- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 8, 2022

Brown University has banned caste discrimination, a first for the Ivy League. Caste refers to a South Asian system of social hierarchy based on hereditary status and customary barriers.

Caste discrimination has followed South Asians, an umbrella term referring to those from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the Maldives. The system also affects people of Indian descent living outside the country.

“Many caste-oppressed people remain ‘closeted’ about their caste identity in fear of experiencing retaliation or discrimination,” students consulted on the change said in a release from Brown.



The rule change, the students noted, “legitimizes caste-oppressed experiences and provides a framework for reporting incidents.”

The addition of caste to the school’s anti-discrimination policies was made after a vote by the Corporation of Brown University, the institution’s governing body, this fall.

Caste equity advocacy group Equality Labs applauded the change.

“As a caste-oppressed person, I have witnessed caste dynamics play out on Brown’s campus in ways that are often too subtle for those unfamiliar with caste to recognize. … This is a critical first step in protecting caste-oppressed community members,” Rabia, a student at Brown, said in a release from the group.

• Brad Matthews can be reached at bmatthews@washingtontimes.com.

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