Students at California State University (CSU) may soon need to take ethnic studies before they can graduate.

The planned three-unit course aimed at expanding the students' awareness of ethnic and nonwhite racial groups.

The CSU, known for being the largest university system across the nation, has a long history in delivering ethnic studies curriculum.

According to an article published in EdSource, it noted that the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University has turned out to be the pioneer college of its kind in the U.S. upon its establishment in 1969.

A year before that, Cal State Los Angeles has developed "the first Chicano studies program" in the country.

Moving in Legislature

The bill that would require students of CSU to take the ethnic studies course was reportedly "moving forward in the Legislature" after the state Senate approved it on Thursday.

Chancellor Tim White is poised to bring his own proposal to the Board of Trustees next month.

His proposal would oblige the students to either take a class or course on ethnic studies, which had an element of social justice in it.

Labelled as AB 1460, the bill would require students graduating in school year 2024 to 2025 to take a three-unit class in one of the four ethnic studies disciplines, which include African American studies, Asian American studies, Latina and Latino studies, and Native American studies.

It was Assembly member Shirley Weber, who authored the bill that was passed by the Assembly in 2019.

The bill is now pending at the Assembly to approve minor revisions from the Senate before it heads to Governor Gavin Newsom, who can sign it into law.

Opposing the State Legislation

Reports said the proposal of White, created in consultation with the system's Academic Senate, would go to the Board of Trustees on July 21 for a vote.

White and the Academic Senate were opposing the state legislation.

They asserted that campuses need to have sovereignty in identifying which classes would satisfy the academic requirement. 

Compared to the bill of Legislature, a more extensive range of courses would fulfill the proposal of CSU.

Those courses will not only include classes in ethnic studies, but also classes in a broad range of other disciplines, such as arts and social sciences as well as humanities "as long as they have a social justice component."

More so, the courses could also focus on the subjects of sexuality, class, gender, immigration, and religion.

The issue of obliging students to study the racial groups and nonwhite's contributions has been long-standing in the state.

The most recent push is taking place in the middle of the nationwide anti racism protests that sparked from George Floyd's killing by Minneapolis cops. 

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