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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Pursuing a racially-just curriculum: INT 151 is critical in creating more inclusive community


Inequality in American Society (INT 151), a first-year course that is geared primarily towards first-year students about matters related to race and equity, was first piloted last semester.

First-year students were told they were expected to register for the course during the spring and fall 2021 semesters, and the course yielded positive results in the development of students’ racial literacy and understanding of social inequalities.

A new mandate to make this course a permanent part of the curriculum is currently moving through university governance for approval. Approving this mandate ensuring that INT 151 becomes a part of the course load will prove to be a beneficial and much needed step in the right direction in creating a racially-just curriculum.

In recent years, there have been many racial bias incidents at St. Joe’s. Often, the source of these racist acts stems from ignorance. It is likely that many students have simply never learned about diversity and race, and they do not understand the hurt that their words or actions cause.

Our university is also a predominately white institution, making it prone to systemic injustices as well, like a predominantly white faculty and a curriculum that reflects majority-white perspectives. This structural racism, coupled with the consistent occurrences of direct racism in our campus community, makes it clear that education on these matters is needed.

The goal of this one credit course is to plant a seed within our first-year students. Now that they have a space to learn and ask questions, hopefully, they will be better educated citizens that have an understanding of the systemic racial and social injustices that exist in our society.

Students who were never previously exposed to diverse viewpoints and perspectives will hopefully leave the class with a better understanding of how implicit biases, microaggressions and other forms of discrimination affect people of color.

Without this class, students who are unfamiliar with discussing racism and inequality will lack the knowledge to challenge ignorant ideas and racist actions.

Instead of events like the university forum that responded to a racial bias incident in 2019, which are reactionary measures, this class is proactive and can prevent bias incidents from occurring in the first place.

As we move into the spring 2022 semester, the pilot period for INT 151 has now expired, and the course is now being treated like a normal course. It is no longer expected that first-year students register, the course is open for any student to register for, many sections are facing under enrollment and therefore, possible cancellations.

With this class no longer being a requirement, fewer students have registered for the course than planned for because it’s not something required for their course load. It’s now one less thing for first-year students to balance within their schedules.

In order for the benefits from this class to reach its full potential and impact, all students should be exposed to the course material and class discussions. It is imperative that our first-year students receive this education within their experiences at St. Joe’s.

The Hawk supports the passage of the INT 151 mandate which will require new students at St. Joe’s to take the course within their first three semesters on campus.

Courses related to race, equity, inclusion and diversity are important in promoting a safe and inclusive space for people of color on campus. Not fully supporting the passage of a course like INT 151 through the governance process is invalidating the racism and discrimination that students of color experience on our own campus.

Because this course is not currently restricted to only first-year students, The Hawk encourages any student on campus to register for INT 151 for the spring 2022 semester. The course is crucial in developing an informed and inclusive campus, and any student who is able should consider participating in such an effort.

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