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All students within the State University of New York college system, which includes 64 campuses, will be required to complete a “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice” course to receive a diploma, the New York Post reported.
SUNY released new guidance requiring incoming freshmen to pass a course on racial equity. The “primary focus” of the DEISJ classes will be to teach about “diversity, identity, and social justice in the United States.”
In order to be considered a DEISJ-certified course, the class must “describe the historical and contemporary societal factors that shape the development of individual and group identity involving race, class, and gender; analyze the role that complex networks of social structures and systems play in the creation and perpetuation of the dynamics of power, privilege, oppression, and opportunity; and apply the principles of rights, access, equity, and autonomous participation to past, current, or future social justice action.”
SUNY’s new guidance, passed by the Board of Trustees in February 2021, recommends the DEISJ “content be housed in a single course” since students must complete the curriculum to graduate and receive a diploma. However, the school system notes that many college courses and programs will offer DEISJ-themed content.
“While DEISJ content will exist across many courses and programs, most campuses will need to make significant changes to existing curriculum to have courses that fulfill the DEISJ learning outcomes,” the SUNY guidance stated.
SUNY chancellor and former New York state education commissioner John King stated that he supported the guidance.
“Exposure to, and understanding of, diversity is essential to success in our modern society and economy. As a leader in preparing the future workforce and citizenry, SUNY is committed to embedding diversity into the foundation of all it does — from academics to campus life and everything in between,” King said.
“By recognizing and celebrating our diversity and fostering respectful dialogue and debate, SUNY provides students with the world-class education they deserve,” King added.
Critics pushed back against the “woke” curriculum, calling it a “dangerous” initiative.
Nicholas Giordano, a political science professor at SUNY’s Suffolk Community College, told the Post, “DEISJ is a cultural movement, not based on academics. Unfortunately, SUNY responded to the mob.”
New York Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar compared SUNY’s DEISJ courses to the critical race theory curriculum in public schools.
“This is a woke, left-wing agenda. It’s disturbing. It’s dangerous,” Kassar said. “They’re treating everybody as having prejudice. It’s like a socialist, communist state. It’s unbelievable. These ideas are best addressed at home.”
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.