Sunday, July 21

Ethnic category for Southwest Asian and North African students to debut in 2013-2014 UC undergraduate application

The University of California has approved a proposal to add a checkbox on its application that will allow students to identify as “Southwest Asian/North African.”

In the past, students with Southwest Asian, Middle Eastern or North African origins were often grouped in the more general “White/Caucasian” category.

The proposal, known as SWANA, stands for Southwest Asian and North African. SWANA emerged last year as a resolution at UC Berkeley, then made its rounds this year across the school system. UC San Diego, UC Irvine, UC Davis and UCLA passed the resolution in their respective student governments and sent the proposal to the UC for review.

UC spokeswoman Brooke Converse said in an email that the new category will be listed on the UC undergraduate admissions application starting with the 2013-14 admissions cycle.

New applicants will be able to choose between 32 new subcategories, including Circassian, Iranian, Israeli, Lebanese, Turkish and Azerbaijani.

“The University of California will become one of the few higher education institutions in the country to collect and report data on the Middle Eastern and North African community,” stated a press release from the SWANA Campaign Committee. 

The inclusion of the subcategories will improve data reporting on the UC community at large, as well as communities that have historically been overlooked in terms of data collection, the press release stated.

Compiled by Katherine Hafner, Bruin senior staff.

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