Student perspectives on the pending ethnic studies requirement: Editor’s Overview

We believe the input of all campus perspectives, and especially the student voice, is crucial in the development of an ethnic studies requirement.

As quick background, in late September 2019 the statewide Academic Senate asked each campus to collect feedback and submit by November 1 a report that included as many sources of input as possible.  On the CSUF campus various groups were charged with collecting that feedback; since faculty and staff email lists exist all were sent a link to a campus survey on the issue.  Access to student lists is much more complicated, and students received no similar solicitation.  The ASI student leaders sought feedback via other means, most prominently focus groups advertised via social media.

It was evident at the October 31, 2019 Senate meeting that not all student perspectives had been heard, and even at that meeting the presentation of the ASI report was clearly rushed.  We hope this edition will allow student voices to be more fully discussed and more widely distributed.  There remains ample time for input prior to any final requirement becoming adopted.  Any student who feels they have something to add should contact the editors and we will gladly work with you.

As the articles make evident, there is considerable concern about the process.  Despite that, it is equally apparent that three substantive points enjoy widespread agreement.  First, all student voices – including those who participated in the focus groups and those who felt excluded – strongly support an ethnic studies requirement.  Second, they worry that the ethnic studies courses will be watered-down in a sea of curricular requirements.  Third, students see the ethnic studies faculty as engaging and as key links between students, the curriculum, and campus decisions.

It is our hope these articles round out our discussion and provide another avenue for students to express their viewpoints.

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