Brown University is the first Ivy League school to specifically prohibit caste discrimination throughout its campus.
The institution announced on Thursday that it has included caste in its non-discrimination policy for students, faculty and staff. The policy, which the university updated after a vote by its governing body this fall, also included other categories such as race, religion, gender and gender identity.
In a press release, Carey-Butler, Brown University’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity, said that while their previous policy already included provisions that would protect people from caste discrimination, they “thought it was important to raise that and take a stand on it.” relate caste justice.”
The caste system is a social hierarchy in ancient India that establishes the order of groups and determines a person’s occupation, diet, and even marriage choices. While South Asian countries have outlawed the caste system, members of the oppressed castes continue to experience forms of discrimination. Even in the US, where Indians are one of the largest immigrant groups, many still face insults and microaggressions.
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The publication further noted that Brown administrators worked with students to develop specific caste protections that would legitimize “caste-suppressed experiences” and provide a “framework for incident reporting.”
“Many caste-oppressed people keep their caste ‘closed’ for fear of retaliation or discrimination,” the students said. “The new language of the university’s non-discrimination policy provides an opportunity for caste-oppressed students who may be hiding their caste identities to report and address the harm they have suffered.”
Advocacy group Equality Labs commended the university for extending “caste protections to their entire campus.”
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“Since approximately 15 percent of the student population is international students, the addition of caste to antidiscrimination will protect both domestic and international students, staff and faculty from the caste discrimination that is prevalent in American higher education institutions,” the group said in the release.
South Asian students in US schools have reported that their caste identity has led to it social exclusion on campus.
Similar regulations were passed at other colleges and universities earlier this year, including the California State University system, the University of California, Davis, Colby College and Brandeis University.
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Two faculty members Lawsuit filed against the CSUand claimed the policy would only increase discrimination against the school’s Hindu and South Asian populations.
Also Harvard University Box protection introduced last year, however, only for student assistants, which is included in their contract with the Harvard Graduate Student Union.
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Featured image above University of Brown