The LSA Curriculum Committee is planning to review the college’s Race and Ethnicity requirement during the next academic year. Currently, the Race and Ethnicity committee, a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee, is working on a plan to consider a framework for reviewing the requirement.

Angela Dillard, the LSA associate dean for undergraduate education, is spearheading the effort. According to Dillard, LSA Dean Andrew Martin has requested a plan to address the requirement no later than July 1.

The final proposal will need to gain the approval of the Curriculum Committee, which approves any changes to the college’s undergraduate curriculum, including concentration proposals, course listings and degree requirements.

LSA officials have been working on the requirement since last year. In October 2013, Public Policy senior Carly Manes, a former LSA representative in the Central Student Government assembly, met with University administrators and discussed reforms to the requirement.

Dillard made it clear that the LSA Executive Committee is not currently considering structural changes to the requirement.

“Recommendations to alter the requirement in whole or in part is one possible outcome of the review,” she said. “But speculation of this possibility is a little premature.”

Dillard plans to consult with LSA Student Government, Intergroup Relations, learning analytics specialists and others in the college.

“One of the things that we hope to do in the review process is to make sense of student feedback and opinion about the requirement,” Dillard said. “It’s really hard because LSA has a lot of students and you all don’t agree.”

She also stated she is keeping campus climate and student activism in mind while evaluating the requirement, citing Twitter campaigns like #BBUM and #BlackLivesMatter that have spurred conversation around race.

The #BBUM campaign, which stands for Being Black at the University of Michigan, was launched by the University’s Black Student Union in 2013 to share the experiences of Black students on campus. In a follow up to the Twitter campaign, BSU lobbied the University to meet a list of demands, including implementing a Race and Ethnicity requirement within all the University’s schools and colleges.

“I would never advocate doing the review despite these tensions but because of them,” Dillard said. “If we’re smart we’ll think with these tensions and concerns and protests and demands, all of which reflect similar tensions in our national and global history and in contemporary society.”

Dillard said Martin has held formal and informal conversations with students about the subject since January. Dillard plans to launch a public history project on the requirement with the Bentley Historical Library. The project would be open to the community, and involve undergraduates in the archival research.

She would also like to work with the LSA SG on a series of open forums and discussions based on their expressed interest in ensuring the inclusion of student voices and opinions.

Every year, one LSA SG executive sits on the Curriculum Committee.

LSA sophomore Rachel Liang is this semester’s LSA SG representative on the committee. Liang and LSA senior Rachel Rickles, last semester’s representative, have been the primary students involved with committee’s work on the requirement.

LSA senior Natasha Dabrowski, outgoing president of LSA SG, said the governing body is an integral part of the review process.

“LSA SG is currently playing a role in making sure that we can communicate with students on what the evaluation process and what the requirement will look like,” she said.

Last semester, Dabrowski and LSA senior Corey Walsh, LSA SG vice president, included a question at the end of the fall election ballot to gauge student opinions regarding the requirement.

The ballot question asked LSA students if current courses that satisfy the requirement should either remain unchanged, be redefined to include course options that discuss multiple social identities or include course options that primarily focus on any individual social identity.

With 478 votes, most voters wanted the requirement to be redefined to include course options that discuss multiple social identities. Additionally, 275 students voted the requirement should remain as it is now, and 168 voters wanted it to include course options that primarily focus on any individual social identity.

“A lot of students were talking about (the requirement) and we wanted to capture it a little,” Dabrowski said. “Now, the evaluation will be able to really capture student and faculty sentiment in a more concrete way.”

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