What Students are Saying About the New Diversity & Inclusion Requirement

Arianna Reyes, Scarlet Staff

A diversity and inclusion requirement has been implemented for the class of 2021 and beyond, as was announced by Senior Associate Dean of the College and head of Academic Advising, Kevin McKenna, via an email to the student body on Thursday, Oct. 19. The announcement received mixed reactions from first-year students.

The new requirement seeks to give students a strengthened outlook on diversity and inclusion in a classroom environment, as “all courses bearing the D&I courses engage students in the critical analysis of such topics as power, intersectionality, inequality, marginality, and identity,” explained the email.

“At Clark University, learning and teaching take place within a diverse and inclusive community,” read McKenna’s message. Clark aims to be geared toward fostering diversity throughout campus and ensuring that everyone is included; this requirement seeks to help students not only find diversity throughout the campus community, but also in the classroom. These courses will allow a look into all the aspects and differences in other communities and cultures in a more knowledgeable setting.

However, the logistics of the change caused some concern. Clark has previously had eight required Program of Liberal Studies courses that students must take on top of major and other requirements in order to graduate, and the new addition left some students frustrated.

“I feel like it’s unfair because the upperclassmen get to graduate with [one] less required course,” said Parker Freedman (‘21).

While new ideas have to start somewhere, students were curious as to why it had to start with their class. Furthermore, this new requirement is also frustrating to some because of it is another required course that they must fit into their schedules during the next four years.

However, other students do not see the course as a hindrance.

“I’m not too worried about it. Lots of the DI requirements also fulfill a GP, HP, or VP so it’s not too bad. I’ll just take a class that includes two perspectives,” said Monica Sager (‘21). Due to some courses being given double attributions, multiple requirements can be met by taking a DI course, as was explained by McKenna in his email.

“I understand that people are annoyed with a new added class, but I [feel] like it’s an important topic people need to know more about,” said Rachel Lawrence (‘21).

Beginning next semester, students can take DI-attributed courses; the spring 2017 course selections include 20 courses with a DI attribute across 12 majors, concentrations, and programs.