CSUB praises CSU board vote making ethnic studies, social justice courses graduation requirements

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — California State University, Bakersfield President Lynnette Zelezny is praising the CSU Board of Trustee’s decision to make ethnic studies and social justice studies courses a requirement for graduation.

I am so proud that the CSU system is such a champion of diversity and social justice and has risen to meet this moment. As the largest public higher education system in the nation, the CSU continues to lead the way in transforming the lives of our students and helping them become leaders in our communities.

CSU Bakersfield President Lynnette Zelezny

President Zelezny and Dr. Vernon Harper, CSUB Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, said the Board of Trustee’s action is consistent with CSU Bakersfield’s ongoing commitment to inclusion and equity.  CSUB has included the creation of an Ethnic Studies Department and initiatives to improve retention and provide opportunities for students of color who are at particular risk for leaving before their degrees are completed.

As a Black educator, the issue of inclusion and equity is a personal one for me, and for our university. CSUB President Emeritus Horace Mitchell helped lead the CSU’s initial efforts in exploring the adoption of an ethnic studies requirement. Dr. Mitchell carried with him the hopes of all CSUB faculty and staff that one day the contributions of all Californians would be studied. My colleagues and I are incredibly moved that that day has arrived.CSUB strives to be a beacon to all members of our community, and our student population reflects the diversity of our region. We recognize that the nation is embracing a moment in the history of social justice and racial equity, and we are part of that. Our students want all voices to be heard, and we couldn’t agree more.

CSUB Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Vernon Harper

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