Faculty, Students Stage Ethnic Studies 'Teach-In'

Event Is Product of Cooperation Between Minority Students Alliance, Foundation

In an effort to raise student and faculty awareness about ethnic studies, Students for Diversity and Ethnic Studies (STUDIES) last night held a "teach-in" at the Freshman Union.

STUDIES is a new cooperative effort of the Minority Students Alliance (MSA) and the academic affairs committte of the Harvard Foundation. It continues past MSA efforts to push for a more diverse curriculum, said MSA Co-Chair Jean Tom '96.

This semester, MSA members have met with Harvard officials, including Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles.

They have also put up signs around campus to tell students about Harvard's lack of ethnic studies classes, Tom said.

At the teach-in, two speakers said Harvard should offer more courses in ethnic studies.

Native American Studies

Jeffrey Hamley, director of the Native American program at the Graduate School of Education, said the University needs more Native American studies classes.

As an example, he spoke about a shift in Native American attitudes toward education which students would not learn about without a course focused on Native American culture.

For Native Americans, "education has long been a tool of cultural genocide, a tool for assimilation," Hamley said. But now Native Americans have a more positive attitude toward schooling, he said.

Hamley, who teaches a seminar course on Native Americans at the Ed School, said a wide range of students from different parts of the University come to take his course.

Although he said he would support the creation of an ethnic studies department, Hamley added, "we'll never have a Native American Studies department here because we don't have enough Native American faculty to teach these courses."

A similar complaint was voiced by Christina Gomez, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the sociology department.

"I am the only Latina in my department," said Gomez, a tutor at Mather House and a former teaching fellow.

"I am in favor of having a more diverse faculty and Harvard but that will be hard," said Gomez, citing the limited number of minority professors who specialize in Native American or Asian-American studies.

Gomez said students should try to integrate more study of ethnic groups into classes which already exist at Harvard.

Berkeley as Model

The teach-in started with a film about University of California at Berkeley's ethnic studies program.

Organizers said Berkeley could provide a model for a future program at Harvard.