Emory approves new ‘race and ethnicity’ course requirement

This comes nearly 6 years after initial demands from Emory’s black student group.

Starting in Fall 2021, Emory University will mandate that all students take a required general education race and ethnicity course.

Beginning fall 2021, Emory University will require all general education students to take a racial and ethnicity course after years of demands from Emory’s black student group. 

Professor and President of Faculty Representatives, Elena Pesavento announced that the university will be implementing a “Race and Ethnicity Requirement” for students, with learning outcomes including “how racial and ethnic antagonisms and inequality develop historically.”

“After careful consideration over the past six years, and in ongoing consultation with faculty, students, and administrators, the Emory College Faculty Senate and the Working Group on the Undergraduate Curriculum concur that Emory University has a particular obligation and opportunity to focus a diversity requirement on the crucial role of race and ethnicity in shaping our institutions, and in furthering students’ understanding of current domestic and international political and social relations,” the announcement reads.

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This comes five years after “Black Students at Emory” demanded that the university create such a requirement because they were “still reeling at injustices made by the University and the lack of adequate action.” The letter demanded that the school take action to “understand and then appropriately address the mental stress incurred by Black Students at this institution on a daily basis.”

The same letter lamented that “The Bias Incident Reporting that Emory University has not been efficient because they have not thoroughly tended to the concerns of those who have used the reporting system,” adding “The microaggressions and macroaggressions that Black students experience which lead to our trauma should not be regarded for the sole purpose of data collection.”

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A working group was created to address the demands in 2017, with the goal of implementing the mandatory course requirement by 2018. Pesavento informed the community that the university’s decision to wait until Fall 2021 to implement the requirement was due to having a lack of governing staff, a recent hiring freeze, and the coronavirus pandemic. 

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