UF faculty Senate OKs African-American studies major

Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 6:51 p.m.

The University of Florida came a step closer toward establishing an African-American studies major — and maybe diversity awareness as well.

UF’s Faculty Senate voted unanimously during a Thursday meeting to create the major. The university currently maintains an African-American studies program, offering students certificates or minors. The major has been a topic of discussion since 2007.

Sharon Austin, associate professor and director of the African-American studies program, kept her speech brief during the meeting, reminding faculty that she had given an in-depth presentation at the previous month’s meeting.

“I guess, just to be as brief as possible, I ask for your support,” she said.

Race relations and education have been a point of discussion at UF in recent months. UF’s chapter of Beta Theta Pi fraternity made headlines in October when pictures of members wearing blackface-like makeup at a themed party surfaced online.

Students complained of racial intolerance at UF during a subsequent town hall meeting, and university President Bernie Machen addressed the issue. He announced in November that UF would institute diversity programs and create the African-American studies major.

Three state universities already have similar majors — Florida A&M University, the University of South Florida and Florida State University.

The proposal will go to the university’s Board of Trustees next. If the plan is approved in its entirety, the African-American studies major will be established in time for fall 2013.

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

▲ Return to Top