California State University (CSU) has taken a big decision. The California State University System has added caste to its non-discrimination policy in a historic civil-rights win. This move will ensure that all the students can now access all 23 CSU campuses. It is one of the top university systems in the United States. The decision has been welcomed by various rights groups fighting against caste-based discrimination in the country.
California State University System has 23 campuses and eight off-campus centres with 4,85,550 students and 55,909 faculty and staff. It is the most extensive four-year public university system in the United States.
Reaction Of Key Stakeholders And Students
Equity Labs, a US-based South Asian organisation that works towards ending caste apartheid, gender-based violence, Islamophobia, white supremacy and religious intolerance, released a press release quoting various stakeholders and students.
"The entire California State University aspires to uphold the values of Inclusive Excellence by creating an environment where all of our talented and diverse students and employees are welcome and encouraged to succeed. I commend the incredible work and dedication of the students, employees, and other partners whose efforts ensure that our policies align with our bold aspirations", Joseph I. Castro, CSU Chancellor, had said.
Krystal Raynes, CSU Student Trustee, believes that the leadership from students and allies, especially the Dalit students and feminists of the caste protection movement, are truly incredible. She also thanked the student leaders for educating everyone in California higher education about this civil rights issue.
Prem Pariyar, Nepali Dalit Social Work Student at CSU East Bay and Lead Organiser, said, " The recognition of caste and caste-based violence in the CSU system is very personal and historic to me. The CSU East Bay Social Work department added caste as the protected category first based on my sharing of personal experiences of discrimination, and now the entire CSU system has added it. I take this step as strengthening the anti-caste movement at 23 CSU Universities and in the United States."
Caste Discrimination- A Cause Of Trouble In The US
In April 2020, over 450 Indian-Americans debated on the matter of caste at a hearing organised by the Santa Clara County Human Rights Commission in California. Due to caste discrimination issues raised at Silicon Valley technology companies, the hearing was scheduled. Earlier, the California State Student Association (CSSA) had passed a resolution to add caste as a protected category against discrimination. The students' body had directed the university board of trustees to add caste in the system's anti-discrimination policy, reported Times Of India.
Earlier, in November 2021, the University Of California, Davis had also added caste to its anti-discrimination policy after the students said about the discrimination taking place at the university based on the practice of assigning people their social status at birth, reported The Indian Express.
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