Sunday, April 21

Vote for General Education diversity requirement further postponed


Correction: The original version of this article contained multiple errors. The Community and Conflict in the Modern World requirement will only be required for the College of Letters and Sciences. It will not replace any of the preexisting General Education requirements.

A vote to implement a new requirement to the College of Letters and Sciences that was approved by students last spring has been postponed until winter quarter.

Plans for the Faculty Executive Committee to vote on the Community and Conflict in the Modern World requirement were postponed today because of a need for clarification among voting members, including faculty members and two students. This is the second time the vote has been postponed.

The requirement will not replace one of the current General Education requirements. According to the current proposal, one of the six preexisting requirements in the Foundations of the Arts and Humanities or Foundations of Society and Culture categories will also have to fulfill the Community and Conflict in the Modern World requirement.

This change aims to open students to courses that are structured to help them understand people of different backgrounds and cultures.

Over the summer, a work group developed the details of the requirement, said Michael Meranze, chairman of the Faculty Executive Committee.

When the proposal was presented to the committee in October, new members who joined fall quarter had difficulty understanding it, he said. As a result, the vote was postponed.

Committee members disagreed over the form the requirement should take and the courses it should include, said Hana Khan, a member of Students for Diversity, who helped draft the initial proposal during winter quarter.

“There are a variety of conversations that are ongoing,” Meranze said. “There are questions of whether (general education) is the appropriate place to try to teach these issues, and we want to make sure that the requirement is crafted in a way that it provides the sort of educational experience we would like to provide.”

The item was once again postponed for today’s meeting because some members were unable to attend, Meranze said. He added that their absence would be counterproductive and unsuitable for the extended discussion the requirement merits.

The students who supported the proposal expected it to move through the committee this fall and on to a faculty-wide vote by spring quarter, said Raquel Saxe, academic affairs commissioner. But that now appears to be less likely.

Meranze said he did not necessarily expect a vote from the committee when he placed the item on the agenda for the meeting in October.

“(The item) was put on the agenda for the last meeting, and at that point it wasn’t clear to me whether people wanted to start a discussion or whether it was coming to a vote,” Meranze said. “I wanted to discuss it in more depth and clarify issues.”

Meranze emailed those involved with the process about the delay on Tuesday, assuring them the decision will be made when members have sufficiently understood the details of the proposal.

Megan Venanzi, one of the student representatives on the committee, said the vote will take place as soon as members are able to make an informed decision about the requirement.

“We’re going to try to get this to a vote as soon as possible,” she said. “We’re trying to pick up the pace on the voting process without making professors feel rushed, but we’re definitely speaking up.”

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.