UCLA faculty approves required course on diversity

The UCLA campus in Westwood, CA
The UCLA campus in Westwood, CA
Chris Radcliff via Flickr Creative Commons

The University of California, Los Angeles faculty has overwhelmingly approved a new policy that requires most future undergraduates to take a course on diversity, ending an effort that began two decades ago and was rejected several times before.

The university's Academic Senate voted 916 to 487 to begin the requirement for incoming freshmen in the College of Letters and Science in the fall and new transfer students in 2017, according to a tally posted online Friday night.

"A diversity-focused course requirement has been a long-standing priority for me because of its clear value to our students, so I am very pleased with the campuswide faculty vote approving the proposal," UCLA Chancellor Gene Block said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Times reports similar proposals were defeated three times in the last two decades.

Supporters have said the university has a responsibility to prepare students for life in a multicultural world, but opponents argued students were overburdened with other requirements and that the budget-strapped university could not afford extra classes.

Most UC campuses — except UC Merced — already require diversity courses.