UCLA Crafting Proposal for Required Course on Diversity for Majority of Student BodyBy Russell Westerholm, UniversityHerald Reporter
The University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) may be close to requiring 85 percent of its student body to take a course on diversity issues.
According to USA Today, UCLA is crafting a proposal to require students in the College of Letters and Sciences to take a diversity course in order to receive a degree. The course's content is expected to take on issues like race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, language, nationality, citizenship status and place of origin.
Minoring in African American studies, Janay Williams, a rising senior biology major, said science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) students typically do not experience much diversity.
"What we really want to do is to promote knowledge with this," she told USA Today. "That's our ultimate goal.
"I go to my biology class, and all I'm learning about is white men."
According to UCLA's Undergraduate Admissions Office, 34.8 percent of the student body was Asian or Pacific Islanders in 2013, 27.8 percent was white, 18 percent was Hispanic and 3.8 percent was black. The school also admitted a similar percentage of ethnicities in their 2014 freshman class.
"While well-intended, we worry that UCLA's proposal may force a political agenda on UCLA students rather than lead students to engage in true dialogue about the variety of cultures on campus," California College Republican Chairman Shawn Lewis told USA Today.
The UCLA Bruin Republicans also voiced their opposition to the proposed, first introduced in 2012, diversity course and the group's chairman Ryan Jones said such a requirement would be "unnecessary."
"While we value diversity, we do not believe the new diversity requirement is the most proactive way to strengthen our campus's understanding and awareness of U.S. and world culture," he told USA Today. "Simply adding an additional class is an unwarranted bureaucratic approach to an issue that has been at the forefront of the UCLA community for far too long.
"One of the simplest things to do could be to expand free speech zones on campus, hold cultural awareness fairs, or other information events that are appealing to the UCLA student body."