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End the duopoly

California university system makes ethnic studies or social justice a required class

At a time of national reckoning over racial injustice, the largest four-year public university system in the U.S. has taken a major step to make sure its future students ponder the effects of systemic discrimination.

The California State University system said that, starting with the 2023-24 academic year, its 430,000-plus undergraduates will be required to take a course in ethnic studies or social justice. The CSU Board of Trustees approved the new graduation requirement Wednesday, the first significant change to its general education curriculum in 40 years.

“Our goal is for CSU students, from every major and in every workplace, to be leaders in creating a more just and equitable society,” Chancellor Timothy White said in a statement, adding that the new modification “will empower our students to meet this moment in our nation’s history, giving them the knowledge, broad perspectives and skills needed to solve society’s most pressing problems.’’

Those include police brutality and the systemic marginalizing of people of color, a point driven across by the hundreds of thousands who have protested across the nation since the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

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