Allowing returning missionaries additional language credits discriminates against the native speaker


All students who learn another language outside of the classroom deserve the same credit.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young University graduates head to the Marriott Center for the 144th BYU launch on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Utah universities and colleges must stop discriminating against their diverse students in favor of Latter-day Saint students.

Recently, members of the Utah Republican State Central Committee passed a resolution saying Critical Race Theory “establishes the false premise that America has been and always will be a consistently racist nation.” What these lawmakers fail to recognize is that discrimination continues through complex religious and racial dynamics in Utah, one of the main areas of concern being the foreign language credit review policies of the ‘Utah.

Several higher education institutions across the state allow returning missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to purchase up to 16 credit hours of college credit to speak a foreign language, but prevent their various students to take the same exam to qualify. for language credit. Schools deny the privilege of purchasing language credits to students who have grown up speaking a foreign language, whether as a heritage speaker or an international student. However, these universities consider that the external knowledge of a foreign language of religious origin is of acceptable academic merit.

These institutional practices and written policies perpetuate a system of discrimination based on race and ethnicity. While this issue appears to be a statewide concern, three universities in particular have posted information about these exams online, in plain language. Other universities, I am told, follow similar practices which are not easily transparent.

The University of Utah states on its website that “international students are not eligible to purchase credits in their native language.”

Likewise, Utah Valley University Policy 522 states, “Students cannot take 1000 or 2000 level language courses in their dominant language, nor can they receive credit for those courses through procedures. test. “

Likewise, Weber State University’s procedures for foreign language credits state that “students cannot earn lower division foreign language credit for proficiency in their native language.”

Not only do these policies unfairly favor LDS students, they also exacerbate the inequalities that threaten access to scholarships and funding for minority students. Supported by up to 16 credits, many returning LDS missionaries have easy access to merit-based scholarships, while various students must attend college in their second language and must learn a third language to qualify for. the Bachelor of Arts.

Latter-day Saints learn their foreign languages ​​from experiences outside of the classroom, so why is the same prohibited for students who grow up speaking a foreign language?

As a leader in diversity and equity in higher education, President Astrid Tuminez said Utah universities need to better support Latino students. I think changing those policies at UVU and encouraging its peers across the state to reexamine their institutional practices would be a good start.

Arthur diaz, Murray, is a recent Utah Valley University graduate, the 2021 student champion of inclusion, and was recently featured by the Utah Multicultural Affairs Division as an emerging leader in Utah.


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