The staffs editorial urging greater study of ethnicity for the purpose of eradicating the discrimination faced by minorities in our society is noble in its aim but flawed in its conception of how to achieve that goal.
Making ethnic studies a department is the only way to ensure that the University will tenure professors who are interested in teaching ethnic studies. Merely tenuring professors in disciplines like government, history and sociology will not ensure that those professors teach courses relating to the study of ethnicity in America.
Dean of the Faculty Jeremy R. Knowles says he will not tenure professors who specialize in the study of ethnicity because there is little demand for such courses.
But we wonder how Knowles determines that demand. About 200 people attended a panel debating the merits of ethnic studies on April 10, and more than 100 people rallied in favor of ethnic studies outside University Hall a week later, showing that many students do want courses in ethnic studies. Will Knowles wait until students go on hunger strikes and hold sit-ins in his office before acknowledging that there is a demand for courses on ethnicity?
Finally, in distinguishing between concentrations in Afro-American and Women's Studies but not ethnic studies, the staff draws an arbitrary and hollow line. Hispanic-Americans and Native Americans have also faced extreme discrimination in our society, discrimination that seems to be ignored by the staff in its classifications.
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