Department holds ceremony to recognize CU’s multicultural strides over the years
CU’s Department of Ethnic Studies will be celebrating its tenth anniversary the only way it knows how, by promoting a multicultural community on campus.
The ethnic studies department has its roots in the ’60s and ’70s promoting more cultural education. However, this year the department will be able to honor its tenth year at CU with a ceremony. The ceremony at the Koenig Alumni Center Thursday at 3 p.m. will honor the strides the university has made in recognizing multicultural influences in society and will look to the future for more involvement in the community.
“The department brings to the whole academy perspectives that haven’t been represented involving multiracial inclusions,” said Ethnic Studies Chair Albert Ramirez.
Ramirez has been chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies since July 2005. He has seen how the department has changed with more student and faculty involvement. Ramirez said the department has higher faculty than other colleges, which may be because of the social consciousness of the faculty.
“The level of political awareness and the connection to social justice in issues is higher in the department,” Ramirez said. “We try to provide students with the maximum opportunity to reach their potential.”
Ethnic studies departments nationally have been criticized for having a more radical ideology than most other departments on university campuses, but many teachers feel this is because the departments provide more of a critical eye on the world of politics.
“Our classes can be seen as a dialogue to how to relate to other cultures, but we are challenging the history of our people with an ongoing conversation of cultural tensions,” said Jose Lugo, an ethnic studies adjunct.
Lugo is now in his third semester as an adjunct and knows that students come from different backgrounds and may react to political topics addressed in classes differently.
“We are putting reality in front of students’ faces,” Lugo said.
Many students, like junior Lauren Lortie, are open to a multicultural community. Lortie is a Spanish major and views ethnic studies as a way to broaden her personal perspective.
“At our age in college is when we discover who we are, and I don’t think that I would be able to fully develop without learning from ethnic studies,” Lortie said. “My advice for others interested in ethnic studies is take just a couple classes, get enlightened.”