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Faculty approves black studies major

The PSU faculty senate unanimously approved the addition of a black studies major to the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at their meeting Monday.

More than 50 students were present, most wearing bright pink badges in support of the black studies major, including several student senators and ASPSU President Kristin Wallace.

The addition of a black studies major has been one of the major objectives of this last year’s ASPSU.

Wallace was excited about the approval of the new major and the completion of one of ASPSU’s goals.

She was pleased, as well, with the student support.

“It’s great to see a roomful of students,” she said.

Sen. Maude Bowman credited brothers Caine and Jason Lowery with the success of the black studies major.

Also during the meeting, the faculty senate approved various course changes and additions to various university programs, including the College of Engineering and Computer Sciences, the School of Fine and Performing Arts, and the College of Urban and Public Affairs.

The senate also heard a presentation from university Provost Mary Kay Tetreault, who addressed, among other things, the recent raise in required GPA for incoming students.

Portland State has just raised the GPA requirement from 2.5 to 3.0, following a trend set by both the University of Oregon and Oregon State University.

Several teachers expressed concern over the new GPA, mostly involving the access to higher education and the desire to maintain a diverse student body.

The senate also heard an update from the Internationalization Initiative. The committee in charge of the initiative reported that it is in the process of finding ways to continue the initiative in light of the tightened budget.

It has various goals posted on the Web at President Daniel Bernstine’s Web site,

In other business, the faculty senate was made aware of new immigration regulations that affect international students at PSU.

The information was provided by the assistant director of the Office of International Education Services (IES), Christina Luther.

Luther showed how the new regulations, effective Jan. 1 of this year, heighten the consequences for violating student status for international students.

The consequences include possible denied visas, denied academic program changes, and even deportation. The university might also face the loss of federal funding, and the campus community would sacrifice its international diversity.

The IES is also required to make various reports on all international students relating to residence status, registration status and academic standing.

This information is to be made easily accessible to government and federal agencies, including the FBI and the Homeland Security Office, over the Internet.

Luther expressed discontent with the new system, and urged other faculty members who were also displeased to contact their congressperson.