The Undergraduate Council voted in support of ethnic studies programs on campus and elected to extend the drop, pass/fail, and course withdrawal deadlines yesterday. These initiatives were the first step in fulfilling two promises made during the presidential campaigns.
The UC unanimously voted to adopt a policy paper recommending that more resources be dedicated to creating ethnic studies programs.
“This is a first step in stressing to the administration how incredibly important ethnic studies is to the student body,” said Andrea R. Flores ’10, UC president. The Ethnic Studies Policy Paper, approved yesterday, included recommendations for creating and expanding ethnic studies at Harvard.
“Ethnic studies is ultimately multidisciplinary,” said Quinnie Lin ’09, one of the co-sponsors of the act. “We are pushing for concentrations much like Social Studies.”
She cited the more than 450 student members of a Facebook group in support of ethnic studies as an example of student demand for the programs.
“We want to affirm the cultural diversity present on this campus,” Lin said.
Ethnic studies was part of Flores’ platform during her campaign.
“We need to push as an Undergraduate Council for those courses of all minority groups to be included in this curriculum,” Flores said.
The UC voting in favor of the legislation shows that “students really care about passing this,” said Athena M. Lao ’12, a co-sponsor who added that she would concentrate in an ethnic studies concentration if it existed today.
Council members who serve on the Committee on Education, including Sarah B. Honig ’10, will present both pieces of legislation at the committee’s next meeting.
“It’s always easier to [advocate to the administration] when we have a position paper in our hands as opposed to some vague advocacy stance,” said Student Relations Committee Chair Daniel V. Kroop ’10.
The drop and pass/fail deadlines are currently after the fourth week. The UC act recommends that the drop deadline be moved to the eighth Monday of the semester and the pass/fail deadline be moved to the eleventh week from the beginning of the semester. It also suggests that the course withdrawal deadline be extended from the seventh Monday to the fourteenth Monday of the semester. [SEE CORRECTION BELOW] Extension of the deadlines was part of Benjamin P. Schwartz’s ’10 campaign for the UC presidency, according to Honig. Although Schwartz—who co-sponsored the act—no longer serves on the UC, he was in attendance during the vote.
The UC also continued its discussion of the merits of the proposals made in the Dowling Report, specifically the coordination of appointments to the Student-Faculty Committees. The Student Affairs Committee selects students to serve in these positions.
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The April 6 news article "UC Supports Ethnic Studies" incorrectly stated that UC legislation called for the course withdrawal deadline to be extended from the seventh Monday to the fourteenth Monday of the semester. In fact, the legislation suggested it extended to the eleventh Monday.