Sign the Open Letter

in Support of the CSU Ethnic Studies & Social Justice Graduation Requirement and Opposed to AB 1460 

Read the Open Letter

Dear Governor Newsom,

We are current and emeritus faculty in the California State University system and we are writing to you to urge you to veto AB 1460 (the Weber Bill) in favor of Chancellor White’s alternative proposal that was adopted by the Board of Trustees last week.

1. AB 1460 Enacts into Law a Discriminatory System

While the purpose of AB 1460 is commendable, the bill defines Ethnic Studies as “an interdisciplinary and comparative study of race and ethnicity with special focus on four historically defined racialized core groups: Native Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latina and Latino Americans.” As such, it excludes, by definition, all other Ethnic Studies programs in the CSU, including, but far from limited to, Jewish Studies.

This current definition of Ethnic Studies is trapped in a limited conception held by some activists in the late 1960s; it is time California moved into the 21st century and broadened its definition to include the other ethnic groups who make a home here in California, such as Jews, Armenians, Arabs, and South Asians, all of whom are excluded by this bill.

2. The Importance of a Social Justice Component

Chancellor White’s alternative plan fixes another major flaw in AB 1460, by expanding the graduation requirement to include courses in social justice. This proposal recognizes that contemporary demands for social justice have expanded over the last fifty years to include women, LGBTQ, and others. We model social justice not by limiting its application to those groups who were active in 1969, but by including those who are struggling today.

In fact, without including these groups, one cannot understand contemporary American racism and white nationalism. One need only look at California’s annual report on hate crimes to see how powerful the forces of antisemitism and homophobia are in motivating violent attacks. By excluding Jews, women, and LGBTQ and limiting the mandate to only the original four groups, CSU students will be denied the resources to confront the dangerous forces threatening our communities.

3. Chancellor White’s Proposal Restores Flexibility and Autonomy

AB 1460 represents an extraordinary intrusion of the legislature into the academic independence of the CSU system. It not only directs students to take a course in a specific subject but requires that students take the courses designed to be offered by only a few specific departments or programs. This sets a dangerous precedent for the legislature to interfere in other areas of the CSU and infringes on faculty governance of the CSU system.

For all these reasons, AB 1460 is a fatally flawed bill and should be vetoed in favor of the Ethnic Studies and Social Justice graduation requirement adopted last week by the CSU Board of Trustees. We commend Chancellor White and the Board of Trustees for their thoughtful and responsible solution that preserves faculty governance of the curriculum, gives students a choice, and supports the teaching of all ethnic studies and social justice.

CSU Faculty Against AB 1460 © All Rights Reserved

Initial signatories are members of the Academic Engagement Network:

Jeffrey Blutinger, Professor of History; Director, Jewish Studies Program, CSULB

Peter C. Herman
, Department of English and Comparative Literature, SDSU

Risa Levitt
, Director, Jewish Studies Program; Professor and Chair, Religious Studies Department, SDSU 

Samuel M. Edelman
, Professor Emeritus; Former Chair of Jewish and Israel Studies, CSU Chico; Former Dean, American Jewish University

Cherryl Smith
, Professor Emerita, CSU-Sacramento 

Scott Spitzer
, Associate Professor of Political Science, CSU-Fullerton

Suzanne P. Wechsler
, Professor of Geography, CSULB 

ADD YOUR NAME

Newest California State University faculty member signatories:

Brian Adams, Professor, Political Science, San Diego

Stephen Adams, Professor, Educational Technology & Media Leadership, Long Beach

Lauren Applegate, Lecturer, Spanish and Portuguese, SDSU

Jeff Atherton, Associate Professor Associate Director, School of Art, CSULB

Peter Atterton, Professor of Philosophy, Philosophy San Diego State University

Jeffrey Auerbach, Professor of History, History, Northridge

Barbara Bailey, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics, SDSU

Arlette Baljon, Associate Professor, Physics, SDSU

Corinne Baptiste, Political Science, Los Angeles

Steve Barbone, Associate Professor, Department Chair, & Graduate Advisor, Philosophy, San Diego State

Fletcher Beasley, Lecturer, Film & Electronic Arts, Long Beach

Joseph Bennish, Professor, Math, Long Beach

Jeffrey Bentley, Assistant Professor (Tenure-Track), Management and Human Resource Management, Long Beach

Clarisa Bercovich Guelman, Lecturer, Physics, San Marcos

Dina Berg, Lecturer, PPA, CSULB

Gurmohan Bevli, Lecturer, Physics, Long Beach

Carol Bittmann, Professor Emeritus, Master of Social Work Program, Dominguez Hills

Susan Bloom, Assistant Professor, Film & Electronic Arts, Long Beach

Alan Bloom, Emeritus Professor, Television, Film and Media Studies, Los Angeles

Stephen Branz, Professor Emeritus, Chemistry, San Jose State University

Chris Brazier, Professor and Chair, Chemistry & Biochemistry, Long Beach

Jeffrey Brody, Professor of Communications, Communications Fullerton

Maria Carreira, Professor Romance, German, and Russian Languages, Long Beach

Barbara Case, Emeritus Faculty Library, Library, Cal State Los Angeles

Joshua Chesler, Associate Professor, Mathematics, CSULB

Dorothy Clark, Professor, English, Los Angeles

David Cline, Associate Professor, History, SDSU

Karen Coley, Lecturer, English, Dominguez Hills

Betsy Cooper, Professor & Chair, Dance, CSU Long Beach

Marsha Cooper, Director/Full Lecturer, Legal Studies in Business Program, CSU Long Beach

