Class discussion!

A new minor has San Jose State students working for human rights in their own backyard

Orange tree orchard

As part of this spring’s capstone course, 10 seniors worked on three community projects that addressed local human rights, including criminal justice reform and food justice issues.

Human trafficking. Poverty. Prison overcrowding. Hunger. Indentured servitude. These human rights problems don’t exist only in other places around the world. It is because the Bay Area is home to these and other human rights challenges that students in San Jose State’s new human rights minor have their work cut out for them. First offered in fall 2012, the minor is the only program of its kind in the CSU and one of only a few in the state. Justice Studies Assistant Professor William Armaline, who directs the minor, says the new 15-unit program is an opportunity for all students on campus “to directly engage in solving the social problems that confront our community.”

As part of this spring’s capstone course, 10 seniors—who’ll be the first to complete the minor this May—worked on three community projects that addressed local human rights, including criminal justice reform and food justice issues. They’re “graded on what they’re producing in the world,” says Armaline. And every semester, the program will add new partnerships and projects with human rights-related organizations in the Bay Area. “We’re open to working on any human rights project or social struggle the community feels is worthwhile,” says Armaline. “We want to be part of the next generation of solutions.”

Want to partner with the program? Contact Armaline.

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