CSU Trustees Approve Ethnic Studies and Social Justice General Education Requirement

The following was shared by the CSU Chancellor's Office: The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees voted today to approve an amendment to Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations. This amendment will modify the university’s General Education (GE) requirements to include a course addressing ethnic studies and social justice. This marks the first significant change to the university’s GE requirements in 40 years.

“Our goal is for CSU students, from every major and in every workplace, to be leaders in creating a more just and equitable society,” said CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White. “This action, by the CSU and for the CSU, lifts Ethnic Studies to a place of prominence in our curriculum, connects it with the voices and perspectives of other historically oppressed groups, and advances the field by applying the lens of social justice. It will empower our students to meet this moment in our nation’s history, giving them the knowledge, broad perspectives and skills needed to solve society’s most pressing problems. And it will further strengthen the value of a CSU degree.”

The one-course requirement will be implemented in the 2023-24 school year to allow time for faculty on 23 campuses to develop plans and coursework that best meet the unique needs of their students and communities. Grounded in the traditional Ethnic Studies discipline, comprised of African American, Asian American, Latinx and Native American studies, the requirement can be fulfilled through a broad spectrum of course offerings that address historical, current and emerging ethnic studies and social justice issues. The requirement advances a unique focus on the intersection and comparative study of race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, religion, immigration status, ability and/or age. CSU courses on Africana literature, Native Californian perspectives, police reform, disparities in public health and the economics of racism, to name just a few, would meet the new requirement.

The CSU has a long history of leadership in the field of Ethnic Studies, with San Francisco State University creating the nation’s first College of Ethnic Studies in 1969. Since then numerous departments of ethnic studies have flourished across the CSU offering hundreds of courses each semester.