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Elite college requires physics students to ‘decolonize’ the academic field (again)

At least they get tacos

If you want to focus on physics when studying physics, consider avoiding Pomona College.

The elite member of Southern California’s Claremont Consortium hosted its third annual “Decolonizing Physics” symposium this week, composed of mandatory student presentations on decolonization as well as “microaggressions, implicit bias and other topics,” the Claremont Independent reports.

The projects are required for all students in Introductory Astronomy and Foundations of Modern Physics, even though neither class description mentions them. The latter class is a requirement for all intended physics majors.

The Facebook page for the symposium, hosted by professors Jorge Moreno and Janice Hudgings, says surprisingly little about the content of it, other than it will feature “tacos” and “all are welcome.”

The Independent revealed the mandatory project in a March 2018 article, based on a student’s email from the previous fall asking a campus listserv for help on completing the student’s Decolonizing Physics project on “persons of color and women in STEM.”

The newspaper said the physics department ignored its queries for nearly two months, even as “[m]ultiple anonymous sources” confirmed the project’s existence.

The department advertised the sequel to the first year’s projects a year ago, prompting another Independent article and another non-response from Prof. Moreno. One student told the newspaper he had dropped Moreno’s class because he told “folks with white or male privilege” to not talk, so that others would “feel comfortable enough to talk and ask questions.”

The Independent said in its most recent article that Moreno has still never answered any of its questions: how the event helps students better understand physics, how the discipline is “colonized” and what it means to decolonize it.

Read the article.

MORE: Physics students forced to complete ‘decolonizing physics’ project

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