A group of students dedicated to the formation of a School of Ethnic Studies at UW-Madison met Tuesday to discuss beginning the formal process of creating a school dedicated to studying ethnic groups and diversity on campus.
There are currently four programs counted as Ethnic Studies at UW-Madison. These include the Department of Afro-American Studies and the programs of Chican@/Latin@ Studies, Asian American Studies and American Indian Studies.
As a department, Afro-American Studies is the only one of the four capable of providing a full faculty and having a tenure track. The others, which are programs, are made up of professors from around campus who dedicate extra time to running them.
One of the key steps outlined by the group involved getting department status for all four parts of Ethnic Studies in the university. Once the programs are made into departments, they will be able to have larger faculties and provide tenure tracks.
The end goal for the group, however, is establishing a School of Ethnic Studies.
Arturo Diaz, one of the students behind the formation of Students for the School of Ethnic Studies, outlined what would need to be done to get the plans off the ground.
Among his suggestions was the creation of four working groups to formulate a budget, a potential structure, establish all four components of Ethnic Studies as departments and create relationships with faculty members and students.
This student-led movement is intended to prove to faculty that students are serious about the need for such a school, as determined through group discussion.
“We have to be sustainable ourselves, we have to be well-organized ourselves, we have to be able to support ourselves so that we put out excellent work,” one attending student said.
The group will continue to hold meetings and lay out plans in the coming weeks.