Breadth Requirements to Change

On May 6, the Committee on Educational Policy met to discuss the restructuring of the undergraduate multicultural and international breadth requirements.

Rumor began circulating early in the week on Facebook that the committee was planning on eliminating the two categories entirely. However, under the proposal, categories VII and VIII would not be eliminated, but diminished. Students would be required to take courses in the two categories that only also met the breadth requirements for categories II, III or IV.

“There are 17 classes which now meet the multicultural or international issues requirements but don’t also satisfy requirement 2, 3 and 4,” read a message sent out on Facebook. The 17 classes include courses from both the Humanities and Social Sciences.

The May 6 meeting convened with little publicity, causing concern amongst faculty and students.

“We were offended that the meeting was kept so clandestine,” said fourth-year criminology, law and society major Krithika Santhanam. “This should have been a public meeting, and the fact that it wasn’t sent a specific message.”

Santhanam, along with graduate student Fabio Chee and Comparative Literature Professor Rei Terada, were allowed to attend the meeting as a compromise for the thirty students who showed up in protest at Aldrich Hall.

“We went in, sat down and reiterated what we felt about [the proposal]. They heard what we had to say and they didn’t reply,” Santhanam said. Instead, Santhanam said they were reassured that categories VII and VIII weren’t the only requirements affected.

Santhanam called this a “persistent denial” from what the diminishing of categories VII and VIII would really mean.

In a letter to the Humanities representatives on the committee, Professor Terada stated that “subsuming Multicultural and International requirements into categories II, III and IV…would imply that Multicultural and International education is incidental to other requirements.”

“At the end of the day, decisions are being made for students who will be paying money,” Santhanam said.

Calls to the Academic Senate Chair were not returned.

Although no voting took place at the May 6 meeting, Santhanam said the fight isn’t over. Future student actions are aimed towards raising awareness about the proposal and finding ways to urge voters to say “no.”

“We want to prolong the process and hopefully stop the vote on this entirely,” Santhanam said.