Harvard University adds caste as protected category for working students

Harvard University has added caste as a protected category for all graduate and undergraduate students.

This historic addition makes Harvard the first Ivy League school to have caste equity protection in its non-discrimination clause for unionized students. The move will impact more than 4,900 student workers at Harvard and the surrounding Harvard community, Equity Labs said in a statement.

With this addition, Harvard joins UC Davis, Colby College, Brandeis University and several other universities where students, faculty and staff face caste discrimination, Equity Labs said.

“Conducted in partnership with members of caste-oppressed communities, this victory is part of a larger national movement for caste equity that aims to protect students, workers and caste-oppressed communities across the country. country, he said.

In a statement, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, executive director of Equality Labs, said the courage of the Harvard Graduate Student Union and the inter-cast and interfaith coalition of community and students who helped make this victory possible is inspiring.

These leaders worked tirelessly to make this victory happen while supporting students facing caste discrimination, she said.

“With the incredible support of Equality Labs as well as the Harvard Anti-Caste Coalition, the Harvard Graduate Students Union became one of the first higher education unions to secure protections against caste discrimination in a convention. collective, “said Aparna Gopalan. , organizer of the Harvard Graduate Students Union.

It is also the first time that Harvard or any Ivy League institution has officially decided to include caste as a protected category, she said.

Raj Muthu, a Dalit alumnus at Harvard University, said the victory is a small but crucial step in ensuring that there is at least one remedy for students like him who have suffered discrimination on the basis of caste in the first university and that the welfare of the oppressed caste students is important.

“From derogatory comments about the intellect of oppressed caste students, to the proud narration of their anti-affirmative action activism in India before they were admitted to Harvard to a complete cultural monopoly of Southeast Asian celebrations / India, the deep sense of alienation, humiliation and exclusion that I have experienced made me constantly vigilant and worried about the consequences of being exposed as a Dalit in South Asian Harvard circles, has Muthu said.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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