Diversity courses are reevaluated by Faculty Senate

The Vermont Cynic Podcast

The Vermont Cynic Podcast

Lilly Young, Staff Writer

UVM’s D1 and D2 courses, diversity-based classes, are being re-evaluated by the Faculty Senate.

Since students delivered a list of demands to President Sullivan calling for racial justice on campus Sept. 25, there has been a push to re-evaluate the D1 and D2 courses at UVM.

Sophomore Jamie Benson, SGA chair of academic affairs, said the reevaluation was a result of the SGA talking to the Faculty Senate.

There was a meeting Oct. 12 with the SGA president, vice president and chair of academic affairs as well as the Provost Office and the faculty staff to discuss the re-evaluation of D1 and D2 classes.

A conversation about the re-evaluation of D1 and D2 courses has been “long overdue,” Benson said.

The movement to update diversity courses has been around since last year.

Senior Emily Grace Arriviello held a forum last spring about the reformation of D1 classes as a part of the campaign for racial justice at UVM.

D1 and D2 courses were instituted in 2006 and have not been reviewed since, Arriviello said.

Students want smaller class sizes as well as better-trained professors teaching diversity courses, Arriviello said.

The small class sizes would “help [students] understand [their] racial identity in the United States and on campus,” she said.

Smaller classes facilitate more intimate discussions among students, said Reginah Mako, SGA chair of diversity inclusion and member of the Black Student Union.

Professors need to be equipped to teach diversity courses in order to lead these discussions, Mako said.

Benson and Mako have been working with students and the Faculty Senate to change the curriculum regarding diversity.

Benson recently had a meeting with SGA President Chris Petrillo and BSU President Harmony Edosomwan to talk in depth about the demands and what needs to be fixed in the curriculum, he said.

SGA is working toward the goal of having “better educated, better informed and better global citizens coming out of UVM after taking a diversity course,” Benson said.

They are not the first group of students to have this conversation with the Faculty Senate, and students need to be heard by faculty in order to implement change, Arriviello said.

Benson is hoping that by the next academic year, D1 and D2 courses will be better. SGA is motivated to improve these requirements, Benson said.

It is important for UVM to take a stand by fixing the problems with the diversity courses, Arriviello said.