Bates College mandates 'Race, Power, Privilege and Colonialism' curriculum

After a lengthy debate, Bates College is will mandate that students fulfill a graduation requirement on race and privilege.

The requirement is set to begin in 2026 for the 2030 graduating class.

Earlier this month, faculty at Bates College in Maine voted in favor of a new “Race, Power, Privilege, and Colonialism” (RPPC) course requirement that students must complete in order to graduate.

According to the Bates College website, one of the courses must be United States-focused and will be designated as “RPPC US,” the other will target international affairs and will be designated “RPPC I.” 

Furthermore, to satisfy an amendment proposed at the hearing by Assistant Professor of Politics Lisa Gilson, students will have to take at least one of these courses as part of their major. 

The new requirement passed with 88 faculty members voting “yes,” 25 voting “no,” and seven abstaining from the vote, reports The Bates Student.

[RELATED: Va. high school AP Gov students prompted to affirm racial, socioeconomic, political stereotypes on test]  

The introduction of the new requirement, set to take effect in 2026 for the 2030 graduating class, concludes an extensive debate stretching back to student protests at the university in late 2020 when students demanded the adoption of a critical race theory (CRT) course. 

Following the protest, the Office of the Dean of the Faculty announced that during the 2021 winter semester, the faculty would “conduct an exploration of how all students could substantially engage race, racism, power, and privilege in the Bates curriculum.” 

The Bates Student published an update on the status of the coming CRT requirement in April of 2021. According to Bates College Student Government (BCSG) co-president Lebanos Mengistu, without the soon-to-be requirement in place, students could graduate college without ever “finding themselves” in places where discussions on race and privilege happen. 

Bates College saw another episode of the project’s reading and alterations in March of this year. 

[RELATED: Harvard hosts lecture promoting critical race theory] 

This all led up to the final reading and subsequent vote to put the proposal in place, which passed with a wide majority. 

Campus Reform has previously reported on similar instances where universities have required students to take courses relating to race, privilege, and critical race theory. 

The State University of New York System (SUNY), for example, introduced a new Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice (DEISJ) requirement that it will begin offering in fall 2023. 

In another case, University of Maryland (UMD) recently created an anti-black racism minor that it will begin offering during the fall 2023 semester. 

The minor is part of a larger project called the “Anti-Black Racism Initiative” made possible through grant funding. 

Campus Reform reached out to every university, organization, and individual mentioned. This article will be updated accordingly. 

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