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CFA Supports Implementation of True Ethnic Studies Requirement for All Students

CFA leaders are calling on Chancellor Timothy White and the CSU Chancellor’s Office to quit playing games with Ethnic Studies.

On September 10, CSU Executive Vice Chancellor Loren Blanchard issued a memo to campus presidents enumerating both processes and timelines for implementation of AB 1460 requirements.  CFA wants to emphasize that Blanchard’s memo includes constraints, processes, and a timeline that are not mandated by the law.  

“There is nothing in the law that would require placement of the ethnic studies course requirement in General Education.  There is nothing in the law that would require the ethnic studies course to be a lower division course,” wrote Charles Toombs, CFA President, and Steven Filling, CFA Political Action/Legislation Chair, in an email to Unit 3 members. “There is nothing in the law that would require the drastically accelerated timeline proposed by the memo.  There is nothing in the law that would require that ethnic studies courses meeting the learning outcomes requirements be offered in Fall 2021. There is nothing in the law that would require an immediate revision to EO 1100.”

The Academic Senate-California State University (ASCSU) has not yet met this year, so there has been no formal collaboration with ASCSU or its standing committees.  The CSU Ethnic Studies Council (also known as CSU ESC) announced the composition of its advisory group on September 14 so there can have been no meaningful collaboration with the ESC.  

CFA firmly believes that the Chancellor’s Office attempts via the Blanchard memo to set constraints, processes and timelines as givens are not aligned with what is in the law and are blatant attempts to minimize faculty control over curriculum.  

CFA has asked that our colleagues on ASCSU, on campus Senates, and in Ethnic Studies programs/departments stand up to this ill-considered attempt to marginalize genuine shared governance and to override faculty control of the curriculum. Additionally, CFA asked that all faculty consider contacting their campus ASCSU senators and their local Senate chair and ask that they decline to accede to the Blanchard memo’s directives.

Governor Newsom signed AB 1460 into law in July. The law requires that:

  • Effective 2024-2025 students graduating will have satisfied a requirement for a three-unit ethnic studies course;
  • The CSU will provide courses in ethnic studies at each of its campuses;
  • The CSU will collaborate with the CSU Ethnic Studies Council and the Academic Senate of the CSU to develop core competencies to be achieved by students who complete an ethnic studies course pursuant to the first bullet above;
  • The ESC and ASCSU will approve the core competencies before the end of the 2020-2021 academic year;
  • The ethnic studies course requirement will not increase the number of units required to graduate from the university;
  • The requirement will not apply to students who have completed an ethnic studies course or been awarded a bachelor’s degree at a postsecondary educational institution accredited by a regional accreditation agency.

CFA will continue to work with the CSU, the Academic Senate, and the Ethnic Studies Council to ensure a genuine and accurate Ethnic Studies requirement is implemented across all campuses and for all students.