UC-Riverside considering mandatory gender studies course

The University of California, Riverside (UCR) may soon become one of the first universities in the country to implement a mandatory gender studies program on campus.

According to The Highlander, the faculty’s Academic Senate is currently considering the proposal, which would require all students to complete a gender studies course in order to graduate, replacing an existing humanities requirement.

The UCR student government endorsed the idea with a resolution in April, but the ultimate decision rests with the Academic Senate, where the Gender Studies Ad Hoc Committee is in the process of deciding whether to place it on the agenda for a vote.

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Summer Shafer, the student senator behind the proposal, told the Highlander that students will retain a degree of choice when it comes to their required classes, and will be able to select from a pool of more than 300 courses that range from “masculinity studies to Beyonce.”

Shafer also stressed that that the new requirement will "not increase" the the total number of hours required for graduation.

“Gender is always a part of our lives,” Shafer asserted. “A lot of people taking their humanities requirements don’t take the gender classes. We want to increase students’ awareness to gender issues and also to take some interesting and fun classes.”

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In fact, Shafer said the idea was actually developed with help from students in a gender studies class.

“I just kind of went into this class that I wasn’t [enrolled] in and worked with these students to make a proposal,” Shafer recounted. “It was a really long proposal, and a lot of research went into it. I really took into consideration different people’s opinions and ideas.”

Gender studies programs at other universities, however, have been criticized by conservative-leaning academics and organizations, who contend that such courses often tend to emphasize politically correct ideology rather than exploring ways of achieving equality while still recognizing the physical differences between males and females.

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