RIchard Dean, Professor Philosophy, Los Angeles

Aaron Dinkin, Assistant Professor, Linguistics and Asian / Middle Eastern Languages, San Diego State University

Clorinda Donato, Professor Romance, German, Russian Languages and Literatures, Redondo Beach

Jeff Drobman, Lecturer, Computer Science, CSUN

Carol Edelman, Professor Emerita and Associate Dean, Sociology, CSU Chico

Steve Ellwanger, Associate, Professor, Criminal Justice, Bakersfield

Cassandra Faith, Lecturer, Recreation, Hospitality and Parks Management, California State University, Chico

Laura Forrest, Associate Prof, CSULB

Erica Forsberg, Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, San Diego State University

Roger Frantz, Professor Emeritus, Economics, SDSU

Matthew Garcia, Assistant Professor, Political Science, CSU Long Beach

Manuela Gardner, Lecturer, Life Sciences, Long Beach

Ryan Giffen, Assistant Professor, Family & Consumer Sciences, Long Beach

Maxwell Greenberg, Lecturer Chicana/o Studies, Los Angeles

Shoshana Grossbard, Professor of Economics Emerita, Economics, San Diego State University

Roberto Guzman, Latin American Studies, CSU San Diego

Kip Haggerty Lecturer, EE, CSULB

Connie Hanretty, Lecturer Psychology, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Jeanne Hartley, Part-time Faculty, Management, Northridge

Philip Heller, Assistant Professor, Computer Science, Redwood City

Laura Hernandez, Former Lecturer, Management, Northridge

Benjamin Hubbard, Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion, Religious Studies, Fullerton

Lorin Johnson, Professor, Dept of Dance, CSU Long Beach

Arnold Kaminsky, Professor and Former Chair of History, Asian and Asian American Studies, CSULB

Cynthia King, Professor, Communications, Fullerton

Nadine Koch Steinberg, Professor Emeritus, POLS, Los Angeles

James Koval, Professor, FCS, CSULB

Jan Kraft, Lecturer, English, Santa Paula

Paul Laris, Professor and Chair, Geography, Long Beach

Sonja Lilienthal, Ph.D., Director of Freshman Student Transition Programs, College of Science, San Jose State University

Sharon Linville, Professor, Education, CSULA

Antoni Luque, Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Statistics, San Diego

Carole Mackie, Lecturer, English and Comparative Lit and Linguistics/Marketing Business Comm, CSUF

John Marshall Retired Lecturer, American Language Program, Fullerton

Reuben Mekenye, Associate Professor, History, CSU San Marcos

Dale Merrill, Full Professor, College of the Arts, Fullerton

Sylke Meyer, Professor, TVF, Los Angeles

Amy Moran, Lecturer, Biological Sciences, Chico

Brian Mulligan, Adjunct Faculty, Theatre Arts, Los Angeles

Jody Myers, Professor, Religious Studies Department, Jewish Studies Program, Northridge

Wendy Nomura Full Time Lecturer, Health Science, Westminster

Matias Ocana, Lecturer, Design, CSUlB

Douglas Pace, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Long Beach

Zoltan Papp, Professor, Physics and Astronomy, Long Beach

James Postma, Professor Emeritus, Chemistry, CSU Chico

Helen Quiroz, ASL Staff Interpreter, Deaf Studies, CSUN

Randy Reinholz, Professor Theatre, Television, and Film, San Diego State University

Amy Ressler, Assistant Professor of Theatre, Music and Theatre, Bakersfield

Ali Rezaei, Professor ASEC, Long Beach

Bernabe Rodriguez, Adjunct Faculty, Sociology, CSULB

Bridget Rogala, Lecture, Health Science, Long Beach

Jonathan Roth, Professor, History Department, San Jose State University

Mohsen Sahebjame, Lecturer, IS, Long Beach

Don Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, History, CSULB

Gordon Shackelford, Lecturer/Adjunct Professor, Physics, SDSU

Vahram Shemmassian, Professor, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, Northridge

Alexandra Shilling, Guest Lecturer, Dance, Long Beach

Merrilee Simon, Professor, Educational Psychology & Counseling, Northridge

Dalia Sirkin, Emeritus Professor, English and Comparative Literature, San Jose State University

Mary-Pat Stein, Professor, Biology, Northridge

Dana Sumpter, Associate Professor, College of Business, Dept of Management, Long Beach

Linda Symcox, Professor Emeritus, Educational Leadership, Long Beach

Jonathan Talberg, Professor and Director of Choral Activities, Music, Long Beach

Shira Tarrant, Professor, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, CSULB

Becky Thompson, Financial Aid Advisor, Enrollment Management, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Milton Torikachvili, Professor, Physics, San Diego

Kelsey Vidic, Costume Shop Supervisor, Dance, Los Angeles

Virginia Villegas, Nursing, Long Beach

Brenda Vogel, Professor & Chair, Criminology & Criminal Justice, Long Beach

Naomi Wagner, Adjunct Professor, Psychology, San Jose State University

Althea Waites, Lecturer/ Keyboard Faculty, Music, Long Beach

Daniel Weiss, Lecturer, Nursing, CSUSM

Barbara White, Associate Professor Emerita, Nursing, CSU Long Beach

Brian Wilson, Director of Jewish Studies, Professor of Music, Jewish Studies, Sonoma

Ruth Wilson, Music, Sonoma State University

Lora Wilson, Lecturer, Dance, Long Beach

Denise Wilson, Lecturer, PASLA

Heewon Yang, Professor, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Long Beach

Dan Zanutto, Professor Emeritus, Music, Long Beach