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Harvard students continue ‘fight’ for ethnic studies department

‘Ethnic studies was something that we felt could carry forward the momentum around diversity activism on campus,’ student said

More than 50 people affiliated with Harvard University assembled Saturday for an “organizing summit” on ethnic studies, which they have pushed campus leaders to adopt as a degree-granting concentration.

“The summit continues a decades-long push led by students, faculty, and alumni for the creation of an ethnic studies department at Harvard,” The Harvard Crimson reported Monday.

In July, Harvard activist students crashed President Claudine Gay’s ice cream social to demand the creation of an ethnic studies department, The College Fix reported at the time.

At the social, members of the Harvard Ethnic Studies Coalition shouted “Hey, President Gay! We need ethnic studies today!” The Crimson reported.

Harvard organizers at the Saturday summit said they hoped the event would “re-energize” the ethnic studies push, according to The Crimson.

The summit included an ethnic studies “teach-in,” a faculty and alumni mixer, a “strategy room” and “affinity spaces,” the paper reported.

Co-lead organizer and Harvard student Zoha Ibramin described ethnic studies as part of a larger movement towards greater diversity efforts on campus.

“Ethnic studies was something that we felt could carry forward the momentum around diversity activism on campus,” Ibrahim said.

Harvard student and ethnic studies advocate Emma Chan said the concentration mattered to create a “better future.”

“It’s so important not just for those who identify as ethnic minorities but also for everyone,” she said.

“I’m hoping that we raised awareness today and also fostered a bit of solidarity between different groups,” Chan added, in reference to the summit.

The Crimson reported that in 2009, “the Faculty of Arts and Sciences began offering ethnic studies as a secondary field, which it renamed in 2012 to Ethnicity, Migration, Rights.”

“In 2022, the FAS concluded a three-year ethnic studies cluster hire of three professors — Taeku Lee, Erika Lee, and Jesse E. Hoffnung-Garskof ’93,” it continued.

However, the university still has no ethnic studies degree-granting major.

However, President Gay has endorsed an ethnic studies department in past interviews with The Crimson.

“I have not been shy about saying that my hope is that there will be an undergraduate concentration, and I think the interest is there,” Gay said.

MORE: Professor says required ethnic studies courses combat ‘white fragility

IMAGE:The Harvard Crimson/X

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