Tulane Requires Classes On Racial Diversity For New Students


NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Tulane University is requiring that all new students study racial diversity in what is the first change to the school's undergraduate curriculum in a dozen years.

Students will also have to take another class on global perspectives. The New Orleans Advocate reports the school announced the requirement on Wednesday after several incidents in which minority students complained of harassment by white students.

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Both classes will be required for new students to graduate, and students will have to complete the coursework by the end of their sophomore year.

Students will be allowed to pick from more than 50 courses Tulane already offers as well as several others it plans to offer to meet the new requirement. One course must focus at least 60 percent of its content on diversity or inclusion in the U.S. and the other course must allocate the same amount of content on "historical, cultural and societal knowledge" of an area outside of the U.S.

After a 2015 incident in which some students posted racist comments on an anonymous social media app, the university's President Mike Fitts convened a commission on race and university values. It was the commission that recommended the curriculum changes.

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In 2016, some members of the Kappa Alpha fraternity built a wall of sandbags around the fraternity's house and painted the words, "Make America Great Again" and "Trump," which offended some groups on campus.

The commission has also made a number of other recommendations since it was created, including recruiting more professors and staff members of color and creating new rules for reporting discrimination.

Rebecca Mark, a commission member, English professor and director of the school's Center for Academic Equity, said the new requirements are "one of the most positive changes to occur at Tulane in the past 20 years."

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"Now, every student will have to think about issues of privilege, equity, social justice and inclusion," she said.

The last time the school made changes to its core curriculum was in 2006 after Hurricane Katrina; at that time the university instituted a public-service project requirement in New Orleans.

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