Victory for Ethnic Studies: Gov. Newsom Signs AB 1460 Into Law.csudhbulletin August 20, 2020 2 Comments
CSUDH is among the 23 CSU campuses now requiring an ethnic studies course as a graduation requirement beginning with the freshman class of 2021-22. Photo by Iracema Navarro.
By Iracema Navarro, Politics Editor
A last-minute attempt by the California State University system to broaden an ethnic studies bill, which opponents said diluted the original purpose of such a requirement, ended Monday when Calif. Gov. signed AB 1460 into law.
The bill requires all CSU students beginning with the freshman class of 2021-22 to complete a three-unit course focused on one of four ethnic groups: Asian Americans, African Americans, Latina/o Americans and Native Americans.
The bill supersedes an alternative proposal championed by CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White and approved by the CSU Board of Trustees in late July. That bill would have broadened the requirement to include courses ranging from Jewish and LGBTQ studies to classes on social justice or social movements.
The CSU bill proposal was fiercely opposed by the ethnic studies community and allies, including many at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who argued that it diluted the original purpose of an ethnic studies requirement focusing on exposing students to the histories of four distinct groups that have endured marginalizing throughout most of the country’s history.
“Governor Newsom, by signing AB 1460, has demonstrated his understanding of the power of a true Ethnic Studies graduation requirement to change people’s lives and to change the racial trajectory this state and country are on,” California Faculty Association President Charles Toombs said in a statement Tuesday.
AB 1460 was introduced in Feb. 2019 by state legislator, Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, D-San Diego. It was passed by both houses of the California legislature in June.
According to the text of the bill:
“It is the intent of the Legislature that students of the California State University acquire the knowledge and skills that will help them comprehend the diversity and social justice history of the United States and of the society in which they live to enable them to contribute to that society as responsible and constructive citizens.”.
AB 1460 will be the first change in the CSU general education requirements in over 40 years, and is projected to cost an estimated $16 million in the hiring of new faculty to offer enough classes for CSU students to complete the requirement.