Officials at the University of Oxford’s Magdalen College in the UK are considering whether to offer courses on a variety of topics including racism awareness and cultural appropriation, the Oxford Mail reported. The university’s Junior College Room (a student organization) is expected to debate the proposal later this week.
The move reportedly comes after Magdalen was blasted for hosting a twenties-themed ball that some students felt might cause offense, seeing as women and people of color were not allowed at such gatherings, let alone college, during that time period.
The JCR will vote on whether to make the proposed workshops mandatory for all incoming undergraduates, where new students will discuss implicit bias and learn how to “participate effectively in fighting racism for both BME [Black/Minority Ethnic] and non–BME students.” According to The Telegraph, the classes are already offered at a number of colleges but on an optional basis.
Farheen Ahmed, Oxford Student Union’s VP for Welfare and Equal Opportunities, told the student paper Cherwell that she welcomed the effort as “an important part of bringing the conversation about race and ethnicity into the wider consciousness.”
“The University is becoming increasingly aware of the need to prioritize student voices on issues of race, as seen in the establishment of various groups to handle such concerns,” she said.
Magdalen College officials haven’t responded to requests for comment.