By: Joshua Gras, Writer / Follow South Jersey Higher Education Intern
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Earlier this month, Stockton University took steps to address racism by requiring all students entering the university this fall to take two courses on race relations in the United States.
These required courses include broader subjects around race, such as “Race and Politics,” “Race Class, Gender, and Criminal Justice,” and “Race, Poverty, and Education.” Stockton’s decision will take effect for the incoming freshman class that will begin its college career in the fall.
Donnetrice Allison, a professor at Stockton and the university’s current Director of Strategic Initiatives, hopes that making sure students leave the university with a better understanding of how racism works in America they will be more understanding when issues arise.
“One course alone will not be effective,” Allison said in a statement. “If we are ever to address the racial issues this country continues to grapple with, students need to understand that there are levels to racism and that, to some degree, it is within every field of study.”
Another part of this new strategy by the school is to integrate race in other subjects so that students know that racism persists in many different fields of study. To help combat racism, faculty will be encouraged to integrate race into their course material. More than a dozen faculty members are already trained to do so.
The end goal for the university is to educate all students – regardless of what they’re studying – about racism and its consequences on people. Stockton has offered an Africana Studies major since 2019 and a minor in the same topic since the early 1980s.
“This can’t just be for students who want to major in the subject,” Allison added in a statement. “This is something everyone must understand if we are to eradicate racism and promote equity and diversity. You have to understand the history to support change.”
Stockton’s Board of Trustees officially approved the motion to require students to take race relations courses on May 6.
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This article was produced by a Follow South Jersey news intern thanks to a grant provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the New Jersey Health Initiatives program to create hyper-local news to meet the informational and health needs of the City of Bridgeton, N.J.