Sac State Faculty Senate prepares opposition to CSU implementation of AB 1460

Chancellor’s resolution is not living up to anti-racism commitment, says senate member


Rahul Lal

A demonstrator holds a sign advocating for AB 1460 in the University Union at a Faculty Senate meeting Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020. Sacramento State’s Faculty Senate discussed the ethnic studies department’s resolution in opposition to the CSU Chancellor’s Office’s proposed implementation of the bill.

Gerardo Zavala

The Sacramento State Faculty Senate will discuss endorsing a resolution created by the ethnic studies department in opposition to the California State University Chancellor’s Office’s proposed implementation of Assembly Bill 1460 at its meeting Thursday.

The senate met last week to discuss the resolution, but chose to have another meeting Thursday to finalize the resolution and implement changes suggested by senate members. 

AB 1460 creates an ethnic studies requirement with an implementation process that is to be done in collaboration with the CSU’s Ethnic Studies Council, the Academic Senate and the Chancellor’s Office, according to the bill. 

RELATED: FAQ: What you need to know about the ethnic studies bill, AB 1460

“We want a collaborative effort as it states in the law, rather than a top down approach,” Sac State ethnic studies department chair Annette Reed said.

The Chancellor’s Office proposed a new general education (GE) requirement called Area F of ethnic studies and social justice with a reduction of Area D by 3 units, according to a handout provided by the ethnic studies department. The chancellor’s proposal also sets a tight timeline for campuses to implement the ethnic studies requirement and mandates that it be a lower division course. 

Reed said eight CSUs have passed their own resolutions within their faculty senates and sent them to the Chancellor’s Office. She also said the resolution she and the ethnic studies department created was modeled off of resolutions presented by senates at Northridge, San Marcos and other universities. 

Faculty Senate member Sussane Mindgren, who represents the department of biological sciences at Sac State, said that it is already a challenge for biology majors to get through the GE and graduation requirements. 

“There’s a huge impact on the STEM majors that are very high units,” Mindgren said. “Some fellow majors have stopped requiring foreign language requirements, which I think is going the wrong way as we move [toward] a global climate of inclusivity.” 

Faculty Senate member Sue Holl, who represents the mechanical engineering department, said that the major she represents is at 122 units and that the department had to let go of the foreign language requirement because of the excess units. 

“If we don’t maintain the same number of units for GE, we can’t have that full complement of GE courses and one more three-unit requirement, something will have to go,” Holl said in regards to the chancellor’s proposed addition of an Area F for the ethnic studies requirement. “This [ethnic studies requirement] is one I don’t want to let go of.” 

AB 1460 does not specify that ethnic studies courses need to be either lower or upper division. The ethnic studies department opposes placing the requirement exclusively in lower division and GE. 

Senate member Monicka Tutschka said that this executive order from the Chancellor’s Office was created without faculty expertise and that it’s not living up to the commitment of anti-racism. 

“We have incredibly knowledgeable faculty in ethnic studies with varying expertise and we want to amplify these voices,” Tutschka said. 

Marie Williams, a Sac State graduate student in the multicultural education program, and Donna Barron, a Sac State student, attended the meeting in support of the resolution proposed by the ethnic studies department. Williams and Barron created a petition in support of the Faculty Senate endorsing the resolution the ethnic studies department created. 

Faculty Senate member Hogan Hayes said he was afraid that the reception of the Faculty Senate’s resolution at the Chancellor’s Office would be met poorly because it does not have a timeline to replace the chancellor’s proposed timeline

The Faculty Senate passed a motion for the executive committee to create language to be added to the resolution from feedback forms given to senate members to bring back to the senate during its 3 p.m. meeting Thursday, Oct. 29.