Black studies major: yea or nay?

At the Nov. 20 Oregon State Board of Higher Education meeting, faculty, professors and students will finally discover whether or not a black studies major will be offered at Portland State University.

In April, after more than 30 years of fighting to get the major instituted at the university, the Portland State curriculum committee accepted the proposal for a black studies major. The Chancellor’s office then recommended it to the Oregon Board of Higher Education for approval.

After being submitted, the proposal was open to the public for a limited amount of time for comments. Now that the process has finished, the board will decide on approval.

“Everyone involved in black studies is absolutely ecstatic about it,” said Dr. Darrel M. Millner, a driving force behind the proposal.

Until official approval, there is no set date as to when the major will be implemented. However, the Office of Academic Affairs is confident it will be instituted immediately after it gains approval.

Many upperclassmen have been taking classes toward a black studies certificate and/or minor, and if approved they could apply those credits to the new major. Millner said there could be students graduating with a major in black studies as early as winter term.

Jason Lowery, a student at PSU and a supporter of the proposal, is confident it will be accepted by the board. He said, “We didn’t really have any doubts after the approval at Portland State.”

Although the final word won’t come for another few weeks, such proposals are usually passed by the state unless they come under heavy opposition, which the black studies major has not.