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Credit: Larry Gordon / EdSourceCredit: Larry Gordon / EdSourceStudents at California State University for the first time will be required to take a course in ethnic studies or a class with a social justice component under a policy approved Wednesday by the system’s Board of Trustees.

Students will be required to either take a class in one of four ethnic studies disciplines — Native American studies, African American studies, Asian American studies or Latina and Latino studies — or a class in another discipline as long as the course has a social justice component.

The new requirement is opposed by several lawmakers and the California Faculty Association, who instead favor AB 1460, legislation that would impose a stricter ethnic studies requirement.

Chancellor Tim White and several trustees said their own proposal is sufficient and argued that ethnic studies is at the proposal’s core, even though it doesn’t specifically require students to take a class in ethnic studies.

The idea of requiring students to study the contributions and histories of nonwhite ethnic and racial groups is longstanding in California.

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