Require all FSU students to satisfy a Race/Ethnicity credit prior to graduation!

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This petition is for the students, alumni, faculty and supporters of Florida State University urging the University to implement a new graduation requirement that all students be enrolled in a course relating to race and ethnicity, racism and/or Black history in the United States. As of now, no required credit such as this one exists for all students — it only exists for specific major/minor areas. This petition is suggesting that we add a NEW REQUIRED CREDIT to the graduation checklist for ALL FSU STUDENTS regardless of course of study. Not only would this policy increase education and understanding among the FSU student body on the issues that Black Americans face in the United States every single day, but it would be an opportunity for the university to act as a role model for the community. 

After noticing that other schools such as the University of Florida and the University of South Carolina have taken action and started various petitions to change their academic curriculum in order to become part of a positive change, it is time that Florida State follows suit. 

Currently, white students make up an overwhelming majority of the student body at FSU at 62.4%. Black or African American students make up only 8.2% of the entire student body. It is difficult to prepare students for a successful future when the demographics of the school do not represent the current society we live in. Students must learn about different cultures, backgrounds and ethnicities if they wish to be successful in the real world. Although Florida State students are required to fulfill humanities, social sciences and history requirements the course catalog is overflowing with options and therefore students are self-selecting which courses to take. Not to mention, many students come into college with these requirements already satisfied either through AP credits or dual enrollment and they are not required to take any supplemental classes. Emily Walton, an associate professor at Dartmouth College explains it best by stating that “requiring a course on race and ethnicity for all college students would send the message that both the university and society value the kind of learning that produces informed and critical citizens for a world after graduation. We can’t just drift into racial equity with good intentions, nor put much hope in generational change. We need to actively, purposefully take the blinders off.”

As a US News Top 20 Public University, Florida State has the resources and the ability to transform the future. We are in a unique position where we can influence the world around us and we must not be complacent. There is an abundance of courses, taught by highly educated and respected professors, already offered at FSU that relate to black history and racism in the United States. For example: Social Reality of Black Males (CCJ 3673), African American Experience in the United States (AMH 1091), Black America Since 1877 (AMH 4572), Black Families in America (AFA 3330) and several others. By compiling a list of appropriate courses and requiring that students choose a course throughout their four years at FSU, the university would be doing its part to actively promote change for generations to come. Every student at Florida State has a voice. Every student at Florida State can create a better future. This is a call to action. 

 It is understandable that classes centered around sensitive subjects may hinder class discussion and many students will have disagreements. However, differing opinions, anger, violence and ignorance are a part of the world. The most basic way to combat these issues that plague our society is through open discussion and education. Change begins in the classroom. These conversations are difficult but they are an absolute necessity.

President Thrasher himself has stated "It is important during these tumultuous times that we reaffirm the values that we, as a university, hold most dear — respect, civility, and diversity and inclusion — as well as our commitment to justice and equality." I urge everyone to sign this petition and illustrate that not only is Florida State an ally in this fight today, but everyday. My hope is that future graduating classes will leave Florida State armed with an education and ready to fight for change through words, but most importantly through action as well.