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US university adds caste to its anti-discrimination policy

The College of California, Davis, has added caste to its anti-discrimination coverage after college students mentioned they’ve seen discrimination happen on the college based mostly on the observe of assigning individuals their social standing at delivery.

Underneath UC Davis’ coverage, which was amended in September, college students or workers who face discrimination or harassment for his or her perceived castes can now file complaints that might end in formal investigations, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

The Northern California college often is the first public establishment to deal with caste discrimination.

“The importance of including caste . is it ensures that the communities most impacted and most susceptible to this kind of discrimination or harassment know that the college recognises the hurt prompted,” Danesha Nichols, director of UC Davis’ Harassment & Discrimination Help and Prevention Program, instructed the newspaper.

College students began pushing for the change after receiving insulting memes of their group chats and overhearing South Asian college students ask one another what caste they belonged to earlier than selecting roommates, the newspaper reported.

The observe of classification of individuals by caste has travelled exterior of India to Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, and happens amongst Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Jains, Christians and Buddhists, mentioned Anjali Arondekar, a professor and co-director of the Heart for South Asian Research at College of California, Santa Cruz instructed the newspaper.

“Caste is de facto about labour segmentation and sustained inequality by way of the years — millenniums, actually,” she mentioned.
India’s caste system, which assigns individuals their social statuses at delivery, locations Dalits, as soon as referred to as “untouchables,” on the backside of its social hierarchy that may decide the place they dwell, what faculties they will attend, what jobs they will get and the place they marry.

Final 12 months, California regulators sued Cisco Methods, saying an engineer confronted discrimination on the firm’s Silicon Valley headquarters as a result of he’s a Dalit Indian.

The engineer labored on a group at Cisco’s San Jose headquarters with Indians who all immigrated to the US as adults, and all of whom had been of excessive caste, based on the lawsuit filed by the California Division of Honest Employment and Housing.

The “larger caste supervisors and colleagues imported the discriminatory system’s practices into their group and Cisco’s office,” the lawsuit mentioned, and that the corporate didn’t “substantiate any caste-based or associated discrimination or retaliation.”

Cisco Methods Inc., a significant provider of laptop networking gear that makes the web work, has mentioned it will defend towards the allegations within the criticism.

Caste is commonly based mostly on an individual’s final names, the village or city an individual comes from, and from their spiritual and social practices.

Prem Pariyar, a 37-year-old graduate pupil at California State College, East Bay, mentioned his household can be bodily assaulted due to their decrease caste in his dwelling nation of Nepal. He mentioned the very last thing he anticipated was to face casteism when he moved to the US in 2015.

However he confronted it when interacting with different South Asians within the Bay Space — at his restaurant job, on the college, at group occasions and at dinner events.

“Some will ask me my final identify underneath the pretense of attending to know me, however are actually looking for out about my caste. Others have served me meals in separate plates and utensils after they discover out I’m Dalit,” Pariyar mentioned.

He began organising with different CSU college students across the situation and their efforts led the Cal State Pupil Affiliation, which represents all 23 CSU campuses, to recognise caste as a protected class this 12 months. However the CSU faculty system itself has not made any modifications to its discrimination coverage. Pariyar was additionally a part of the UC Davis marketing campaign.

UC Davis’ coverage change seems like an enormous step for these attempting to get caste discrimination recognised throughout the US.

“It is a matter, it’s right here and it’s time to cope with it,” he mentioned.

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