Ethnic Studies Requirement AB 1460: An outline of the process

Editor’s Note: The October 31, 2019 Academic Senate meeting was one step in a series of events that may culminate in an Ethnic Studies requirement.  It was clear from the meeting that much more discussion is necessary and many more voices need to be heard.  The point of this note is to outline the various steps in the process.

The California State legislature has proposed and suspended an ethnic studies graduation requirement for all CSU students (AB 1460). In late September 2019, the Academic Senate for CSU (statewide senate or ASCSU) asked 23 campuses for input no later than November 1, 2019. The CSUF Senate Executive Committee crafted a survey to “gather preliminary preferences from CSUF” to advise the ASCSU per their request. The data from the CSUF faculty survey was the presentation to Academic Senate on October 31. The purpose was to gather thoughts at this preliminary juncture.

The October 31 Academic Senate meeting discussed the survey results and adopted a resolution supporting a strong definition of ethnic studies and asserting a value to local, campus control of the curricula. The Senate received 4 reports and will forward them to the ASCSU. All these documents can be found on the Academic Senate website. Our senators on ASCSU will report to the state body as will the other 22 campuses.

ASCSU along with CSU Ethnic Studies Council will consider the input from all CSU campuses during its November 2019 and January 2020 Plenary Meetings and make recommendations concerning an ethnic studies requirement. Additionally, related students learning outcomes to the Chancellor’s office.

At this point the CSUF Academic Senate is not creating an ethnic studies requirement nor is it determining what a requirement would look like. It is doing a preliminary data gathering exercise to be part of the larger process that will be decided by the ASCSU working with the CSU Ethnic Studies Taskforce. That work will culminate in a resolution that will be proposed to the Chancellor’s Office.

Should the legislature pass AB 1460, it is anticipated that they will direct the Ethnic Studies Council to recommend curriculum changes to the Chancellor. At some point, it is likely that there will be an Executive Order that offers parameters, and at that point CSUF will adopt the requirement.  Per the resolution of October 31, it is the unanimous belief of the Academic Senate that the campus should have a large degree of control over the final requirement.

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