The American University Experience II course will undergo significant changes this semester, including adding antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate to the curriculum. Students may delay taking the class until changes are fully implemented, according to a Jan. 17 email from President Sylvia Burwell and Acting Provost Vicky Wilkins.
The AUx2 curriculum will see changes to course content, including new discussions on “the relationships between racism, discrimination and oppression, antisemitism, anti-Muslim hate, and other forms of hate and bigotry,” according to Burwell and Wilkins. They wrote that through engaging with community members, administrators “identified areas in AUx2 that needed refinement, including how the course addresses antisemitism and some of the shortcomings in that space.”
AUx2 is the second part of AU Core’s American University Experience course sequence, which students take during their first year at the University. According to the University, AUx2 “seeks to create a space for dialogue and learning about race, social identity, and structures of power.”
The updates come after several antisemitic and anti-Muslim incidents on campus last semester. On Oct. 20, University President Sylvia Burwell notified the community of swastikas and “Nazi slogans” found on Jewish residents’ doors in Letts Hall. The following week, a Palestinian staff member found a note containing death threats in their office. On Nov. 16, the Department of Performing Arts notified students of a poster that was vandalized with “antisemitic language and symbols.”
AU Core will also partner with the School of Public Affairs’ Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab, which “will support students, faculty, and AUx2 peer facilitators to a) provide resources and training on facilitating class discussions in contentious times and b) host campus-wide student programming on antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hate-fueled violence,” according to Burwell and Wilkins.
Students taking AUx2 this semester may choose to delay taking the course or request a course substitution, with permission from their academic advisor. Students can also continue with the AUx2 courses they are currently registered for this semester as changes are implemented.
Burwell and Wilkins said that the curriculum changes came from “working on long-term strategies to ensure that our students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind necessary to be effective changemakers in a diverse, changing world.”
This article was edited by Abigail Turner and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks.