By: Karla Gutierrez and Madalyn Amato
Students and Associated Students Inc. senators voiced their opinions over the need and importance of an ethnic studies requirement bill during an open forum Tuesday evening.
The forum was held in response to the protests and public comments about the issue at the last Senate meeting.
Miztlayolxochitl Aguilera, a senior Chicano Latino studies major, addressed the crowd in Tongva, the language of the Tongva people, whose land Long Beach State resides on.
She said that the departments offering ethnic studies are shrinking.
“At one point, we actually had a B.A. here; we actually had a major,” Aguilera said. “For everyone who graduated with a B.A. in American Indian studies, everyone but one person went on to achieve a master’s or a Ph.D.”
Two weeks ago, the ASI Senate voted down resolution #SB 2020-12, which exclusively called for the support of the bill.
The Senate passed #SB 2020-13, which also included Assembly Bill 1460, among other bills, at both last week’s meeting and the week before.
Sen. Dale Lendrum, who did not vote on the resolution, cited concerns over its potential impact on student’s course loads, such as those he represents from the College of Education.
“There’s not a person in this room who I won’t judge by the content of their character,” Lendrum said. “But while I’m an ally, I will fight for ethnic studies. My only request is that you judge me by the content of my character while I fight for you.”
Aaron Chiu, a senior aerospace engineering major, stated that requiring an extra course would interfere with completing an engineering degree on time.
“Many engineers tell me that the 24 units [for] GED could water down our engineering education,” Chiu said.
Almost all students who spoke, however, were in support of the bill and called the Senate to action to show its support for it as well.
Eric Cota, a fourth-year communications major, said that it should be required as Long Beach State is “considered a multicultural school.”
“We’re a very diverse [school] that [ethnic studies] should be required,” Cota said. “I don’t think that they’ve done enough research in order to make that decision, I think that’s a way for them to kind of diminish ethnic studies.”
The Senate will be giving #SB 2020-13 its third and final reading before voting on the finalized legislation Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 3:30 p.m. in USU 234.
This article previously contained inaccurate information. It previously stated that Sen. Dale Lendrum voted “no” on resolution #SB 2020-12. Lendrum did not vote on the resolution. It was corrected Wednesday, Feb. 26 at 10:38 a.m.