Multiculturalism class forum planned

By Matt Gilbert

The latest revision of the Student Association’s multiculturalism class requirement was spelled out to student leaders Tuesday by student Regent John Butler.

A date for a campus-wide SA forum to promote the requirement also was announced.

The plan for a multiculturalism class requirement has undergone substantial evolution since SA President Abe Andrzejewski first proposed it at the beginning of this semester. Andrzejewski said he first envisioned the requirement as a brand new class every student would have to take to graduate once it is implemented.

Last Monday, The Northern Star reported remarks made by Butler in SA senate meetings revealed that the establishment of a new class would not be economically feasible. According to Butler, discussions with NIU President John La Tourette and the research of the SA ad-hoc committee on multiculturalism showed the use of existing classes to fulfill the requirement might adequately expose students to multicultural issues.

“I’d like to think of myself as an ex-officio member of the committee,” Butler said. He announced the forum will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 in the Heritage Room of the Holmes Student Center. Butler, Andrzejewski, SA Vice President Dave Gonzalez and Derek Anderson, SA academic affairs adviser and chair of the ad-hoc committee on multiculturalism, will make themselves available to answer students’ “criticisms and concerns” at that time.

Butler said he hopes students will leave the course with the ability to manage diversity. “What we are looking at is taking the realization that by the year 2000 the workplace is going to be so dramatically changed,” Butler said. “The people who dominate the business and work force are not going to be the people who dominate it anymore.”

Butler cited statistics from a research report titled “Opportunity 2000” which stated that 26 percent of U.S. workers will be minorities and immigrants, 65 percent will be women and 15 percent of new employees will be white males.

He also quoted an article from Aug. 27 that stated the growing business clout of women and non-northern european males necessitated a change in the way business is conducted in the accounting industry. “(Business customers) cannot be treated as other people are treated because their cultural attitudes are different. They must adjust.”

The SA’s current game plan would require students to choose one class they would like to take from a list of currently existing courses, Butler said. If classes are required in the student’s major, they would not fulfill general education requirements.

Since the courses on the list would become graduation requirements, more money would be put into them so that a larger number of course sections would be available.

He also said criteria determining which courses would qualify for the requirement would be made by a faculty committee. The SA ad-hoc multiculturalism committee would not play a part in the making of the criteria.

“It pains me to think that I would be part of an organization that was attempting to brainwash, to push, to do such violent acts to students’ minds on campus. I would never be part of such a thing,” Butler said.

Students currently attending NIU would not have to take the requirement, Butler said. “Unfortunately, most of you will be graduated before this is in full swing. It must begin now if the younger students you lead are to be affected by this very important project.”