GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP — The Stockton University Board of Trustees on May 5 approved a resolution to require all incoming students to take two courses that address race and racism.
The requirement will take effect for the incoming class in fall 2021. It was proposed by Donnetrice Allison, coordinator of the Africana Studies program at Stockton and professor of Africana studies and communication studies.
Allison, who also serves as director of strategic initiatives, said the race/racism education across the curriculum requirement will ensure that all students, no matter what their major, will receive education in the history and impact of race and racism in America.
Allison said students may take specific race-related courses, and faculty will also be encouraged to incorporate race and racism into the courses they are teaching so that the topic will cover all program areas.
“One course alone will not be effective,” Allison said. “If we are ever to address the racial issues this country continues to grapple with, students need to understand that there are levels to racism and that to some degree it is within every field of study.”
Allison said some 20 faculty members already teach about 25 courses that meet the requirement.
Those courses include a variety of programs, such as Race, Class, Gender and Criminal Justice; Race and Politics; Race, Poverty and Education; and classes in the Africana studies curriculum.
Stockton has offered Africana studies as a minor since 1983. An Africana studies major launched in fall 2019.
Allison said while Stockton has been supportive of those programs, it has become increasingly clear that all students need to understand the history and impact of racism.
“This can’t just be for students who want to major in the subject,” Allison said. “This is something everyone must understand if we are to eradicate racism and promote equity and diversity. You have to understand the history to support change.”
The proposal was approved by the Faculty Senate before going to the board of trustees.
The trustees in July 2020 issued a resolution stating its strong commitment to promoting antiracism and being a leader in social justice issues. That commitment included a charge to review and revise the curriculum and to require coursework on the issue.
“In July we made a commitment, and I am proud to see that commitment become an action that will benefit our students,” board Chairman Raymond Ciccone said.
In other business, the trustees held the annual tuition hearing. Tuition for 2021-22 will not be finalized until July. Housing and meal plan rates for 2021-22 were also approved. Housing rates vary by location and will increase an average of 1.4% or about $57 per semester. Meal plan rates will increase an average of 2% or $66 per year for residential meal plans.
The board also approved the dissolution of Stockton Affiliated Services Inc. All assets will be transferred to the university. SASI had managed the contracts with outside vendors, including Chartwells, Follett Higher Education, Stouts Charter Service and B&B Parking.
Board President Raymond Ciccone cited a Moody Investors Service report from April that praised Stockton’s governance. It said:
“Stockton's now strong leadership team has a demonstrated record over the last several years of managing large and complex initiatives with the state, which provides a solid foundation for continued growth. The successful completion of the Atlantic City campus and sizable investment at the Galloway campus underscores leadership's actively-managed long term planning approach. Development of strong budgetary policies and centralized financial monitoring has allowed the university to maintain stable fiscal operations throughout the recent expansionary period. Leadership has well-defined strategic priorities that include strengthening intergovernmental collaboration and resources, improving academic outcomes, and enhancing reporting and board engagement for greater fiscal and operating oversight.”