LEWISTON — A group at Bates College is proposing that students be required to learn about issues of race, power and privilege to graduate.
It’s part of an ongoing effort to address student demands at the private, liberal arts college.
The recommendations come from a working group formed by the Dean of the Faculty earlier this year. Their report was obtained by the website “Campus Reform,” which is backed by the Leadership Institute, a self-described conservative watchdog to the nation’s higher education system.
“They’re trying to require all students to take two courses on colonialism, white supremacy, power and privilege,” Campus Reform spokeswoman Angela Morabito said.
The recommendation says students should be required to take an introductory and more advanced level course in their major. This requirement would “make students of color feel safer and it will make all of our students better equipped for the larger world.”
“The Leadership Institute, Campus Reform has reported there’s a requirement quite similar to this at Syracuse University and the University of Pittsburgh, albeit for just one class,” Morabito said.
The Bates College group found 22 of the 32 colleges and universities it looked at had somewhat similar requirements.
The students CBS13 spoke to are in favor of having some sort of degree requirement focusing on these issues.
“I think it could really broaden our horizons and I think it’s really important moving forward for students to have this conversation openly,” freshman Drew Williams said.
“I think it’s an important conversation to have and I think it should definitely be a requirement for all students,” sophomore Ava Petrin said.
A Bates College spokesperson confirmed that the faculty is considering the proposal. The college’s website says its Academic Affairs Council is creating a plan for faculty discussion beginning this fall.
CBS13 did contact staff and students who were part of the team looking at this issue, but those that responded declined to comment.