November 6, 2020
We write to you as members of the California State University Council on Ethnic Studies (CSUCES) first to express our appreciation for your support in the passage of AB1460, which requires an Ethnic Studies CSU graduation requirement. Owing to the leadership of Assemblymember Dr. Weber, and the advocacy of many others like yourselves, we achieved a historic civil rights victory and a major advance in the fifty-year history of the discipline of Ethnic Studies.
However, Chancellor White is trying to stop the Ethnic Studies requirement and circumvent the law. We are concerned that as we move towards implementation, the CSU Chancellor’s Office is moving away from the spirit and letter of the law, which reaffirms the long-established history of faculty control over curricular matters.
Fourteen of twenty-three CSU campuses have passed resolutions (and six more are pending) in their respective academic Senates opposing Chancellor White’s attempt at evading AB 1460, out of concern for and desire to adhere to the spirit and letter of the law. CSU campuses have also opposed the Chancellor’s Office attempt to circumvent AB 1460 through a top-down imposition that ignores faculty control over curriculum. Chancellor White aims to weaken the efforts that you have successfully undertaken to affirm access to an inclusive and culturally literate education that makes CSU graduates better prepared to enter a diverse workforce. Moreover, we oppose such imposition as it is a one-size-fits-all solution to the implementation of AB 1460. Instead, we demand respect for campus autonomy as faculty experts who are most adept to implement the law with respect to providing students flexibility to meet the requirement and their career aspirations in a timely manner.
The Chancellor is attempting to undermine the AB 1460 graduation requirement for CSU students. The Chancellor’s Office has insisted on implementing AB 1460 as a lower division general education requirement that would mostly be completed at community colleges. To do so effectively means transfer students would not be required to take the Ethnic Studies requirement at an upper division level nor at a CSU. Many of our campuses have up to 60% transfer populations. In those cases, AB 1460 would not be applied for 60% of our student populations but would instead be implemented through the community college system. This also violates both the letter and spirit of the law.
Based on the above, we again solicit your support and ask that you contact Chancellor White at (562) 951-4000 and/or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to encourage him to respect faculty governance, academic freedom, and campus autonomy on curricular matters.
Concerned Faculty of the Council on Ethnic Studies