California State University’s Executive Orders
Since the 1960’s California State University Northridge has been a leader in ethnic studies, gender and women studies, as well as queer studies. Born out of struggle between administration and student activists, ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, and queer studies are about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. These departments and programs offer students a strong sense of community within CSUN, and these courses help students to serve the needs of California’s increasingly diverse population. Fifty years later students are still fighting for the existence of these courses. In 2017, Chancellor Timothy white of the California State University system issued executive order 1100 R and executive order 1110 as efforts to streamline general education code. Under the banner of student success to allegedly increase graduation rates, Chancellor white issued these two mandates which have severe consequences for culture studies department. Some of these more severe issues include the elimination of CSUN’s highly celebrated section F which requires six units of comparative and cross-cultural studies, a three unit upper division requirement in the science, which have a poor track record with marginalized students, three unit upper division requirement in the social science, three unit upper division requirement in the humanities and mandated double-counting of majors requirement and general education courses. After weeks of walkouts boycott and divestment led by CSUN students against its administration and the chancellor’s office, CSUN’s faculty senate voted in favor of the students not to comply with EO 1100 R and EO 1110. In spring 2018, with the agreement of Chancellor White, CSUN president Dianne Harrison established a GE task force to align CSUN with title 5, the Education Code mandated by the California State Assembly while maintaining section F. Despite all of the work of the GE task force and student mobilizations, Harrison decided to implement EO 1100R and EO 1110, thereby undermining faculty governance and the democratic process. Among some of the troubling aspects of EO 1100R is dilution of the cross-cultural competency requirement as well as the general education by allowing for double counting, which effectively dilutes the significance of each general education category, such as humanities social behavioral sciences as well as physical natural sciences. These changes will impact all departments in the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, but especially those in ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies, as well as queer studies. During the summer, Harrison created experimental courses in order to implement EO 1110 without permission of faculty. Since then, the student and faculty committee that restored democracy at CSUN, a coalition of faculty and students was established to stop the implementation of the executive orders. The coalition of students has protested nearly every major public event since the beginning of fall 2018 in order to restore democracy on our campus. Executive order 1100 R and executive order 1110 undermined CSUN’s mission to prepare students to engage as members of a diverse society, capable of critically addressing issues of gender, race, class and sexuality. These orders undermine a 50-year legacy of ethnic, gender and women, and queer studies and reinforce that people of color, women, and the LGBTQ communities are disposable. As we continue to uphold the 50-year legacy of student activism that stands on the shoulders of generations prior, student activists see their movement as critical to defending social justice on their campus. In times where there is a rise of nationalism, attacks made against immigrants, police assaults against African American and Latinx communities and others, legal discrimination against LGBTQ+ communities, mocking of disabled people by United States President Donald Trump, and hate crimes against Muslim and Jewish communities, our nation cannot afford not to have ethnic studies, gender and women’s studies and queer studies. And they need to be maintained and supported on our campus. We ask you to join us as we reimagine the CSUN that we all know we can have, especially one that is inclusive of diverse people and perspectives. Another university is possible.