Four University of Connecticut organizations launched a petition last month to implement an Anti-Racist general education plan.
UConn Collaborative Organizing, the Academic Committee of USG, UConn NAACP and the Honors 4 Diversity Program proposed a two-part plan that will require all UConn students to take Anti-Racist general education classes, Brittany Diaz, president of UConn Collaborative Organizing and sixth-semester political science and human rights major, said.
The goal of the petition is to raise awareness for the proposal and help it eventually become an academic policy, Diaz said.
“Systemic racism has always been present in our education system,” Diaz said. “Civil rights leaders, Black, Indigenous and people of color students and community members have been fighting for racial equity for decades. In response to the racial injustice and the worsening racial climate on campus, it is important for the university to actively work towards implementing anti-racism into our curriculum.”
The first part of the proposal is to create a mandatory first-year, one-credit Anti-Black Racism course, Diaz said.
“This course is beneficial to the greater community because anti-racist work is essential in all aspects of our lives,” she said.
The second part of the proposal calls for two general education courses to be added to the General Education Oversight Committee’s General Education plan, according to the Change.org petition home page. These classes would address how diversity, inclusion and social justice are linked to societal institutions in the United States. Diaz said students would have to take two three-credit courses to fulfill this new requirement.
“It is not enough for students to just take one class on anti-racism,” Diaz said. “I
it is important that students connect what they have learned from the Anti-Black racism class to other societal issues and areas as well.”
The four organizations are currently talking to UConn faculty and administrators about implementing the proposal.
“I believe this is a great start and I am hopeful that change will come out of this very soon,” she said.
The goal is to receive as many signatures on the petition as possible, Diaz said.
“Once we have reached a steady stopping point, we will gather the information and come together as a group, then discuss the next steps with administrators and/or the university senate,” Diza said.
Members of the UConn community can sign the petition by finding the link in the UConn Collaborative Organizing Instagram bio, @collaborativeorganizing, linktree.