NEW YORK (TND) — The State University of New York (SUNY) college system has begun requiring incoming students to pass a “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice (DEISJ)” course before they can graduate.
The planned requirement took effect for new first-time students seeking a bachelor's degree and certain associates degrees this semester. The remaining degrees will see the course become a requirement next year.
The 64-campus-wide university system shared guidance regarding the criteria that needed to be met for a school's DEISJ requirement to be approved by the larger system.
For example, courses must "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" to meet the appropriate DEISJ criteria for approval.
The course must also, "describe the historical and contemporary societal factors that shape the development of individual and group identity involving race, class and gender," and "apply the principles of rights, access, equity, and autonomous participation to past, current, or future social justice action," according to the SUNY system's guidance regarding the new curriculum requirement.
This is nuts," Political Science Professor at SUNY’s Suffolk Community College Nicholas Giordano told The New York Post. "SUNY is one of the best university systems in the country. Why are they doing this?!"
Some critics likened the new requirement to the ongoing contentious debate involving "critical race theory," The Post added.
John King, the chancellor of SUNY, said in a statement that "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 continued in his statement. "By recognizing and celebrating our diversity and fostering respectful dialogue and debate, SUNY provides students with the world-class education they deserve."