The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

Instagram

SMU makes human rights major official

The Board of Trustees officially approved the Human Rights major Friday morning. This makes SMU the first college in the South to offer the major and the fifth in the country.

The major will go into effect in the fall of 2012. 

Dr. Rick Halperin, the director of the Embrey Human Rights Program, received an email with the news.

“This step today is a great recognition of student interest in this program. We wouldn’t have this major without the students who are interested in pursuing these courses and their passion to make the world better,” Halperin said. “So it’s really a tribute to student interest.”

Halperin started teaching human rights through the history department at SMU in the spring of 1990. The program officially began on July 1, 2006 after receiving a one million dollar donation. ​

The minor, which started in Fall 2007, gives students the opportunity to learn about all forms of human rights ranging from civil to cultural.

The major will allow students to delve deeper. ​

“We are absolutely moving in the right direction,” said Adriana Martinez, who served on SMU’s Human Rights board last year and is a student representative for the Board of Trustees this year.

Students will be able to choose between two tracks, one focusing on gender and human rights and the other on public policy and human rights.  

“It’s a really transformative event,” Halperin said. “To recognize that we have attracted and we are obviously going to continue to attract students here from all over the country who want, in some capacity to work for a better society and a better world.”

 

Martinez agrees.

“Clearly the program has a lot of student interesting,” she said, adding that the major fits into Dedman College’s strategic plan that incorporates more multidisciplinary programs that provides problem solving and multilateral skills. 

Although student and faculty supporters were the big contenders in the approval of the major, Halperin believes everyone will benefit.

​”It’s really a team triumph,” he said. “And I mean the entire SMU family.”

 

Sarah Kramer, managing editor, contributed to this report.

More to Discover