This post was updated on April 12 at 7:54 p.m.
UCLA faculty and students are working to organize diversity-related course curricula before fall quarter after universitywide faculty voted 916-487 to pass a diversity course requirement proposal last week.
The requirement calls for students in the College of Letters and Science to take a course about inequalities based on factors such as race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and religion. The requirement will apply to first-year students enrolling in fall 2015 and transfer students enrolling in fall 2017.
College faculty approved the measure in October, but a group of faculty members called for a new vote in which all faculty – including those in professional schools – could participate.
Efforts to establish a diversity requirement at UCLA started in the late 1980s, with several proposals failing to pass over the last decades. Previous proposals have been met with criticism about their effectiveness and the possibility that they could increase students’ time to graduate.
About 40 percent of Academic Senate members, which include professors and emeriti faculty, voted in the online ballot. In previous votes that did not include faculty in all divisions and schools at UCLA, about 46 percent of eligible faculty members voted in fall, about 30 percent voted in 2012 and about 20 percent voted in 2004.
Chancellor Gene Block, who has said he supports the creation of the diversity requirement, praised the vote in a statement.
“A diversity-focused course requirement has been a long-standing priority for me because of its clear value to our students, so I am very pleased with the campuswide faculty vote,” Block said.
With the passage of the diversity requirement at UCLA, all University of California campuses except UC Merced have some form of a diversity requirement.
The proposal requires the UCLA Academic Senate’s Undergraduate Council to approve a list of courses that meet the requirement this spring.
Allyson Bach, the Undergraduate Students Association Council Academic Affairs commissioner, said she and other campus leaders involved in creating the diversity requirement proposal plan to focus on ensuring that there are enough courses that fulfill the requirement available for incoming students this fall.
She added that she may help form a focus group among students to help reach out to students and see what types of courses, such as additional science courses, they want offered as part of the requirement in coming years.
The chancellor’s office has said it will cover the costs of the requirement’s implementation in coming years, though the specifics of the funding are not yet set.
The next Academic Senate meeting is on Thursday.
Compiled by Jeong Park, Bruin senior staff. Contributing reports by Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.