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A new global-cultures requirement that the College will implement this fall may be one step closer to including U.S. minority cultures.

About 40 students, faculty members and administrators gathered yesterday to discuss the place of United States culture in the undergraduate curriculum.

Attendees debated what themes could be part of a U.S. minority-focused requirement and how students would be required to fulfill it.

The College of Arts and Sciences is just months from unveiling its new undergraduate curriculum. Officials initially planned to add a Cross Cultural Analysis Requirement focusing only on international cultures, but also voted unanimously to further discuss the possibility of a U.S. culture requirement at a December meeting.

Yesterday's forum allowed the debate to continue.

Participants were asked to consider what forms a requirement could take if approved.

Among the ideas proposed were traditional academic courses, academically based community service courses, social events and diversity training.

Forum attendees also debated what themes should be covered by the requirement, ranging from race and ethnicity to sexual orientation and economic class.

"Diversity is more than a head count. It has to move forward into thinking how we structure our curriculum, what we read, what we study," Sociology professor Grace Kao said.

Kao is a member of the SAS Task Force on Cultural Perspectives in the United States, a committee of students and faculty intended to discuss the requirement's potential.

College Dean Dennis DeTurck said that this forum was the first of many, the results of which will be submitted to the task force for consideration.

But some administrators and students present expressed concern at the lack of attendance, considering that the College has a student body of over 6,500.

DeTurck said that he was "disappointed" in the turnout, noting that most students in attendance were already connected to curriculum development committees or other student governing bodies.

Mana Nakagawa, a College junior and chairwoman of the Asian Pacific Student Coalition, also expressed discontent with the turnout and pointed to another missing voice -- students who are opposed to a U.S. culture requirement.

Despite turnout concerns, Nakagawa was pleased that discussions about a U.S. culture requirement have started.

"Overall, it was a very strong attempt to reach out to students. I hope these conversations continue," Nakagawa said.

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