students' time to graduate, that department or college can apply for an exemption from the General Education Committee.  

However, we think departments and colleges that apply for an exemption would be putting students at a disadvantage and not providing them all of the skills needed to succeed. 

We commend the Academic Senate for passing this proposal.

It shows A-Senate is committed to improving the CMU experience for all students who come to this campus. It's a show of support for marginalized groups. It shows their struggles are valid and the CMU community is committed to teaching about those struggles and how to solve them.

While adding this new requirement won't end discrimination, we think it is a step in the right direction on our campus.

As an institution of higher education, it's vital CMU prioritizes offering courses that will better equip students with understanding issues our society faces.

Students will learn about the social struggles people face that aren't as often discussed as racial discrimination is — this could include discrimination against their mothers and sisters, their disabled family members, their gay or transgender classmates, their Muslim or Hindu neighbors.

Whether you're a science major or a philosophy major, these classes will help you excel in your field and in life. In an increasingly globalized world, being able to understand and communicate with diverse people is a critical skill needed to succeed in any career field.

If you don't see how important these courses are, you are probably someone who needs to take one.

It will benefit us all.

We could all use a little more understanding.