University of Pittsburgh Requires Incoming Freshmen to Take Course on Racism

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Photo of University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning
University of Pittsburgh's Cathedral of Learning

The University of Pittsburgh will now require all incoming freshmen to take a one-credit course on anti-racism.

The new course, which is titled Anti-Black Racism: History, Ideology, and Resistance, was announced last week as part of a new university-wide diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan. The course will tie the origins of anti-Black racism to African history and the history of slavery.

“The course is designed to inform us all about Black history and culture, about the multiple forms of anti-Black racism, and about how we can be anti-racist,” said Ann E. Cudd, provost and senior vice chancellor, in a university statement. “It is a deposit on our commitment to transform our institution and our society, beginning with education and focusing on our future through the special class of 2024.”

Yolanda Covington-Ward, PhD, chair of the Department of Africana Studies in the university’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, led a 12-member committee of faculty and students in developing the course.

As part of the university’s new equity action plan, a website has been launched to address internal practices and fighting racism.

“With a renewed sense of urgency, we are fighting racism at Pitt and building on a legacy of struggle by Black students, faculty and staff to create a truly diverse and inclusive University community,” the website states. “We are changing our internal practices, structures and attitudes to directly support this mission while also confronting the world beyond our campus that resists progressive and positive change. Our work will always be in progress—a struggle we must be invested in now and forever.”

Students will begin the required course this fall.