Economics/Class Relations

Cal State system adds caste to anti-discrimination policy in groundbreaking decision

Nani Sahra Walker Los Angeles

The California State University announced it has added caste as a protected category in its systemwide anti-discrimination policy, a hard-fought policy deeply meaningful to Dalit students of South Asian descent.

The Cal State policy came after years of activism from Dalit students and allies to bring an end to caste discrimination they encountered on campuses across California.

“I commend the incredible work and dedication of the students, employees and other partners whose efforts ensure that our policies align with our bold aspirations,” said Cal State Chancellor Joseph I. Castro.

Caste-oppressed people call themselves Dalit, which means “broken people.” Formerly known as untouchables, Dalits fell at the bottom of a centuries-old — and now outlawed — social hierarchy that governed the lives of over a quarter-billion people worldwide, including many in the U.S.


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