ASMSU, MSU’s undergraduate student government, discussed the idea of requiring a one-credit course on diversity for all incoming freshmen at MSU at an Academic Affairs Committee meeting on February 27.
Lyman Briggs Representative James Conwell lead the discussion about the idea in order to help freshmen better acclimate to MSU’s diverse community.
“Some freshmen really adapt well and find new ways to experience new cultures,” Conwell said. “Some simply do not.“Conwell said his main concern was educating students to be more informed about diversity.
“(Freshmen) come from all walks of life,” he said. “They haven’t been necessarily exposed to ideas, diverse people or things.”
Conwell said this requirement related back to the Live It! initiative which was presented to ASMSU’s general assembly at a Feb. 20 meeting.
Deanna Hurlbert, director of the LBGT Resource Center, introduced the initiative as a way for Spartans to pledge to “connect with respect” with other Spartans of diverse backgrounds. The initiative is to encourage students to challenge demeaning behaviors towards students of different cultures and backgrounds.
James Madison College Representative Dolores Sinistaj said she liked the idea of having this requirement, but was concerned about the tuition that students would have to pay.
She said finding a way to educate students about diversity without requiring them to pay a credit hour would be more beneficial financially.
As an example Sinistaj said for James Madison she was required to participate in workshops about these topics.
“In Madison, freshmen have to do a day of diversity activities,” Sinistaj said adding that they had group discussions and break down of issues and topics surrounding diversity.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Mitchell Goheen said he agreed that students shouldn’t have to pay for a course, but some sort of diversity workshop or program should be required for all students before graduation.