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Letter: Ethnic studies are liberal arts

letter to the editor

Community Editorial Board argues that we have “lost our way in the liberal arts.” However, one major issue with their argument is they deem adding an ethnic studies department unrealistic and then use Program II to justify this statement. How can someone possibly make a Program II major in ethnic studies, when those classes don’t even exist at Duke? A fair amount of students have to go to UNC just to take courses pertaining to their identity, which is unfair as they simply wish to express and learn about their identity at their own school.

Identity groups have been asking for an ethnic studies department for decades, as far back as the 80s. Many of these demands have yet to be met, and still continue to be ignored by our administration. Then, CEB tries to state that W101 is a great option, while ignoring the fact that Duke is also making W101 less interdisciplinary (petition here to stop this). An ethnic studies department provides stability, space and faculty support to largely student-run efforts to make this campus more inclusive and diverse. When Duke is such an “elite university” and often displays us to create a false sense of diversity, it is the bare minimum they provide this for us.

Minorities are always being told they're asking for “too much” while simultaneously never really having their demands met. If Duke Disability Alliance would like a minor, or Asian American students on this campus want faculty support - there should be a department to support them. These subjects are more than passions to the students taking them. CEB states we should simply pick a few Duke classes that interest us, but students should also be able to explore their passions outside of what Duke wants students to study. Is that not the nature of a “liberal arts education’?

Anthony Salgado

DSG Senator for Equity and Outreach

Political Chair for Mi Gente

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