By Yunuen Alvaredo
A new African American Studies minor will be rolling out in the fall of 2019, focusing on the African diaspora.
This minor will require 18 hours of coursework, with two pre-requisite courses and leeway for students to choose the other four courses out of 20 courses that exclusively or primarily deal with the African American experience, and out of 30 courses that deal with African American experiences in combination with other ethnic groups.
Last year, after pressure from students for years, the administration approved a ten-member select committee from different colleges to begin working on the African American studies minor.
“Before we could make any type of announcement we had to investigative,” Dr. Audwin Anderson, committee chair, said. “For most of the year, we were looking at the university curriculum, other programs across the country and asked African American studies scholars to come help develop the program.”
The committee met monthly during long semesters, with five of those meetings dedicated to establishing the feasibility of the minor. Other meetings were dedicated to putting a report together of the committee’s research and receiving feedback.
“I’m thrilled about the opportunity of a black studies minor finally being present here because it gives a lot of students the opportunity to delve into culture, rich philosophy, and history about a group of people previously unavailable to them in an academic setting,” Emmy Orioha, president of the Pan African Action Committee and political science senior, said. “Many students have been actively demanding it from our institution for a long time. It’s just unfortunate that it has taken Texas State so long to establish it.”
Student organizations like the Pan African Action Committee lead students’ efforts at Texas State to add this minor. Black students across the nation have been organizing themselves to call for creating black studies at their respective institutions. In 1969, Kent State University established their Institute for African American Affairs and since then, other universities have followed suit.
“This has been a result of different students talking to the administration about the need for the program,” Anderson said. “Students were voicing that this experience should be part of the curriculum and that they should be able to see this. They talked to the provost several times, and that resulted in establishing this committee. So really, this was a student-driven effort.”
Cassidy Wright, social work junior, is excited to have the minor on campus, but the news came as a bittersweet surprise to her because she will not be able to minor in it.
“I’m already so deep into my major and minor I can’t add it on to my degree plan,” Wright said. “I know I would truly benefit from it so it sucks that we’re so behind the curve that we’re just now getting it. However, I’m hopeful that students will take advantage of it in the future.”
Students have high expectations for the minor. Deanna Spearman, president of the Texas State chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, hopes the minor will highlight the struggles and work of the LGBTQIA Black community, as well as those with disabilities.
“I expect these courses to be taught by individuals who are qualified and a part of the community in some way, which means hiring Black faculty,” Spearman said. “When I say black, I meant to include all black cultures and not just black Americans.”
The African American studies committee will be hosting two meetings to report to students on their work, answer questions and receive feedback. All interested students are welcome to attend.
The meetings are scheduled from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 2 in Alkek 105/106 and April 3 in UAC 474. Interested students that are unable to attend can contact Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-245-2361.