Stockton University, a small public university in southern New Jersey, has announced it will require incoming students to take at least two courses in race and racism. The requirement will begin for students entering the school in fall 2021.
The new requirement was proposed by professor of Africana studies and communication studies Donnetrice Allison, who is also the coordinator of the school’s Africana Studies program.
“One course alone will not be effective,” Allison said after the new requirement was passed. “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.”
According to Allison, there are at least 20 courses currently taught at the school that meet the race and racism requirement, including Race, Class, Gender and Criminal Justice; Race and Politics; Race, Poverty and Education; and classes in the Africana studies curriculum.
The student body at Stockton is currently 63 percent white, 16 percent Hispanic, 9 percent black, and 7 percent Asian.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for students who think they know a little but don’t know how to navigate conversations,” 25-year old Morgan Rush told the Philadelphia Inquirer. Rush, who is white, last week became the school’s first Africana Studies major. Stockton only began offering Africana Studies as a major in 2019.
In 2017, Stockton removed a bust of its namesake, Declaration of Independence signer Richard Stockton, because he had owned slaves. At the time, the school planned to move the bust to a setting that explains its historical context and controversy.
“The real problem in our nation is not statues of historical figures,” then-senior Dylan Perry told a local newspaper. “Rather, the problem is that we have people in our nation with hate in their hearts.”
Tuition and fees at Stockton are currently $14,598 per year for in-state students and $22,032 for out-of-state students. In the fall of 2020, the school had 9,893 full- and part-time undergraduate and graduate students. The school was founded in 1969.