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Faculty Executive Committee approves diversity requirement proposal

By amanda schallert

May 30, 2014 8:53 pm

This article was updated on June 1 at 2:50 p.m. The original version of this article contained an error and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.

A governing faculty committee voted unanimously Friday to approve a proposal for a new diversity requirement.

The vote was the first of a series of formal reviews the proposal must pass for the university to implement it. At the College of Letters and Science Faculty Executive Committee’s meeting on Friday, faculty members approved the proposal under the condition that some smaller changes would be made to its wording, said Christina Palmer, the chair of the College Faculty Executive Committee and a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.

Though the wording of the proposal has not been finalized, it is set to create a requirement that would have students in the College take one course that is a minimum of four units at UCLA to fulfill, she said.

Students would choose the course from a number of options. It could be from any department or college and may fulfill other university requirements, such as general education or major requirements, at the same time.

Palmer said the College’s Diversity Initiative Committee, which drafted the proposal with the help of students and other faculty, made the requirement so it would not increase the time it takes students to obtain their degrees or the number of units each student has to take.

“The committee really endorsed the idea of having a curriculum available throughout the campus,” she said.

Over the summer, Palmer said she plans for an ad hoc committee to review existing courses at UCLA and evaluate which classes would fulfill the diversity requirement. The committee would also examine additional resources for faculty to develop new courses or adjust existing classes to fit the requirement.

Jazz Kiang, a member of the student advisory board who helped develop the proposal, said he hopes students continue to have a voice in all parts of the proposal development process.

“We’re at the point where we have so much momentum, and I think it’s important that student input remains powerful throughout the process,” said Kiang, a second-year Asian American studies student.

College of Letters and Science faculty members are expected to vote on the proposal in the fall. The College faculty have voted down diversity-related requirement proposals twice before, once in 2012 and once in 2004. The university also attempted to establish a diversity-related requirement back in 1987.

If the new proposal passes reviews at each step in the approval process, Palmer said the College’s Diversity Initiative Committee hopes for it take effect in fall 2015.

The final draft of the new proposal is set to be released soon.

Compiled by Amanda Schallert, Bruin senior staff.

Correction: Palmer is a professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences.

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