After a battle that Northwestern University students started more than 20 years ago, the Evanston, IL school will introduce an Asian American Studies major this upcoming fall, according to NBC News.
The Asian American Studies program was created almost 20 years ago after student protests, which included a 23 day hunger strike that started on April 12, 1995. Now, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences is taking the next step and making the program available as a major for the first time.
“The passing of Northwestern’s proposal for a major in Asian American Studies, it is the result of over two decades of student activism, faculty advocacy, and alumni involvement,” Asian American Studies department chair Shalini Shankar told NBC News. “In Spring 2015, we commemorated the 20th anniversary of the student hunger strikes that eventually lead to the establishment of our program. This created a groundswell of momentum that encouraged us to reintroduce the proposal for a major.”
Other institutions across the country are reportedly working to introduce Asian American Studies majors on their own campuses, such as Harvard and Yale.
“We see this as an unqualified victory and hope that it serves to motivate other Asian American Studies units engaged in similar kinds of programmatic building,” Shankar said.
Many feel that ignorance directly leads to oppression and misunderstanding. Introducing programs like the one at Northwestern on college campuses will ideally play a direct role in educating the community and closing these gaps. Hopefully we’ll see other campuses offer multiple programs like this in the future.
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