Trustees restructure critical American institutions requirement

In addition to the controversial decisions regarding executive pay and student fees that were leveled at the July Board of Trustees meeting, the Trustees also passed a smaller but no less important change to Administrative Code that governs the system.

Title 5 Section 40404 requires campuses to provide instruction in United States history (including California history and local government), the Constitution, and American Ideals; and it requires students to demonstrate competence in these areas through successful completion of courses or by passing a comprehensive examination in these fields.

That requirement was known to most faculty and students as the “American Institutions” general education requirement.

Under the new ruling CSU students will no longer be required to learn the knowledge to be effective citizens. Henceforth, it will be up to “appropriate campus authorities” on each of the 23 CSU campuses to decide whether or not to require American Institutions courses.

The change was pushed by system administrators under the guise that the requirement was burdensome on students enrolled in “high unit majors” (those that require more than 120 semester credits for graduation) like engineering and business programs.

Despite resolutions from Academic Senates up and down the state, as well as persuasive testimony from faculty who teach American Institutions courses, the Trustees moved quickly to approve the change without dissent.